Spotlight: Augmented Reality

You are in an electronic showroom because it is time to buy a 50-60? TV for your wall. The showroom manager is all over you trying to convince which model will look best at your wall. And (s)he hasn?t seen your wall/ room. So, this is all imaginary visualization. Now change it to Augmented Reality visual. Before you decide, you can see how different TVs will look in the room; and will you have to move some furniture around. The story goes back to basics; the family fighting over what will look nice.

Augmented Reality (AR) is not Virtual Reality; it does not need special equipment. Just search for it on iStore or Android Play. Do be warned that the high-quality stuff costs money; the free ones give you a taste and some fun.

NOW, take this an office scenario. How many times have we wasted monies because we could not foresee. Augmented Reality may be the answer to see in future; not like Aladdin, but at least what it will look like in a WHAT-IF scenario building. The scenarios will no longer be personal guesswork; they will be seeing them. And the way AR science is going, even smell/ taste the possibilities

Noe the flip side; to quote MIT Sloan Management Review, ?T.S. Eliot wrote that ?humankind cannot bear very much reality.? Will it be any easier to bear with extended reality, with its high risks and potential rewards?? And therein lies the rub. Will Augmented Reality, as separated from Virtual Reality, be a boon or a loss?.

Will we be smarter in using AR than we were in using atomic energy. AR lets us see multiple What-Ifs and then take a call on the best way forward. It can help us in remote surgery, logistics planning, consumer experience, IT maintenance, and much more. The possibilities are limitless; we can do millions of scenarios building to see the physical impact of possible pathways.

There are already very smart applications being used by marketing: be it virtual nail polish to fragrance selection to maintenance estimation. Gartner reports that ?Where once augmented reality was a marketer?s party trick, something to catch the attention of browsers and buyers, it?s fast becoming a real e-commerce tool. Similarly, where once Pinterest was a vision board, it?s now transforming into a digital mall, thanks in part to augmented reality. While retailers like Wayfair, IKEA, and Warby Parker rolled out 3D augmented reality versions of their products years ago, Pinterest?s movement into the technique is still notable, as it marks what could be a new era of shopping for several brands, all at once.?

At the end of the day, AR is about experience prediction. And that is leading the science into personal items like fashion and cosmetics, and into children. That is where AR is heading. It is also heading into core industrial applications, especially repair and maintenance. And it is ALSO exploding into other experiential areas like tourism. AR is turning into the most extreme form of ?try before you buy?, and mainly for personal/ experiential purchases. It will, therefore, soon gain great momentum in sectors like retail and financial services.

And this is where IT Departments must step up. AR is unlimited in its possibilities. Just as we say that today every company is a technology company, AR is what every company will use. It is already reaching the masses with Apps available on mobile devices; rudimentary as they are, they work. And the day is not far when ANY customer (B2B or B2C) will walk in and see how the product service will look/ feel/ smell. On the spot. Corporate IT should be one step ahead of that.

This author had once written that Future will always be in the future. AR might be changing that, even if only for short term future. And for both consumerism and industrial work. It will also change how corporate meetings are conducted and IT makes its plans.

It is a slow and steady revolution in the making. It is up to us to join it or not.

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