A surge in enterprise Augmented Reality - from training, field operations to in-store experiences and beyond

Enterprises will embrace intelligent interfaces where the value lies in natural and human-like interactions. AR/VR is poised to improve productivity, reduce costs, increase sales, and have a significant impact on ROI.

Moving beyond the keyboard and mouse

With the advancement in technology, human-machine interaction has gone beyond traditional keyboard and mouse to intelligent interfaces such as touch screens, voice commands and more.

A voice user interface (VUI) designed to support interaction through spoken human natural language processing (NLP), create more satisfying interactions that are natural and human-like. Moreover, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) systems, with the ability to interpret human gestures, head movements, and gazes can respond to nonverbal user commands.

Based on the rising trends, enterprises will embrace intelligent interfaces where the value lies in natural and human-like interactions. While sales of headsets and other AR, VR devices may have stagnated, all the predictions coming in from analyst and industry titans indicates that the future of AR and VR are both looking great.

AR dominant technology than VR

A recent survey conducted by Digi-Capital revealed substantial enthusiasm gap between AR and VR, with mobile AR being important to 76 percent of those surveyed, while VR garnered just 65 percent of interest. The bulky VR headsets and cost of equipment has been an impediment to consumer adoption.

With strong support from both iOS’s ARkit and Android’s ARCore, the smartphone-based AR has suddenly become a new digital trend in enterprise space. AR technology is making it easier for enterprises to find ROI in building interactive experiences that blend physical, virtual and “sensor-integrated” realms.

Where do enterprises find value?

AR will affect companies in every industry and a wide range of businesses are finding applications for AR, aiding productivity, collaboration and user satisfaction in areas that you might not expect. They are piloting one or two use cases internally within their operations or service functions to prove value before expanding AR initiatives.

AR in training and development

AR is becoming increasingly popular in training and development to make the learning experience more innovative and enjoyable. It is cost-efficient and faster when it comes to sharing the domain knowledge with a distributed workforce.

At Agriculture Company AGCO - one of the largest manufacturers, the employees use AR as part of their initial training to get step-by-step instructions. Due to the massive size of its equipment, AGCO’s training practices had a lot of limitations in the past. With AR based training, it allowed AGCO to avoid purchasing expensive equipment for training.

Field operations

Manufacturing, automotive and utilities companies are exploring how to take advantage of AR technology to improve field operations.

Boeing has used AR technology to provide technicians with instructions for airplane wiring schematics in their field of view, allowing them to be hands-free. This reduces wiring production time by 25%, increases productivity by 40%, and eliminates error rates.

Unilever is a consumer goods manufacturing and distribution company with worldwide operations. Their average downtime is costly and continued to increase across twenty different service areas due to the retirement of ageing workforce. The AR-based solution helped inexperienced workers to access remote experts using on-demand visual communication and seek their views in resolving field issues. Unilever was able to demonstrate significant improvement with a 50% reduction in downtime.

Immersive In-Store experiences

AR has the potential to enhance the user experience by combining retailers' offers and personalization enabling customers to visualize products differently. One such example is “Magic Mirror”- virtual fitting rooms that show consumers how they would look wearing an outfit, without having to actually try the garment on. By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in AR online and in-store, according to Gartner, Inc.

L'Oréal has come up with world's first makeup kit powered by AR technology. The kit uses Facebooks camera products and lets you try different products before you purchase them.

Sales and Marketing

Enterprises are already leveraging AR to deliver digital product experiences to their customers. Sales team no longer need to project PPTs on the screens, instead of through AR experience, they can connect users to the products or services they buy in a real, visual way.

What’s next

From sales, marketing to ongoing service support, AR/VR is poised to improve productivity, reduce costs, increase sales, and have a significant impact on ROI.

Although the consumer side of AR is huge, for the near term, the significant uptake of AR will occur inside enterprises. All in all, it is evident that mobile AR, from smartphone to tablets, will continue to take hold among enterprises to solve age-old problems in a way that could never been solved before.


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