AR In Our Daily Lives: Smart Cities

AR In Our Daily Lives: Smart Cities

Think about all the things you do in a day. Maybe it’s work, grocery shopping, or school. At some point in the week, you have to stop for gas and maybe socialize with friends. Everyone’s routine is different, yet many of the same things need to be accomplished. Now, imagine a city where everything is faster and smarter. With augmented reality and artificial intelligence, you could get your errands done at three times the speed you had before.

If we think back to just a decade ago, we would remember how much planning it took to ensure we didn’t miss the bus or called a cab for the airport. Come apps like Uber and Lyft, with rides available right around the corner, the process is much faster. With technology, we have answers at our fingertips that changed our routines for the better. 

For quite some time, there has been interest in smart cities. The aim is to provide improved citizen services and connectedness. Thanks to the recent deployment of 5G networks, this isn’t far from our reach. With immersive technology like AR, navigation around a city could be much easier. Rather than having to pull out our phones, open a navigation app, and arrive at a dead-end–AR would allow us the chance to find our destination with ease. As we think about all the necessities that come with maintaining a city, we can also imagine how augmented reality can help. Some of the most important aspects for a well-functioning city include: maintenance, public safety, public health, transportation, and tourism.

Augmented reality could allow municipal workforces to accurately maintain city assets. Whether that’s streetlights, cell towers, or roads. With an AR device, maintenance workers can visualize information hands-free and in real-time. If needed, guidance from experts in another location would be easily accessible.

As far as transportation goes, imagine AR technology on your windshield or car where you would be alerted of a traffic accident or vehicle health. Physical transit system maps would be augmented so that users could access portions of the network they actually need. Tourists would benefit from this feature as well, as it can be confusing and frustrating trying to find your way in a new city. In fact, AR would improve tourism. Culturally significant buildings and museums would become much more educational and interactive if immersive technology is established. AR creates interesting connected experiences for tourists and citizens alike. In combination with artificial intelligence, our cities will be a center of wonder and convenience. 

The greatest news is, smart cities and AR are within reach. Startups and big tech are capitalizing on the vast opportunities present with AR. Many sectors like the power and utility industries are also investing in immersive technology to make work processes more efficient. The examples above are just a few real-use cases of AR in the public sector. Augmented reality will continue to create a fascinating world where we blur the lines between the physical and digital worlds.

10 things that are happening in AR that really matter

10 things that are happening in AR that really matter

With support from big names like Google, Apple, and Facebook– 2020 is just beginning to showcase the power of Augmented Reality (AR) in our future. In fact, Statista predicts that in 2023, 35 billion dollars will be spent on these technologies by the manufacturing and construction industry alone. 


Therefore, we felt inspired to gather 10 meaningful updates in AR– which may ignite your own innovations.

1. Investments pour into the AR space

According to recent statistics from Techjury, the AR market value rose from 1.8 billion in 2018 to 3.5 billion in 2019. After Apple released ARkit, ARkit only apps had 13 million downloads. Additionally, over 50,000 units of the HoloLens have been sold. Clearly, AR is projected to surpass VR revenues and companies are beginning to understand the significance of AR. 

2. AR for navigation solutions 

The GPS system is heavily relied upon to navigate the outdoors, but AR will be the solution to indoor navigation. Airports around the world are beginning to deploy AR solutions for passengers to find their way around. Gatwick airport, London’s second busiest airport, has created an augmented reality wayfinding app. They have installed 2000 wayfinding beacons to enable augmented reality wayfinding and routes to terminals and gates. Per VR focus, the app won the Mobile Innovation of the Year award at the National Technology Awards. Other industries including retail, travel, and real estate will follow in their footsteps– as AR-powered navigation is expected to move into new territory. 

3.AR and AI will combine to create immersive 3D experiences

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are booming sectors in technology. In the spatial computing world, voice and immersive media can work together to personalize experiences. MobDev points out, “35% of sales on Amazon are derived from its recommendation engine, which leans heavily on data science and machine learning to deliver search results and match advertisers with customers. Combining AR and AI will be extremely useful as a marketing tool that can help companies learn about shopping preferences. 

4. Home improvement and Furniture stores adopt AR applications

Ikea was one of the first to establish an Augmented reality app that helps you digitally position your furniture in your house to identify if it’s the right fit– without ever having to visit the store. Wayfair and Lowes also created similar apps using AR technology. It is clear that furniture retailers can easily take advantage of AR to improve customer satisfaction. 

5. AR begins to disrupt healthcare

There are some educational applications for Augmented Reality in healthcare– like training medical staff or new students. Additionally, Augmented Reality can help medical staff with tasks that require precision. Technologies like AccuVein are being created to assist medical professionals with patient care. AccuVein uses projection-based AR to cast a virtual real-time image of underlying vasculature on the surface of one’s skin.

6. AR is shifting to Industrial Use

Immersive technology can be leveraged for the manufacturing industry– increasing safety and efficiency. According to Forbes, “The 2020 XR Industry Insight report collated by VR Intelligence states that 65% of the AR companies surveyed said they are working on industrial applications, while just 37% working on consumer products and software.”

7. 5G will power emerging Technologies

The higher throughput of 5G will support AR and VR content that’s streamed from the cloud. 5G was introduced in early 2019 and with its extremely high speeds, it helps solve the high bandwidth demands of AR.

8. Automotive 

People have been dreaming of self-driving cars for centuries– and here they (almost) are.  The automotive industry is now investing millions of dollars into AI and AR-powered systems to recreate the driving experience. Panasonic recently revealed an AR demo car that can project large images in distances up to 10m. The car augments images on the driver’s windshield so they can continue to maintain focus on the road. 

9. Coronavirus accelerates the use of AR and AI to maintain social distancing

Unfortunately, the pandemic was unpredictable, but we saw a huge spike in workplace technologies like zoom. As weeks turn into months, companies must adapt to continue to promote collaboration and training. Cities such as Seattle and Boston have already piloted using different forms of AR/ VR to help city planners, elected officials, and citizens better participate in city planning.

10. AR for fun!

From museums to video games – AR has vast potential to add some excitement and spark to average experiences. For example, Google Lens recently introduced new features to make at-home learning more fun for families. For children who are looking to learn and tap into their imagination– AR creates a new world of possibilities.


What do you think are things happening in the AR that are making a difference in the update and use of the technology?

The Digital Native– A Series

The Digital Native– a term first coined by Mark Prensky in 2001– to describe the generation of people who have grown up in the digital age. Well, me being a 22-year-old college graduate, I fit into this description perfectly. I decided to do a short series where I am going to explore the monumental rise of technology from my perspective– and other “digital natives” who I work alongside with. 

Yes, it’s true, I don’t quite remember a time without computers. However, I remember the hassle of dial-up internet and extremely slow speeds. My parent’s home office computer was the size of a dinosaur– I may be exaggerating a bit– but you get the point. Using the internet was not even worth it at times. As 6th grade came around, I was uber jealous of my friends who were allowed a cell phone– with the most basic calling and texting functionalities. I, on the other hand, still had to call my friend’s home phones and politely go through the parent who picked up on the other side. 

Then came the rise of Apple. I distinctly recall being able to switch from my hand-held CD player to an iPod shuffle, and I was ecstatic. The idea of having my music all in one place was amazing. One of my top requests on my birthday that year was an iTunes gift card. As each song costs $1.29, I was very wise about my selections. In 2009, Apple released the newest version of the iPod Nano, with the biggest screen yet. Obviously, this was the start of Apple’s big takeoff. Eventually, I got hold of the iPod touch and a phone of my own. I shared my phone plan with the rest of my family, so I had a limited number of texts I could send before we were charged extra. My iPod touch made it easier for me to text my friends on wifi– with no extra charge, I felt like I had the world at my fingertips. 

It is fascinating to look back at my childhood and grasp the way technology changed so quickly. Many people may look back and wish they had invested in Apple or any of the other “Tech Giants” at the time of their rise. Needless to say, it seems like we are at another turning point for breakthrough technologies. Ten years ago, if you would have mentioned artificial intelligence to anyone in the room, they would have thought you were referencing a sci-fi movie. However, today, Alexa has already proven the power of artificial intelligence. Mixed realities– such as AR and VR– are likely to be just as significant as the rise of computers.

As businesses, colleges, and healthcare systems all begin to embrace immersive technology, my life and future career has the potential to look much different than generations before me. It is both daunting and exciting. Yet–as a digital native– it can’t be too anomalous, can it? 

AR in the Utility Industry

AR in the Utility Industry

  The utility industry faces future workforce problems, as baby boomers retire. In addition to this, safety and efficiency are on-going issues. We have seen the rise of Augmented Reality (AR), which allows for the real-world environment to be painted over with digital enhancements. Other variants of this such as mixed reality, artificial intelligence, and assisted reality are set to take off in a big way. However, how do emerging technologies tie into the energy and utility sector? 

According to an article by GloblaData Energy, “AR may benefit investor-owned, municipal and cooperative utilities in improving business processes, speed power restoration and help address the challenge of an aging, retiring utility workforce facilitating the preservation of institutional knowledge.” 

As mentioned with aging workers retiring, the energy sector will need to train and hire thousands of new employees. This poses a challenge because novice employees may not be familiar or experienced enough to work with dangerous equipment or circumstances. AR has the ability to allow new trainees to interact with 3D models of equipment and gain a better understanding of how they function. Thus, enabling more “in-depth training and faster information retention.”

AR can also be developed to fit in with existing data in the field. For example, the article reveals systems being designed that “combine GIS technology with AR to display infrastructure such as pipes, lines, cables and other assets in-field and in real-time.” 

It is clear that AR allows for greater visualization of underground assets and equipment. Not only that, but according to GlobalData Energy,  accidents may be reduced by AR- wearables or devices that “enable a subject matter expert to advise a field technician on what steps to take.” By implementing such technology, safety can be kept at the forefront. 

As the saying goes, “knowledge is power”—AR can expedite years of knowledge by experts in the industry to increase overall efficiency and productivity. The power that emerging technologies are set to have on the utility segment cannot be overlooked. 

We would love to hear from you on how you think AR will impact the energy sector! 


Will COVID-19 Accelerate the use of AR?

Will COVID-19 Accelerate the use of AR?

The COVID-19 outbreak challenges businesses across the world and forces them to realize the importance of information technologies. With restrictions, such as social distancing, inability to travel, and disrupted supply chains, companies must adapt. Per a survey done by Grid Raster, 56% of businesses have implemented some form of AR/VR technologies, and another 35% are considering doing so. With COVID-19 accelerating the adoption of other online services, such as zoom, enterprise AR is the obvious next step.

As mentioned in a recent article from the AREA, “Augmented Reality can help mitigate the business impact while supporting business continuity through the pandemic.”

For the utility industry, social distancing can be especially difficult. Frontline workers may not be able to go on-site and maintain issues. This is where technologies such as AR-enhanced remote assistance come into play.

According to Sarah Reynolds, “AR-enhanced remote assistance enables product experts to connect with on-site employees and even end customers to offer them contextualized information and expert guidance, helping them resolve these issues quickly and ultimately reduce downtime. AR-enabled remote assistance marries the physical and the digital worlds – allowing experts and front-line workers to digitally annotate the physical world around them to improve the clarity, precision, and accuracy of their communication and collaboration.”

Similarly, AR can provide assistance to healthcare workers who need medical training or help with equipment changeover. AR-enhanced methods reduce human error –  and streamline the otherwise complicated learning process.

As pointed out by the AREA, AR supports remote collaboration. “AR enables users who are physically separated to be able to “inhabit” a shared virtual space, distributed by the AR application.”  Although organizations are utilizing video conferencing software, AR is the missing puzzle piece. With many people working from home, one crucial element is missing: collaboration. It is difficult to share information and communicate without face-to-face interaction. By taking advantage of AR, businesses can expand and thrive in the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the future to come.


How do you think COVID-19 will shift the use of digital technologies? Will Augmented Reality fill in the missing pieces for enterprise and e-commerce companies? Leave your thoughts below!



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