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.
In 2019, approximately 1.92 million people purchased goods and services online. There is no doubt that the number of digital buyers continues to grow throughout the 21st century. With more tools than ever before including the internet, social media, and smart devices– consumers are continuing to increasingly turn to e-commerce to make their purchases.
With that being said, we can see how augmented reality (AR) has the power to disrupt this industry. One of the biggest challenges consumers face with online shopping is the inability to touch, try on, or experience the product they are about to buy. Enter AR, where the customer can get a real glimpse of what the product will look like in their own environment. Not only is AR beneficial for consumers, but businesses who invest in AR technologies may also see a decrease in returns and dissatisfaction. Let’s explore three advantages of AR in e-commerce.
Think about a time where you found the perfect painting or furniture set online but wished you had the ability to project what it would look like in your own home. AR solves this problem. Using AR, you can position a digitally imposed version of the item in your desired location– customizing the color or design if needed. Companies such as Ikea, Wayfair, and Home Depot have already deployed augmented reality and take the lead in adoption.
For online businesses, the goal is to keep a potential customer on your website as long as possible– eventually leading to a sale. According to Medium, video enhances customer engagement and has a direct impact on purchasing behavior. However, what if photos and videos were taken up a notch– to an interactive experience? Augmented reality can do just that. With Youtube being the second largest search engine in the world, we can see the way consumers like to interact with today’s content. Implement AR, and the numbers will skyrocket. In fact, 61% of shoppers have already said they prefer to make purchases on sites that offer augmented reality technology.
AR also has big opportunities in fashion and retail as “try on” technologies have been created using AR to give customers the ultimate buying experience. Brands like Sephora and Topshop have introduced new AR features that allow customers to try on a lip shade or clothing piece virtually. The greatest part is that users can interact with the products in their own way and personalize their experience. AR takes away the limitations of not visiting a physical location by allowing customers to interact with products as they would in person.
The Time is Now
Emerging technologies like augmented reality will increase customer satisfaction and user engagement. AR is a powerful tool for merchants and those who adopt sooner than later will reap the benefits.
How do you predict AR will disrupt e-commerce?
With each new generation, comes lessons learned. Some may argue that traditional values have been replaced with freedom and acceptance of all. Of course, there are always two sides to a coin, as structure can be good. But, in the name of Technology, is this really such a bad thing? By uprooting what hasn’t worked in the past, we can make space for new and exciting opportunities.
Think about the Internet and the lessons we have learned from its growth and immense impact on our daily lives. For example, issues such as fake news, misinformation, and the jeopardization of privacy– have all been topics of discussion. Clearly, there have been challenges that came with a more connected world, and developers, providers, and users alike have a role in addressing them. We struggle with the question could we have predicted these challenges? And with more experience behind us now, we now face the question will humans be able to take course correct and take their power back as emerging technologies like Augmented reality and Artificial Intelligence make headway?
The acceleration of technological progress has been the focus of this last century. We are quite possibly at the edge of another massive change in our society. Soon enough, we will flip from the ‘digital native’ to the ‘interconnected human’. Information will be served to humans in a much different way, people will interact “online” differently and data will become ubiquitous.
We can only predict what Generation Z will do with such an immersive and configurable world. Generation Z, already projected to be the most diverse and best-educated generation yet, has the opportunity to hone their skills by taking advantage of augmented reality. They also have little to no memory of the world without smartphones, tablets, or computers. Generation Z never needed to adapt to a technology-centered society, it came naturally to them. We can argue this made them more progressive, as it gave them access to a much larger library of information than ever before. Social media and internet forums and communities now give users the opportunities to appreciate and acknowledge other’s perspectives from across the globe.
It can seem frightening and intimidating to accept a technology that immerses the physical with the virtual. With talk of a future brain/ cloud interface, which would connect brain cells to a vast cloud-computing network, how could you not be wary?
However, with the new generations who are beacons of change, there is trust that they will have more resources and experience to take the driver’s seat. AR natives should be doubtful of people who wish to use technology to control and separate us. Although, there may be fear that we will repeat history– I believe technology will work to make a better future for us all and we can count on younger generations to challenge the imperfections of governments and industry. If leveraged the appropriate way, Augmented reality could be our tool to tap into a collective consciousness and claim our power.
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.
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?
Immersive technology blurs the line between the digital and physical worlds. It allows for a user to access the complete 360-degree space around them. We are at the forefront of technology adoption at the enterprise level, with the power and utility industries beginning to see the benefits of implementation. We have explored how augmented reality will assist with safety and efficiency in the utility industry– as baby boomers retire and more training is required. However, today we will dive deeper into more use cases for immersive technology in the energy and utility sectors.
Work Order Management
Work order management, “ a set of procedures that are designed to process a work order in a timely and efficient manner”, are an integral part of a field technician’s daily routine. By merging immersive technology into the work order management system, the process can be streamlined. Immersive technologies, like Augmented Reality, can guide employees through their work orders in real-time, while they are using a tool or their attention is elsewhere. This process can guide technicians through a step-by-step checklist and even send the information out to managers.
Naveen Joshi, a columnist for Forbes, brings up inventory management as another strong use case for mixed reality in the energy sector. “AR technologies can be used to superimpose digital information on the real world through a smartphone or a tablet. This information is beneficial in situations such as power outages or damage to equipment. The technicians can capture images of damaged equipment using augmented reality.” AR can help the technician figure out what parts need to be repaired and request the right personnel for the issue. Therefore, increasing operational efficiency and improving the overall maintenance process.
Engineers can see digital overlay above their assets that is followed with instructions and a mapping of asset functionality. Joshi puts it into perspective, “Augmented reality technology can be used to generate 3D models using 2D diagrams of components. 3D models help technicians get a better understanding of the equipment than 2D drawings. The 3D models can also be used to view the internal components of a piece of equipment and explore its inner workings.” Emerging technology, like wayfinding and GIS, can combine with AR and VR to locate and maintain assets. With this simplified and user-friendly approach, crew members can use their time more wisely at work while maintaining success.
Immersive technologies have the ability to be a growth driver in the digital transformation journey for the energy and utilities sector. Workflows will be converted from manual processes to automated and interactive. We will see how it will be beneficial in a variety of ways and help companies run more effectively. What are your predictions?