What is AR and what kind of businesses can benefit from it?

By
Igor Piatnytskyi
and
on
November 18, 2019
.
Reading Time:
5
minutes
Our team at Nullgravity has implemented the AR technology in the e-commerce application for Leroy Merlin. Here is our vision on how companies and businesses can and should benefit from AR.

Who can make money on Augmented Reality technologies?
Augmented reality is a technology that allows to combine real-life exact objects with virtual ones by using up-to-date gadgets. Augmented reality had come to spotlight after the great success of Pokemon Go. But the scope of AR-technology is not limited to games and entertainment. Our team at Nullgravity has implemented the AR technology in the e-commerce application for Leroy Merlin. Here is our vision on how companies and businesses can and should benefit from AR.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the most promising technologies at the moment. The Internet shows you quite a lot of predictions about AR and its business prospects – experts suggest using Augmented Reality almost in every industry.
The problem is that lots of those forecasts are either inaccurate, or are calculated for a very distant future. At this stage implementing AR for numerous companies may become as “technology for the sake of technology”, and will not bring any benefits.

Augmented reality is a technology that uses certain gadgets (smartphones, helmets, glasses etc.) to insert a virtual 3D image into a real picture of life, while the line between the real and virtual world can be undistinguished or even faded.

When customers request AR development or other technological solutions for business, in Nullgravity we, first of all, find out tasks that the company is trying to solve, and in compliance to them we offer specific technologies. It’s not always that the latest trend becomes the best solution for a particular business.
Let’s find out the fields where Augmented Reality is actually able to solve business problems and increase the company’s incomes, while who should wait to implement AR.

The Inc publisher reports that in 2017 the world market of AR-advertising should increase up to $12.8 billion and will continue to rise in the future, so this sphere can be considered as extremely promising.

One of the most promising areas for using AR is Retail and E-commerce. Augmented Reality is especially relevant when a client does not have an opportunity to “try” the goods for real. CIO calls it “try before you buy”.
For example, in the iOS app of the retail giant Leroy Merlin, which was developed by the Nullgravity team, the use of AR has made it possible to “try on” the chosen piece of furniture or decor for a real interior. In the same way it is possible to create an application that, for instance, will help to fit on clothes on a potential buyer’s body.
But replacing a consultant in a real store by AR-application is a very time-consuming decision. This kind of a virtual consultant should be based on Artificial Intelligence, and so far this technology is relatively expensive, which means that it won’t be possible to cut down expenses. An application can be used as the unique marketing approach, but you should keep in mind whether this will be cost-effective.

Electronics, Engineering, Robotics

Another industry where Augmented Reality can be applied is Electronics and Complex equipment production, as well as maintenance of such devices.
“AR in this case is helpful because TOP experts can give advice to less qualified colleagues remotely,” The Next Web noted. An ordinary technician will be able to get instructions through augmented reality from an engineer to make or repair complicated equipment.
An example is the AR-Mentor made by SRI International.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzlZcdYmdvk

At the same time, the company Re’Flekt offers to use AR for communication with a remote consultant that will help an ordinary user in repairing a coffee machine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixacsbRoMwY 

Use of Augmented Reality is also possible in robotics, but there are special features. So, AR can be useful in plotting a course for robots. Working with augmented reality allows engineers to prepare itinerary that will efficiently help to explore those surfaces that are inaccessible to humans with the help of robots. These may be the surfaces of other planets, caves, ocean floor and other locations where humans are difficult or, even, dangerous to stand.

To understand just about how it works, you can watch video of IEEE Spectrum, the official journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/video/robotics/robotics-software/controlling-robot-swarms-with-augmented-reality

By the way, it is not worth to use AR in other areas for logistics yet (but that’s for now). Taking into account the cost for development, it is now more profitable for businesses to hire operators, rather than create new, specific complicated equipment with AR-functions. But Harvard Business Review predicts a promising future to AR-technologies in logistics, considering approach and case study of DHL.

Medicine and Biology

Augmented reality can be used in medicine and biology on the same basis as in electronics and engineering. The first and the main purpose is a remote work of top-level experts. For instance, an inexperienced surgeon can become “hands and eyes” for more experienced doctor who is being far from the patient in the important moment.

The second way to use AR in these areas is education and training. Students and young researchers will have the opportunity to simulate real-life and carry out the necessary manipulations in Augmented Reality. Thus, according to Fortune, the Cleveland Clinic is already using Augmented Reality to train future doctors. While in Brazil, AR already assists surgeons during operations on a spinal cord. See the video on Vocativ channel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxm_Ka0j99M

Gaming and Entertainment Industries

And probably the most famous fields of application for AR are the Game and Entertainment industries. Here Augmented Reality allows to create a brand new experience for users.

By the way, “entertainment” doesn’t necessarily mean leisure because Augmented Reality can be applied in, for example, development of training apps – i.e. you will get a mix of education and game elements.

In this way, Harvard Business Review and PTC have developed an application for the joint project that shows a user what augmented reality is and how it works.

P.S.

Considering all these areas one by one, it is possible to see certain common features. So, Augmented Reality looks promising in two cases. The first is when business tries to replace or decrease the burden of highly qualified specialists by using Augmented Reality. The second is when a company creates a new client experience that would be unavailable without AR.

If none of these conditions are taken into account, expenses for AR-functionality will be unreasonably high and investments will not be cost effective, probably. But if you see specific benefits this innovation will bring to users or how it helps a business – welcome to the world of Augmented Reality.



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