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AR & VR in the workplace – Part 1: Augmented Reality

With the age of technology dawning on us, sciences such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality could potentially become massive tools for our businesses and in the workplace. They are often mentioned in the same breath, but both share some significant similarities, as well as have their differences.

But first, what exactly is Augmented Reality and what does it do for us?

AR, which stands for Augmented Reality, inserts visual objects and information and projects them into the real world, augmenting your experience and vision of it via a headset. This is done as discreetly as possible, to keep the experience as close to one in the real world as possible. In contrast to the VR experience, AR almost by definition requires you to be able to move around freely in the real world. Microsoft’s HoloLens does this best, as it is designed to be a self-contained, battery-powered “mixed reality” platform as well as the DAQRI Smart Helmet, which is more field-worker focused. On the more mobile side, Google Glasses – which has been discontinued since – inspired many “smart glasses”-style AR headsets, such as the Meta 1. The most advanced mobile AR device has been said to be the ORA-X, as it combines “smart headphones” with a display component.

The use of virtual reality has been mostly centred around gaming up to this point, but professional applications are popping up for both VR and AR headsets alike. Some of these professions include architecture, education, exploration, logistics, transportation, retailing, manufacturing, product design, healthcare and the military. Businesses are now able to virtually change the ways in which people experience purchasing, building, buying and selling virtual items before doing it in real life, by integrating VR and AR technologies into their businesses.

Augmented reality is slightly different to virtual reality, but in many ways, it is the same too. Unlike VR, it does not create a new environment of its own but adds visuals and images on top of the real world vision that you can get through the headset. In essence, it is adding several graphical enhancements to the real world environment. AR also has several potentials in the business workplace, let’s look at a few ways in which they are applicable.

Interactive training sessions for all

Being able to train new employees at your business or firm will help you wonders. It can be done in a separate room, without risk of injury, and can be broadcasted to a large audience. This platform has been proven to be far more effective than your typical class room lectures or environments or by giving out basic learning instructions. It helps them prepare for what they will be doing in the real world, and help give them valuable life experience is going out into the field of work.

AR can provide businesses with high ROI (return on investment)

The ability for consumers being able to view products and interact with them in a 3-dimensional model, via a VR/AR headset, has proven to be an extremely healthy and consistent return on investment for the company using it (ROI). Certain types of AR headsets and software have some form of analytics backend, which conveys usage information back to the company. These statistics will provide businesses with where, when and how often people are using their AR devices, which is beneficial for marketing and selling methods research. Augmented reality can produce hanced and rich, personal experiences to all potential customers. The entire purchasing process becomes very satisfying from the customer’s point of view, which is what increasing the ROI changes from the point of view of the business.

AR can bring materials to life, making them interactive

Augmented reality can be used by real estate agents to bring their flat, print materials, such as their building sketches, designs, plans and photographs to life by creating 3D models or visuals of them. This is a massive step forward in not just this particular industry, but most companies which suffer from geographical boundaries. These things happening in front of a regular customer will be sure to impress them and can happen right in front of them. For example, a real estate executive can pull up a three-dimensional model of a property/house that is fully interactive. the 3D model that is generated through augmented reality is one which resembles a hologram. But it also supports extra features such as being able to modify things virtually, such as trying out new furniture, changing paint colours etc.

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