Augmented Reality in Businesses: What Will the Future Look Like?
In 2016, the Japanese anime franchise Pokemon released a revolutionary smartphone game. The free app, known as Pokemon Go, uses the Global Positioning System(GPS) on mobile devices to challenge users (as the franchise’s slogan says) to "catch 'em all," or collect as many of the game's virtual creatures as possible.
The game went viral, capturing the attention of both young and old video game fans alike. In fact, the game popularized location-based and augmented reality (AR) technology, promoting physical activity and helping local businesses grow due to increased foot traffic.
In May 2018, the game had received over 800 million downloads worldwide, and it has 147 million monthly active users as of May 2018. As of September 2018, the game has grossed $2.01 billion worldwide.
What is AR?
According to Merriam-Webster, augmented reality is “an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device (such as a smartphone camera).” Unlike virtual reality that creates a fully virtual environment around a user, AR makes use of the existing real-world surroundings and integrates virtual components into this environment. This makes it more interactive and real.
Another great thing about AR is that you only need your smartphone to enjoy it – you won’t need bulky and expensive VR headsets. This means, that AR has greater chances to become more widespread. That’s why many startups are using augmented reality in their businesses, like Zukaz, a platform for consumers to “hunt” real cash vouchers, which can be redeemed at selected stores or businesses.
Bringing People and Businesses Together
AR bridges the gap and creates opportunities for businesses to reach their target audience in real-time. This means customers can experience your products or services as they are meant to be. In the retail sector, savvy brands are using AR as a powerful form of marketing to connect with their consumers meaningfully and creatively. This new form of marketing is not only effective but it is also budget-friendly as compared to traditional forms of marketing.
Build Trust and Confidence
When selling high-end products like luxury goods or furniture, AR offers businesses the opportunity to demonstrate the value of their products to customers who might be hesitant. Immersive technology allows potential customers to visualize and experience the product for themselves before buying it. IKEA recently released their AR application that allows you to do just that. It can even scale the furniture and change colors, so you can choose that perfect couch for your living room.
Training and educating your employees using AR can be a highly immersive and interactive method of learning. Trainees can run through AR scenarios as many times as they want to thoroughly understand a concept or a procedure. Furthermore, using AR for training creates an interactive and immersive experience across multiple senses, which can help the trainees perceive things better and learn faster. By using multi-layered graphics, even the most complex processes and methods can be simplified for the trainees. AR can easily increase the depth of the training programs, thereby helping businesses impart wide knowledge among their employees within a short time.
Company managers that don’t have AR as part of their business strategy may regret as there are endless possibilities in this new technology. AR will enter almost every sphere of our life beginning with social media and ending with e-commerce.
(With inputs by Ian Yun)