September 8, 2017
Virtual reality and augmented reality have been in vogue for the last couple of years. Their acceptance from consumers has been phenomenal. VR headsets like Oculus Rift, Vive, and PlayStation VR, and AR headsets like Google Glass, Sony SmartEyeglass, and Microsoft HoloLens have been received well by consumers. During the last year, the VR & AR industry has attracted over USD 2 billion in investment, which is a phenomenon in itself.
The technology of VR & AR was out of reach for many consumers, however, over the last few years the it has been more affordable and accessible for end-consumers. Interestingly, most of the attention that AR & VR are getting is not due to their ease in accessibility, but in what they are delivering. Given the millennial generation, the ensuing stages of AR & VR should deliver compelling content to have greater adoption.
When Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company’s 10-year plan, he said that AR & VR are central to his vision for the future of the internet. Some cynics thought that Mark just signed the death warrant of the smartphone. Well, another 10 years later, we might witness the duel between the AR & VR and the smartphone, but for now we are more interested in trying to understand how quickly this technology will be adopted by enterprises.
Many analysts forecast that enterprises will dominate the AR & VR market, and the adoption of the technology will be less than five years. Here are the use cases of Virtual reality and augmented reality that we are currently witnessing:
1. Connected remote workers: Effective collaboration has seen colossal benefits when facilitated by hands-free communication channels. This allows for experts and seniors/superiors to monitor other workers without having to be present in the same location. This feature comes in handy for medical first responders, engineers on an oil-rig, and linesmen on power-poles.
This feature comes in handy for medical first responders, engineers on an oil-rig, and linesmen on power-poles.
2. Logistics and warehousing: Logistics take up much of an organizations’ resources. Therefore, if there is a chance to improve efficiency in logistics and warehousing, it would be fruitful for enterprises. Smart glasses have helped DHL improve their warehouse operation efficiency by guiding workers to take shorter efficient routes.
3. Simplifying complex tasks: AR can be used to overlay instructions. The technology has helped Boeing reduce wing manufacturing error rates for its aircrafts by over 80%.
4. Data visualization: Data can be analyzed in real time with the help of AR technology. This allows for multiple individuals to coordinate and plan effectively. Other visualizations can also be projected onto the surfaces to enhance understanding.
5. Learn with AR: The technology can be used to train students, help them understand concepts better, and explain complex concepts like the solar system, milky way, etc. Students, usually children and teens, understand concepts better when visually explained. Not just students, individuals training in multifaceted industries can use AR to grasp workings of an equipment easily.Not just students, individuals training in multifaceted industries can use AR to grasp workings of an equipment easily.
The interesting aspect of augmented reality is the release of ARKit by Apple in its latest operating system. Although the kit is compatible for iOS devices such as iPhone and iPad, it is expected to take the developer world by storm. This could be an added advantage for enterprises to use AR in general. Here are the best demos of Apple’s ARKit.
1. Try before you buy: Most product companies are using VR technology to promote their products. For example, Lowe’s, a home improvement and appliance retail chain, is using VR technology to design kitchens and bathrooms.
Customers can use the technology to view the designs and suggest changes. These are done much before any appliances leave the store, which saves resources for the enterprise and enriches customer experience.
2. Tourism: Gone are the days of watching a YouTube video to know more about a place. These days, VR technology is replacing conventional videos to attract visitors. Places like Antarctica see the most number of VR visits due to it freezing weather and barren ice-lands.
Popular tourist places like the Eiffel Tower and Leaning Tower of Pisa also have their own VR experience. Not just visual stimulus, VR provides auditory stimulus as well such as sea winds and ocean breezes with chocking calls from seagulls. The hospitality industry uses VR technology to provide virtual visits to their villas and rooms.
3. Education: As mentioned earlier, AR aids in educating individuals, VR technology can be used to link various learning simulations. VR can help in training individuals who take up complex jobs like firefighting, working on oil rigs, etc.
VR has helped many doctors understand intricate details of the human body, which proves that healthcare is another industry that is prime for VR penetration.
4. Embellishment to Existing Sales Strategies: VR can be used to improve and enrich customer experience. The technology can be used by dealers to showcase models without the need to having the entire line-up to be physically present.
Older and future models can be showcased as well. These “showrooms” can be setup in practically anywhere – malls, boutiques, etc., there is no space constraint regarding VR.