April 12, 2019

5 Ways Augmented Reality Will Change the Workplace

Augmented reality is here and it is going to change workplaces as we know them, dramatically. Don’t panic, you have not been transported to the year 2050 or some far off futuristic existence. Just like AI, augmented reality tends to be one of those things people assume is only in science fiction movies and not something that they will be interacting with for a very long time. The reality (pun intended) is that AR is already here and is going to be something that will transform workplaces and also create new jobs.

The Difference Between AR & VR

To properly understand what we are talking about and make an important clarification – we are discussing AR not VR. Augmented reality is different than virtual reality because augmented reality deals with the real world right in front of the user and then superimposes images on top of that reality (for example, you could be looking at your desk and put your AR headset on and suddenly you see a car’s radiator sitting on the table right in front of you). Virtual reality creates a completely different visual that the user gets to see and experience (for example, you put on your VR headset and suddenly you are in Italy about to take a tour of the Vatican).

5 Ways Augmented Reality Will Change the Workplace

Training Employees With AR

Training employees has always been something of a challenge to coordinate for some large (and small) businesses. People can be spread out all over the country, yet need the same training. Wearable Technologies describes just a few ways in which augmented reality can be used in the workplace, “Many companies are integrating augmented reality (AR) or Microsoft HoloLens in their training program for employees. In healthcare, AR glasses allow doctors to practice complex medical procedures in a 3D environment. Using AR companies can develop a training program that’s consistent for each employee and at the same time it enables the worker to develop confidence in their role, reports Forbes. This program can also reduce risk of injuries for new employees.”

Expediting Repairs With AR

Just imagine how much more quickly you could repair that aforementioned radiator, or a piece of critical infrastructure in a data center, or a computer, or a myriad of other items if you had the ‘manual’ literally guiding you through the process before your eyes. With AR, a manual or guided tutorial could be overplayed over the item you are repairing to facilitate a far more effective and efficient repair process. Further, imagine if you and other experts or trained personnel could collectively work on a repair in real time. With AR, this is more possible than ever before. AR can be used to complete teamwork that may have been difficult or impossible before because people can be anywhere in the world but work together with AR to get the job done. This could mean increased revenue, saved lives, and so much more!

On-Boarding New Employees With AR

Imagine how much easier (and less uncomfortable) your first day on a new job would be if you had a virtual, yet invisible map to learn the lay of the land, who is who, and how to do your job? So much easier! While human interaction cannot be replaced for building authentic relationships, this offers a new tool to make the onboarding process more efficient and effective for employees, regardless of where they are located, as CMS Wire points out with anecdotal evidence of AR already being used as a part of the onboarding experience, “Beam, a design and digital marketing agency, has built an AR-based onboarding program. New employees can use AR headsets during their onboarding with new organizations in order to gain knowledge about the business, the office and to connect with employees. Of course, you wouldn’t want to make the already-awkward-enough first day on the job more uncomfortable, so Beam suggests organizations encourage their new employees to use the AR headsets during off-hours. The headsets bring information such as who sits where, what they do, which clients they have and how you can connect with them. Clicking on a person will unlock a quick video where an employee says what she or she does, and how he or she can help the newbie.”

Augmented Reality In The Retail Space

You may have already used AR in the retail space and not even realize it! If you have ever ‘virtually’ tried on a piece of clothing, eyeglasses, or anything else, you have used AR. Online shopping can be challenging for anyone, there is just no easy way to anticipate fit or scale (for example, those eyeglasses looked great online but they just arrived at your doorstep and they are way too big for your face) without seeing how it looks on you. AR can dramatically increase revenue for online retail operations by making it easy to virtually ‘try on’ something. By doing so, someone is more likely to make a purchase, and actually keep that purchase.

Augmented Reality Is Transforming Software Development

If you are a programmer you can probably see the writing on the wall. If you do not know how to program for AR, you should probably learn. As a programmer, some ideal languages to learn would be C#, C++, Java, Javascript, and Python (as well as others). By learning one or more of these languages, you set yourself up for success in software development and programming because there will be a significant demand for programmers with this capability in the next 10-20 years.

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