Augmented Reality (AR) has gone from a future business investment into an extremely powerful tool for helping companies improve operational productivity. In the context of marketing, augmented reality enables businesses to provide consumers with unique and immersive digital experiences while also engaging them in a creative way.
In this article, we’ll discover how AR technology is changing the business landscape and what are the benefits of using augmented reality in business working processes.
Like Real Life but Better (What Is AR?)
So, what is AR and why is this technology so popular?
Augmented reality is a technology that enhances real-life environments by adding visual, audio, and other effects to the physical world via gadgets. When referring to Augmented reality, it’s often mentioned in a bundle with Virtual reality (VR), both technologies are designated as VR/AR. The two technologies are closely connected to visual effects but they have their own differences. The VR entirely immerses its users into a virtual reality where a person is isolated from the real world. While the AR provides a partial immersion, combining reality with digital objects.
To provide a mixed experience of the digital and the real world the AR computer algorithms implement special sensors. They spot the current position of physical objects via camera and place virtual objects over the real ones. After that, the technology renders the final image on the screen of a gadget.
The most famous example of AR that skyrocketed several years ago is the Pokemon Go game app for mobile phones. In this game, players need to collect cartoon characters at different real locations around the globe. The game has more than 14 million downloads from the PlayMarket and has gained a number of awards in the mobile game development sphere.
Currently, AR is a growing trend and many well-known companies such as Google, Facebook, Walmart, IKEA, Coca-Cola, Disney, and many others are considering adopting or already leveraging AR in their digital solutions. For example, Google has created an ARCore platform for building augmented reality apps and invests in the development of AR gadgets like Google Glass and others.
The AR market size is expected to drastically increase in the next several years. Statista forecasts that it’ll grow from roughly $3.5 billion in 2017 to more than $198 billion in 2025. And according to the recent Grand View Research report, the global augmented reality market is estimated at $17.67 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand even more with a 43.8% CAGR from 2021 to 2028.
This outstanding AR market growth is encouraging more innovations in the AR sphere, triggering its wide implementation across various industries. And we can already indicate the results.
AR Technology in Various Industries
There is a wide range of examples of how businesses from different industries successfully implement AR technology to improve their inner work processes and enhance their customers’ experience. Let’s have a look at the most common ones.
During the Covid-19 pandemic brick and mortar retail stores have been shut most of the time. To keep afloat businesses started promoting their products online and adopting AR technology to provide the same and even better level of service to their customers. AR in e-commerce allows customers to fully immerse themselves into the shopping experience and get to know the goods in virtual reality in detail.
AR technology is also widely implemented in the educational sphere. By using AR and 3D images, medical students can study how body organs look and work up to the finest detail. Engineers can disassemble and assemble machine parts, and teachers can use AR games to educate their students by demonstrating various models or projecting texts and tables.
These are just some examples of how AR can be leveraged in education and its adoption in this industry is quickly growing.
AR adoption in healthcare leads to more affordable and accessible medical education like nursing and surgeons training. Surgeons can use AR for pre-surgery planning and detailed studying of each patient case. Whereas nurses can study various patient scenarios and better cope with different situations at work, applying their social, technical, and team skills.
Besides medical training, AR helps visually impaired patients to navigate their surrounding areas, assists surgeons during operations, quickly explains to physicians how various medical devices function, and provides help in many other ways.
AR in entertainment isn’t limited only to the game sphere and spreads to art museums and galleries, music, television, and much more. With entertaining AR businesses can effectively retain their users and provide them with new levels of experience. For example, when listening to music AR can provide users with additional information on the listened tracks like artist bio, lyrics, dance videos, and others. There are many creative ways of how entertainment companies can use AR to make their products stand out.
Benefits of Using AR for Your Business
The positive effects of augmented reality are substantial for many companies. Here are some examples of the advantages your business can gain by using AR technology.
Enhanced Customer Experiences
With AR technology businesses can provide their customers with unique experiences of interactive reality. Many e-commerce retail businesses embed AR in their brand apps and provide their customers with opportunities to try products online. With this “try before you buy” approach businesses can improve their conversion rates and reduce goods returns to their brick and mortar stores.
Improved Brand Visibility
Though AR appeared in the late ’60s, this technology was rarely used for mass use until the 2000s. Being a novelty for regular users, many businesses leverage AR to surprise their customers and create a strong and favorable impression of their brands. This way, customers quickly remember the promoted brand and become its loyal followers.
Increased Business Performance
AR in business can also be implemented for improving inner workflow processes. For example, manufacturing businesses can use this visual technology for real-time monitoring of production processes and factory equipment, navigation, or product presentations.
As a result, business staff can quickly grab the most essential data and make better decisions faster.
Accessible Training and Improved Safety
Many businesses use AR and VR for effective staff training. The two technologies can be used for visual data presentation during lectures and training personnel in complex working conditions. For example, electricians can use AR for visualizing electrical circuits and after training how to work with them in a safe virtual environment.
Some car manufacturing companies are experimenting with AR. Audi, BMW, Porsche, and others, embed AR in their cars’ dashboards to enhance their navigation. This way, drivers can check street names, building addresses, and some additional instructions in just a glimpse and faster navigate around cities and congested roads.
If you’re considering implementing AR technology in your digital solution, then you need a team of experts who can realize the full potential of AR in your app. SCAND company has a team of professional developers who have created many AR projects. Here are some of the most exciting projects the SCAND team took part in.
Enterprise AR Mobile App
This augmented reality case study required the SCAND team to develop an AR mobile app that could be easily customized and used for various business purposes. The app was supposed to add various objects to the real-world environment and show how they work. For example, a user wants to know which parts in a car are missing. For this, they direct the camera of their mobile phone to the place with the missing pieces and see on the mobile phone screen what component should be there and how it should work.
To create such an app and embed the AR technology, our team worked with the camera and sensors for mobile gadgets and 2D and 3D models that were layered over the real objects.
As a result, our customer obtained a cross-platform AR solution that they successfully use in advertising, the automotive industry, education, and the creation of games.
An AR Postcard
Developing an AR postcard app for our customer was one of the most creative and exciting projects. The purpose of the app is to let users design their own postcards with music, videos, 3D animation, or 3D visual effects which can be activated after printing and scanning their hard copies. These copies can be sent to other users and enacted through the AR postcard app.
To develop this digital solution the SCAND team had to work with motion sensors, use the OpenGL ES technology, and C++ programming language. As a result, the SCAND team built a successful native app that runs on iOS and Android platforms.
Selecting a TV Set With AR
One of the SCAND customers was a major manufacturer of TV sets. The company wanted to create a TV augmented digital solution that would help their customers to choose the best TV set for their home. For this, the SCAND team had to develop an app that could display a TV set and its extra components such as acoustic systems or game consoles at any angle to fit it in the interior of any room. Besides that, the app had to include the data on each TV model like characteristics, price, description, advertisement videos, and a TV catalog.
As a result, our customer obtained a full-fledged solution that allowed their buyers to choose the right TV set without the necessity to leave home.
Education App With AR
The SCAND customer wanted to develop an augmented reality app for education that could teach its users about the creatures which live in the sea. The app’s target audience was kids, so the app had to be interactive and highly engaging. For this, the SCAND team added:
- over 50 3D fish objects that could move and be fully observed from different sides;
- ability to change the fish colors;
- a button that launched an audio description of each fish’s habits and its ecosystem.
As a result, the customer obtained an informative and fascinating app for kids that can teach them about the sea world and motivate them for further learning.
Conclusion on Augmented Reality
More and more companies from various industries start implementing virtual and augmented reality to improve their inner working processes as well as marketing campaigns.
Being a highly visual technology, AR allows companies to quickly access the most essential data and effectively monitor the ongoing processes. Meanwhile, when leveraged for brand development, it helps businesses to attract and retain more customers by unusual brand designs and improved customer experience.