A UGMENTED REALITY
MERGING THE REAL AND VIRTUAL WORLDS
What is Augmented Reality?
A UGMENTED REALITY Augmented reality (AR) is a technology which can be used in digitally merging the virtual and real worlds to provide users with an enhanced view of the real world. The technology can be implemented in a smartphone or tablet. It works by adding layers of videos, photos, sounds and GPS data to the real world images and video. The sports scores that you see on TV during a game is one example of augmented reality. The augmentation occurs in real-time and in a semantic context with the existing video feed. But this is just one small example of how AR is being put to use.
A Brief History of Augmented Reality Augmented Reality has been a staple of sci-fi films for a long time and has even existed in labs for over fifty years. Morton Heilig's Sensorama Machine, invented in 1957, can be considered the first augmented reality machine. The technology did not take off because it was considered too expensive and cumbersome to use. It’s only in the last 10 years that the proliferation of powerful and cheap tablets and smartphones combined with the low-cost availability of graphics has made the technology mainstream. Heilig's Sensorama Machine
How Augmented Reality Works Virtual Reality
Real World Augmented Reality
Augmented reality falls between virtual reality and the real world. It uses images, 3D objects, sound and even tactile AR being used in a car maker’s assembly line feedback to provide users with an augmented sense of the world around themselves by displaying images or video on a computer screen or even a smartphone.
From a technical perspective, AR technology “recognizes” objects, images or places based on visual search, GPS data or edge-based tracking tools. The technology can be implemented in an augmented reality browser, mobile app or even as a desktop application. The main aim of AR is to add layers of graphics and audio over the real world environment in real time. In the image given above, AR is being used to ensure that a new car model is going to fit through existing conveyors.
A UGMENTED REALITY How AR Improves Business along the Product Lifecycle Augmented reality is increasing being implemented in automotive, manufacturing and construction companies as engineering and design teams realize the cost and time savings associated with using AR. AR in Prototyping
Design teams are ideally suited to take advantage of AR when it comes to building prototypes. Building physical prototypes is expensive and time consuming. But with AR, companies can use virtual models and allow their engineering team easy verification of product quality by letting them perform 3D inspections, CAD comparison, dimensional analysis, reverse engineering, and much more. The precise digital overlays possible with AR are making physical prototypes obsolete in many companies.
Benefits of using AR in Prototyping Quick estimation of project costs Savings in material costs Virtual evaluation of multiple options Efficient communication between different teams because of quick knowledge sharing Detailed analysis based on the AR software
AR for Service and Maintenance Service AR can be a very effective tool for service technicians if implemented in the right manner. Car companies were among the first to start using AR for maintenance work. With the increasing complexity of car systems, technicians are being equipped with a head mounted display to guide them through the workflows step-by-step on an animated digital user manual. The company can increase its service quality while cutting down on training costs and achieve higher service levels. Training and Education
AR is also increasingly being used in training technicians and engineers in service and maintenance work. For training, AR helps to visualize data such as CAD-models on the real-world objects for maintenance work scenarios. The display with the customized software can be handed out to entire teams or an as-needed basis. This means considerable savings in instructor costs as well as a detailed understanding of the machines. 3
A UGMENTED REALITY AR in Marketing Although AR originally grew out of the industrial sector and is increasingly being used by manufacturing companies, marketers from all industries are realizing the potential of AR in their marketing strategies. The technology’s use in marketing can be divided up into five roles: Increasing customer involvement
Enhancing the print medium
Virtual On-site Product Placement
Extending the trade fair experience
Increasing customer involvement Augmented reality is perfectly suited to help retailers win more market share. AR gives customers more product evaluation options and lets customers “experience” the object. The layers that can be added in AR can be used by a wide variety of industries to enhance customer involvement – home remodeling, auto parts dealers, paint jobs in both home and car and several such uses. AR can also be used by retailers and other B2C businesses to allow their customers to incorporate social networks while using the technology. The advantage of this for the business is that social networks play an important role in influencing consumer behavior and several studies have shown that most online shoppers are interested sharing information about their purchases with their connections.
Enhancing the print medium In today’s digital age, where the Internet reigns supreme, the print medium is considered by many to be an obsolete method of trying to connect with consumers. But print still commands a substantial readership and the arrival of AR means new opportunities for both.
AR can help companies to enrich their print publications with 2D and 3D information, and also deliver content post-printing. With AR even the print medium can become a two-way medium. AR can be combined with all kinds of print mediums - brochures, newspaper advertisements, flyers, business cards, or entire billboards. AR can be used to add videos, 360 degree views, 3D models, photo albums and even polls.
A UGMENTED REALITY Extending the trade fair experience Having an eye-catching presence is one of the hardest things to do at a trade fair. But companies deploying AR technology can stand out from their competitors and also provide customers and the press a unique experience. The technology can be used to compliment the productpresentation with additional ways to explain the product. Automakers use it in trade shows to display the technology and safety features of their models with an “X-ray machine” approach.
Increase Sales Augmented Reality is also being used as a sales tool. Companies are using it to explain their products in a more precise manner to potential customers. The strategy is extremely successful for companies that sell context-sensitive goods such as home remodeling services and furniture business. In these cases, a visual impression with respect to the real world is important for customers before they decide to purchase a product.
Virtual On-site Product Placement The placement of context-sensitive product visualization is one of the biggest advantages of AR. Furniture makers are one of the most enthusiastic adopters of augmented reality. It lets them give customers the ability to integrate virtual furniture into their own living spaces. Sellers can give their customers a click-and-drag functionality that helps the buyer choose from multiple options. He can quickly integrate the products in the digital catalog in his own home and then link it to the eCommerce shopping cart in the same app.
AR for Customer Service It’s not just sales that can use augmented reality. The technology can also be used to increase the standard of customer service. AR can help the customer to set up the product, make upgrades or decide on which add-ons to purchase.
Augmented Reality User Manuals
Companies can cut down on costs by creating virtual manuals that makes it easier for their customers to set up the product and carry out routine maintenance and minor repairs. This will not only result in lower printing costs but also savings related to the company’s field technicians.
A UGMENTED REALITY Audi is using an augmented reality manual that recognizes over 300 parts of the car and returns relevant information and virtual overlays for helping its users carry out maintenance. AR can also be deployed on wearables such as glasses so that mechanics can have a hands-free experience.
Augmented Reality Navigation Customer service is more than just providing good after sales support. It also includes treating customers who are on your premises well enough to make them want to come back again. In amusement parks and other tourist sites, navigating the place can often be tough, especially for those who are not locals. Tokyo Aquariumâ€™s AR app was a milestone in this regard. It designed an award-winning app that helps its users navigate to the aquarium. The app has virtual penguins which guide the user along Tokyoâ€™s streets. This simple to use app has won critical acclaim from app designers and from the people of Tokyo.
The Future of Augmented Reality The increasing number of leading companies that are investing in the technology means that by 2015, over $1.5 billion will be spent on augmented reality applications and services (Source: Juniper Research). The use of AR will continue to increase as more companies adopt AR. The proliferation of smart phones and tablets along with the entry of wearable devices means that AR is going to become an increasingly important part of life for both enterprises and consumers.
Softweb Solutions Softweb Solutions is an IT consultant firm headquartered in Chicago, with a focus on delivering innovative tech solutions to enterprises. The company has provided mobility solutions, end-to-end IT systems, and web applications to Fortune 500 companies and dynamic startups. With over 300 full-time software engineers working in both U.S. and India, Softweb Solutions has successfully completed over 1000 projects over the past decade covering every major and niche technology. The company is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and is also a partner with several other software companies.
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A UGMENTED REALITY
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Published on May 7, 2014
Augmented reality (AR) is a technology which can be used in digitally merging the virtual and real worlds to provide users with an enhanced...