Imagine a world where you could point your phone at a product and see relevant information all around it. Or walking through the streets of Rome and seeing what it was like hundreds of years ago through a set of AR-enabled glasses or mobile apps. All of this and more can be made possible by Augmented Reality.
Augmented Reality: What is it?
In essence, augmented Reality (AR) uses technology to layer elements on our perception of the world digitally. Usually, it is achieved through the utilization of wearable techs like glasses or headsets, or apps on mobile devices.
Augmented Reality shows you the world through a filter that changes perceptions. However, the way it works means that AR is not fully tethered to a digital environment. Instead, it allows the user to move around and interact with the world around them while still being able to view the projected digital elements.
Why is it Important?
Augmented Reality is a technology that has truly come out of the realm of science fiction, and it has the potential to change several industries radically. In addition, AR applications can be paired with a number of other techs to create truly innovative methods of interaction. Finally, it further increases the user-friendliness and inclusivity of interfaces.
The Potential of AR
There are already a significant number of cases where AR is breaking new grounds. Regarding how much potential AR has, it is expected that the market share will hit 20+ billion dollars in revenue by 2025. And these numbers will only go higher as more industries explore the possibilities of AR. So, which industries are changing due to AR in 2021, and what can we expect for the future.
The education sector has benefited greatly from AR, especially in the past two years with the pandemic. AR applications can add another interactive layer to the teaching of students. Things like showcasing growth cycles of various plants and animals, mathematical work. It can further supplement field trips to historical and regional monuments. Although the initial cost seems higher, the long-term benefits are difficult to calculate.
And it’s not just students that can benefit. AR can be used to improve employee training and onboarding. For example, an AR-enabled device can take an employee through a specific work-related process by highlighting each element and how it fits together.
The exploration of AR in education has just scratched the surface of all that is possible.
Augmented Reality can benefit both patients and doctors alike. It can assist in procedures by highlighting key areas and providing information to improve diagnosis through real-time information comparison. The potential of AR in medicine is massive both as a diagnostic tool and a teaching tool.
The fitness industry is experimenting with AR as a way to circumnavigate social distancing due to the pandemic. Recently a company launched a pair of AR-enabled glasses that, with a companion app, helps with running. In addition, it projects an AR training buddy who can be used to either keep pace or improve your times.
It shows the potential AR-enabled devices and apps for fitness. From virtual training sessions to partners.
Retail & Commerce
The retail and commerce industry had already seen inroads with adopting AR tech. However, the 2020 pandemic made it necessary, with stores and businesses unable to operate as they used to. AR can allow users to see how a certain product would fit into their homes or on them. They can also see information on a product to make more informed decisions. In addition, translations to local units in real-time can be made possible via AR. The possibilities are endless are for retail and commerce.
The transport and automotive industry is exploring the possibilities that AR brings to safety and navigation. Already companies like Audi are working on systems that allow users to view road and traffic information in real-time on their windscreen—or projecting a navigation map on a HUD configuration. Currently, only basic information is possible, but Panasonic hopes to bring a fully-realized HUD to cars.
Since its advent, the value of AR has continued to climb in the market. And with the shift in the way the world interacts due to the pandemic, AR provides a way to ease things.
As a result, we see more and more AR-enabled devices and applications coming out in recent years. They can be simple things like quirky filters to educational tools to quality of life improvements via facilitating the availability of information. The future of AR is one of endless possibilities.