Augmented and Mixed Reality Guide for Business

An article on MobiDev states the different types and uses of Augmented Reality in a useful guide for enterprises. It starts by claiming that AR has huge potential for improving business processes and delivering information.

The five major types of AR listed in the article are as follows:

  • Marker-based AR = consists of a camera used by a user and a marker recognised by the camera. Physical reality captured by the camera is augmented by an image being put in the spot of the marker code.
  • Recognition-based AR = identifies real-world objects by barcode / QR code and provides user with info about it; correlates to marker-based AR.
  • Location-based markerless AR = objects near the user’s location are identified and overlaid with AR features.
  • Projection-based AR = digital images are projected on real-world objects to create an interactive connection between them.
  • Superimposition-based AR = partially or entirely replaces the real view of an object with a digital object.

The article goes on to define Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality:

  • AR = adds artificial objects to the physical world.
  • VR = an environment completely made of artificial objects, giving total immersion.
  • MR = combines AR and VR by using digital and physical attributes that interact.

The use of digital imagery in AR / VR devices has instigated a digital transformation in many businesses that can save excessive amounts of money and increase the variety of critical needs. Brian Blau, Research Vice President at Gartner, predicts that AR, VR, and MR solutions will be adopted in 20% of big enterprises by 2019.

The article describes applications of AR in a range of sectors:

  • Industrial AR = AR can help to organise large amounts of data and place them into interactive displays / environments. A smart factory can autonomously oversee its operation by making a working model of the real world and manipulating its parts in tandem with the natural environment, using virtual info to interact with real objects. The previously known practice of prototypes can advance much quicker and with greater accuracy with the help of AR, and this also reduces costs. AR tech can enhance the human worker, keeping fewer robots in manufacturing.
  • Real Estate, Architecture, and Construction = AR has a capacity for customisation models and accurate presentations, so a user can manipulate data and insert materials or other solutions to design / building problems. Sales opportunities can increase when retail staff can offer a guided walkthrough of any property via AR.
  • Medicine and Healthcare = enhanced treatment and examinations are possible with wearables; medical records can be brought up in real time while doctors are performing exams. AR can help to model a difficult surgical procedure for surgeons to practice before the real surgery. Additional knowledge can be provided to remote practitioners via AR, and it can equip emergency treatment.
  • Sport and Fitness = information, insights, and entertainment can be provided to users during their exercise. AR can monitor body functions so the user can be kept in a cardio zone that optimises weight loss. Personalised workout videos can also be developed for mobile apps.
  • eCommerce and Retail = Amazon are utilising AR to allow customers to try on watches, and ARKit has been developed by Apple, a developer tool that assists new AR app production. However, this does create a significant gap between tech giants and small retailers due to the only way to advance technically being integrating advanced AR apps.
  • Education = AR can increase classroom engagement and extend students’ range of learning through use of AR on smart devices.

The final section of the article explains how AR can transform a business by improving processes and functions. The two categories of hardware on which AR / MR can be used are mobile devices and wearables; as this hardware evolves, software development companies can develop solutions for key industry players.

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