Why AR for Enterprise » Ecosystem » Analysis

Consumer vs. Enterprise AR Users

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The AR for Enterprise Alliance focuses on professional, enterprise AR users, along with all the components necessary to successfully add value to corporations and industries through the successful introduction and widespread adoption of AR-assisted enterprise solutions. The enterprise user has different requirements and expectations than the consumer user, whom is typically targeted by most AR developers.

Throughout history, technological innovations helped businesses perform better. In the 1990s, a few technological innovations took off on a mass market scale in the hands of consumers and were subsequently adopted by businesses. In Augmented Reality (AR), many technological innovations were developed first for government (military) use.

Military and enterprise users have a lot in common: a need for performance, accuracy and security. Over the past decade, some military technologies, especially relating to computer vision, have been applied in enterprise and consumer products.

Although they share many attributes, consumer and professional users have very different requirements for, and expectations of their AR experiences and platforms. This post examines four attributes.

  • Precision/accuracy: consumers have relatively high expectations but are tolerant of lower accuracy in AR. As a rule consumers are unable to measure the value or impacts of higher accuracy and are very cost sensitive, seeking out the lowest price components and avoiding payment directly to producers where possible (where an alternate business model, such as advertising, is available). Meanwhile, the professional user has high expectations, attempts (and succeeds) in measuring them and is likelier to pay a premium for higher accuracy.
  • Willingness to pay: there are relatively few business models for Augmented Reality today. For consumers, the sensitivity to price is high (they are not tolerant of needing to pay for a service) so the models are more likely to be based on barter (I expose my data and get something in return without paying) or advertising. Professional users are generally familiar with “pay for what you use” and “better costs more” concepts so there is a business model for the providers of content and/or services.
  • Diversity of environment/context: consumers assume that technology works in all environments where they happen to be, i.e., the “unconstrained” use mind set. Professional users are more likely to utilize solutions in constrained environments. Well- or even somewhat- documented objects, workflows and lighting make a large difference in AR. Frequently, professional users are indoors and so the whole notion of positioning with GPS is uncertain (low GPS). This constrained environment contributes to higher precision in AR solutions.
  • Security/privacy: the consumer environment ranges from totally unaware and unconcerned to highly sensitive, which is difficult to generalize. Professional users assume that data is secure, with use cases being private or protected, and that networks are secured by firewalls, etc.

Enterprise and consumer users differ in many ways. Over time, some of the challenges facing enterprises when integrating AR will be addressed and become useful to consumers. The reverse trend will also benefit enterprises that seek to reduce costs and lower other barriers to enterprise AR adoption.