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10 Ways AR Will Change the Way You Work

  • 10 Ways AR Will Change the Way You Work

    Auto factory worker using AR
    For IT groups, augmented reality will introduce new ways to collaborate, as well as a host of new applications and hardware to support.
  • 1. Meetings

    AR meeting

    Many analysts suggest that one of the first ways that AR will invade offices is through meetings. Augmented reality can offer a more realistic experience than traditional video conferencing, making remote meetings more like face-to-face discussions. In addition, the participants can work together in the virtual space, making it easier to collaborate on design and coding projects.

    Within IT, AR could be particularly helpful for enabling agile or DevOps teams to conduct stand-up meetings that include remote participants.

    Image Source: Microsoft
  • 2. Remote Collaboration

    2. Remote Collaboration

    Workers wouldn't have to be in a formal meeting in order to collaborate on projects in AR. They could use augmented reality technology on an ad hoc basis to get input from colleagues on their projects. For example, developers could engage in pair programming with both seeing the same code and each other in a way that makes it seem like they are sitting side-by-side.

    Of course, this also opens the possibility that managers could supervise workers more closely, possibly in ways that make workers feel uncomfortable.

    Image Source: Accenture

  • 3. Training

    3. Training

    Organizations in every industry have been investigating augmented reality as a possible training tool. It seems particularly valuable for hands-on tasks because AR technology can overlay instructions right over the physical item that trainees need to work on. AR can also connect the trainee with a remote instructor in real time, and if the instructor is also using an AR headset or smartphone, he or she could see exactly what the trainee was doing. That could potentially reduce the time that training takes, eliminate the need for instructors to travel and even make training more effective.

    Within the IT department, training systems administrators, network administrators and technicians via AR seems particularly promising.

    Image Source: Microsoft

  • 4. Repair and Maintenance

    4. Repair and Maintenance

    In the same way that AR assists with hands-on training, it could also help with real-life repair and maintenance activities. For example, systems administrators could overlay instructions right on top of the servers they are installing. Or network administrators could watch a YouTube video explaining step-by-step router deployment while they are in the data center deploying routers. Technicians of all kinds might find that this technology helps them do their work more quickly and with fewer mistakes.

    Image Source: Cisco

  • 5. Design

    5. Design

    People who use CAD and other 3D design tools for a living have been quick to see the potential of AR technology. While screen-based design software has come a long way, it cannot allow designers to see how their creations will truly look in the real world. Augmented reality makes that a possibility. Whether they are working on consumer goods, architecture or even technology products, creative professionals gain unprecedented abilities to visualize their creations with AR.

    Within the technology sector, it's likely that many product design teams will begin using AR to help with product development. And software developers are already working on the applications that will make this new type of design work possible.

    Image Source: Microsoft

  • 6. Retail Showcasing

    6. Retail Showcasing

    Retailers have been particularly quick to understand the potential offered by augmented reality. They are particularly attracted to the idea of being able to allow customers to experience their products even when the products aren't physically available. The image above from Fiat Chrysler shows how car buyers could configure a vehicle in 3D and use a tablet or smartphone to see how it would look in the real world. And clothing retailers have begun experimenting with virtual dressing rooms that allow customers to see how they would look in different sizes and colors of clothing.

    For IT teams, the big challenge will be to create the apps that make these shopping experiences possible.

    Image Source: Fiat Chrysler
  • 7. Ecommerce

    7. Ecommerce

    Just like brick-and-mortar retailers, online sellers also have much to gain through augmented reality. By some estimates, 27 percent of all online transactions are likely to occur via a mobile device in 2018, and smartphones offer plenty of potential for AR-enhanced shopping. For example, the image above is from a smartphone app that partnered with the Kardashians to show shoppers what makeup would look like on their faces before they buy it.

    Here again, IT will be heavily involved in creating the AR apps designed to drive more mobile commerce.

    Image Source: Samsung

  • 8. Marketing

    8. Marketing

    In the same way that savvy sales teams see the potential for AR to showcase their products, forward-thinking marketers are also experimenting with augmented reality as a way to interest people in their wares very early in the buying process. For example, IKEA has an app based on Apple's ARKit that allows people to see how IKEA furniture would look in their homes. Other marketers are experimenting with smartphone apps that overlay smart advertisements on the real world. For example, they might display an coupon for coffee when someone is near a coffee shop.

    Astute IT teams are helping show their marketing groups what is possible with AR, and many enterprise developers are already working on marketing-related AR apps.

    Image Source: Ikea

  • 9. Multifunctional Office Space

    9. Multifunctional Office Space

    Some startups have suggested that AR could eventually transform the way office spaces are set up. With augmented reality capabilities, companies might find that they no longer need office space with furniture configured for specific tasks. Any room with a chair and four blank walls could instantly become an office, a meeting room, a library with thousands of volumes of reference books on virtual bookshelves or even an exercise facility. This type of change to work environments is likely still many years in the future, but it might take less time than most people think for augmented reality devices to replace some PCs in the office.

    Image Source: Meta

  • 10. IT Support

    10. IT Support

    With all of these business use cases for augmented reality, the biggest change for IT departments will likely be supporting the new technology. AR devices require a lot of computing power, so IT will be deploying and maintaining a lot of new hardware to make the new systems work. In addition, help desk staff will need to be trained in how to answer user questions and troubleshoot problems with AR devices in the field. They might also use the AR technology themselves when interacting with internal or external customers. And of course, developers will need to spend a lot of time writing and updating the code that makes new AR applications possible.

    Image Source: Pixabay

  • 1 of

10 Ways AR Will Change the Way You Work

  • 1 of
  • Auto factory worker using AR

    10 Ways AR Will Change the Way You Work

    For IT groups, augmented reality will introduce new ways to collaborate, as well as a host of new applications and hardware to support.
  • AR meeting

    1. Meetings

    Many analysts suggest that one of the first ways that AR will invade offices is through meetings. Augmented reality can offer a more realistic experience than traditional video conferencing, making remote meetings more like face-to-face discussions. In addition, the participants can work together in the virtual space, making it easier to collaborate on design and coding projects.

    Within IT, AR could be particularly helpful for enabling agile or DevOps teams to conduct stand-up meetings that include remote participants.

    Image Source: Microsoft
  • 2. Remote Collaboration

    2. Remote Collaboration

    Workers wouldn't have to be in a formal meeting in order to collaborate on projects in AR. They could use augmented reality technology on an ad hoc basis to get input from colleagues on their projects. For example, developers could engage in pair programming with both seeing the same code and each other in a way that makes it seem like they are sitting side-by-side.

    Of course, this also opens the possibility that managers could supervise workers more closely, possibly in ways that make workers feel uncomfortable.

    Image Source: Accenture

  • 3. Training

    3. Training

    Organizations in every industry have been investigating augmented reality as a possible training tool. It seems particularly valuable for hands-on tasks because AR technology can overlay instructions right over the physical item that trainees need to work on. AR can also connect the trainee with a remote instructor in real time, and if the instructor is also using an AR headset or smartphone, he or she could see exactly what the trainee was doing. That could potentially reduce the time that training takes, eliminate the need for instructors to travel and even make training more effective.

    Within the IT department, training systems administrators, network administrators and technicians via AR seems particularly promising.

    Image Source: Microsoft

  • 4. Repair and Maintenance

    4. Repair and Maintenance

    In the same way that AR assists with hands-on training, it could also help with real-life repair and maintenance activities. For example, systems administrators could overlay instructions right on top of the servers they are installing. Or network administrators could watch a YouTube video explaining step-by-step router deployment while they are in the data center deploying routers. Technicians of all kinds might find that this technology helps them do their work more quickly and with fewer mistakes.

    Image Source: Cisco

  • 5. Design

    5. Design

    People who use CAD and other 3D design tools for a living have been quick to see the potential of AR technology. While screen-based design software has come a long way, it cannot allow designers to see how their creations will truly look in the real world. Augmented reality makes that a possibility. Whether they are working on consumer goods, architecture or even technology products, creative professionals gain unprecedented abilities to visualize their creations with AR.

    Within the technology sector, it's likely that many product design teams will begin using AR to help with product development. And software developers are already working on the applications that will make this new type of design work possible.

    Image Source: Microsoft

  • 6. Retail Showcasing

    6. Retail Showcasing

    Retailers have been particularly quick to understand the potential offered by augmented reality. They are particularly attracted to the idea of being able to allow customers to experience their products even when the products aren't physically available. The image above from Fiat Chrysler shows how car buyers could configure a vehicle in 3D and use a tablet or smartphone to see how it would look in the real world. And clothing retailers have begun experimenting with virtual dressing rooms that allow customers to see how they would look in different sizes and colors of clothing.

    For IT teams, the big challenge will be to create the apps that make these shopping experiences possible.

    Image Source: Fiat Chrysler
  • 7. Ecommerce

    7. Ecommerce

    Just like brick-and-mortar retailers, online sellers also have much to gain through augmented reality. By some estimates, 27 percent of all online transactions are likely to occur via a mobile device in 2018, and smartphones offer plenty of potential for AR-enhanced shopping. For example, the image above is from a smartphone app that partnered with the Kardashians to show shoppers what makeup would look like on their faces before they buy it.

    Here again, IT will be heavily involved in creating the AR apps designed to drive more mobile commerce.

    Image Source: Samsung

  • 8. Marketing

    8. Marketing

    In the same way that savvy sales teams see the potential for AR to showcase their products, forward-thinking marketers are also experimenting with augmented reality as a way to interest people in their wares very early in the buying process. For example, IKEA has an app based on Apple's ARKit that allows people to see how IKEA furniture would look in their homes. Other marketers are experimenting with smartphone apps that overlay smart advertisements on the real world. For example, they might display an coupon for coffee when someone is near a coffee shop.

    Astute IT teams are helping show their marketing groups what is possible with AR, and many enterprise developers are already working on marketing-related AR apps.

    Image Source: Ikea

  • 9. Multifunctional Office Space

    9. Multifunctional Office Space

    Some startups have suggested that AR could eventually transform the way office spaces are set up. With augmented reality capabilities, companies might find that they no longer need office space with furniture configured for specific tasks. Any room with a chair and four blank walls could instantly become an office, a meeting room, a library with thousands of volumes of reference books on virtual bookshelves or even an exercise facility. This type of change to work environments is likely still many years in the future, but it might take less time than most people think for augmented reality devices to replace some PCs in the office.

    Image Source: Meta

  • 10. IT Support

    10. IT Support

    With all of these business use cases for augmented reality, the biggest change for IT departments will likely be supporting the new technology. AR devices require a lot of computing power, so IT will be deploying and maintaining a lot of new hardware to make the new systems work. In addition, help desk staff will need to be trained in how to answer user questions and troubleshoot problems with AR devices in the field. They might also use the AR technology themselves when interacting with internal or external customers. And of course, developers will need to spend a lot of time writing and updating the code that makes new AR applications possible.

    Image Source: Pixabay

When most people think about virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), they think about games and consumer devices. But while gaming represents a huge market for this technology, experts say that business uses of VR and AR could become much more important.

For the uninitiated, virtual reality is an all-immersive computer-generated environment that makes users feel as though they are someplace entirely different from their actual real-world location. To experience VR, you need to wear a headset and possibly other accessories. Augmented reality, by contrast, overlays computer-generated images and information on top of the real world. You might use a headset or goggles to experience AR, or you might only use a smartphone.

According to IDC, AR and VR revenues will likely total $9.1 billion this year. However, the firm is forecasting that AR/VR sales will increase nearly 95 percent in 2018 to reach $17.8 billion. Notably, much of that spending will be done by businesses. "The commercial sectors will represent more than 60 percent of AR/VR spending in 2018 and grow to more than 85 percent of the worldwide total in 2021," IDC stated in a press release.

Speaking about the potential business uses of VR and AR, analyst Rob Enderle told Datamation, "The industrial sector will pay good money for a good piece of hardware, whereas the consumer sector is limited for a budget under $500. With the industrial crowd you could sell them $5,000 products and they don’t flinch."

Many business leaders seem particularly interested in the possibilities offered by AR, and many are investigating business uses of AR devices manufactured by Microsoft, Google, Samsung and others.

So how exactly will businesses be using AR in the near future? And how will that impact IT professionals? Here are ten possibilities.

Image Source: Microsoft

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