We can all thank Pokémon Go for making augmented reality (AR) a truly mainstream phenomenon. The game demonstrated that when fun and easily accessible through our ubiquitous mobile devices, people will download an app and use AR. The sheer accessibility of AR makes it incredibly promising for enterprise applications, because all that is required is a mobile device and software to power the experience.
So it’s not a surprise that we’re seeing more and more unique applications of AR, but what will continue to surprise is the different, unique applications of AR in the enterprise. We’ve all seen the reports of how big the AR market will be - billions! - and how fast it’s going to grow - fast!
So we searched around to find some interesting applications of AR at the enterprise level, and found some pretty cool projects happening out there.
Augmented reality has incredible potential for indoor navigation and wayfinding: Imagine being inside a building, whether that is a school, hospital, or airport, holding up your phone and seeing an arrow guiding you along a path.
In 2018, the UK’s Gatwick Airport introduced an AR wayfinding system that uses 2,000 battery-powered beacons and a map of the airport. This technology is designed to make it easy for travelers to easily navigate through the airport and also to help airport employees manage traffic flow and reduce costs.
Another example of wayfinding assistance is DHL’s implementation of AR glasses in some warehouses. When wearing these glasses, workers are displayed the shortest route within a warehouse to locate and pick up certain items that need to be shipped. This provides employees more efficient ways to navigate and go about their daily jobs.
Augmented reality has become a marketing important tool within the hospitality industry, because it allows hotels and other related businesses to enhance the physical environment or surrounding area they are promoting and selling. When traveling, many guests ask for a lot of information, and AR can make this information easily available to customers at any time of the day.
For example, interactive hotel rooms are one use of AR for the hospitality industry. The Hub Hotel by Premier Inn in the UK has started using AR in conjunction with wall maps in its hotel rooms. Guest can point their mobile devices at the maps and will be able to see additional information about local points of interest and more, an integrated marketing map so to say.
Another way hotels are using is AR is to make the space and environment more interesting. For example, Holiday Inn created an in hotel experience that allowed guests to point a mobile device around the hotel and see AR versions of celebrities.
The Energy Industry
AR is continuing to be integrated into the energy industries, such as oil and gas, to help increase safety and productivity. One of the first applications of augmented reality in this sector is creating scenarios that can be used instead of or in addition to a printed handbook. These pre-designed scenarios are great for training and operating and fixing equipment.
Another use of AR for the energy industry is its remote service capabilities. BP, a leader in the global oil and gas industry, uses AR integrated smart glasses for its field services. These glasses allow experts in the control room to see what the technician is seeing and allows for an accurate problem diagnosis. Then the technology allows the expert to present visual instructions and real time data into the technicians glasses as they fix the equipment. This helps handle unplanned and unexpected issues in a safe and time efficient way.
Augmented reality can be used in job training in a number of different fields. AR enhances traditional learning, by showing future employees rather than just telling, as well as streamlining the learning curve, and saving time and money. Humans make mistakes and may leave out an important step or part of the job. AR assures that all employees are trained in the same way.
With AR job training, Lockheed Martin was able to reduce the assembly time of their F-35 airplane by 30%. Lockheed used holographic renderings of parts, displayed in real time, along with instructions on how to assemble them.
Outdoor gear company Mountain Hardwear also launched an AR app that allows retailers, employees and customers to visualize its new tents, sleeping bags and other gear in any location. This is a powerful way for retailers to explore and learn more about Mountain Hardwear Products, as well as to show differences to customers, who can literally use the app to crawl inside and explore tents.
Augmented reality has the potential to increase efficiency and save money acoss business logistics. It can assist in transportation, warehousing, maintenance, quality assurance, and product development.
For example, Porsche introduced AR at one of their vehicle assembly plants where employees use mobile devices to compare an assembled vehicle to the original design prior to sending to customers. This helps ensure quality products and customer satisfaction, as well as saving Porsche time and money.
Also in the auto industry, Ford is using AR in the design phase of product development. Employees can use AR to overlay potential designs onto physical models and the tech also allows for remote team operations for teams spread across the globe. This allows Ford to expedite the design process.
According to Vibrant Media, 67% of media planners and buyers want AR/VR ads in digital marketing campaigns with the goal of enhancing the user experience. Vibrant Media also found that 49% of media agency executives believe that incorporating AR into their marketing strategies could prevent ad blocking.
There are already a number of different companies in different fields that have integrated AR into advertising and marketing efforts including Cisco, L’Oreal, Ikea, and Lonza. L’Oreal partnered with YouCam Makeup to create an AR integrated app for users. The app allows beauty lovers the opportunity to virtually experience makeup collections from L’Oréal, learn about products, and shop through the app or in store.
This is just one of many growing examples of augmented reality being integrated into company advertising efforts.
The value of augment reality is just beginning to be realized. Across industries and functionalities the opportunities are near limitless for enterprise to better share their place.