My blogs often talk about all the cool technology in our industry, including how 5G is going to impact us, what’s next with IoT, or why IWM is such a cool company to work with, how we can make your telecom experience painless while saving you money. Today I wanted to talk about something that I think will impact our collective futures. AR and VR.
What the heck are they and what does it mean for me or my business?
Let start with the definitions as pulled from Investopedia.
- Augmented reality (AR) is an enhanced version of the real physical world that is achieved using digital visual elements, sound, or other sensory stimuli delivered via technology. It is a growing trend among companies involved in mobile computing and business applications.
- Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment.
AR uses a real-world setting while VR is completely virtual. AR users can control their presence in the real world; VR users are controlled by the system. VR requires a headset device, but AR can be accessed with a smartphone. AR enhances both the virtual and real world while VR only enhances a fictional reality. In Augmented Reality, the computer uses sensors and algorithms to determine the position and orientation of a camera. AR technology then renders the 3D graphics as they would appear from the viewpoint of the camera, superimposing the computer-generated images over a user’s view of the real world.
In Virtual Reality, the computer uses similar sensors and math. However, rather than locating a real camera within a physical environment, the position of the user’s eyes are located within the simulated environment. If the user’s head turns, the graphics react accordingly. Rather than compositing virtual objects and a real scene, VR technology creates a convincing, interactive world for the user.
Sounds like all games, right? Well yes and no. The practical and business implications are limitless.
Adoption of VR is already here. Check out a few examples below:
Think about CAD data for training workers, using AR to figure out workflows and collaboration in a manufacturing setting. It can support different human-centered activities, like guiding a tech through maintenance on a machine, or a specific part and can even include detailed instructions for the project. The info provided can be data, video, pictures, or documents – whatever is best suited and needed for the project. Two other ways it can be used are for asset identification and for the transfer of knowledge. Think about the person with all the knowledge not being able to travel due to COVID, but being able to impart that knowledge to the onsite person/technician through AR and see exactly what the onsite person is seeing/doing.
Employee safety training
Learning and development programs are important to most organizations’ success. But those programs are particularly critical for organizations that deal in life-or-death situations or where an employee mistake can cause harm. AR and VR technology can enable employees to practice for such events, immersing them in lifelike scenarios.
For instance, oil companies BP and ExxonMobil use VR to train their employees in everyday work scenarios such as startup and emergency exit procedure initiations.
Sales and marketing presentations
Marketing presentations and sales demos have always placed a premium on the “wow” factor, and VR is proving to be a great investment in this regard.
VR technology enables sales teams to immerse their clients in environments where they can interact with a product. For instance, Premise LED, an LED manufacturer for commercial and industrial companies, uses VR to illustrate differences in areas before and after lighting to help customers make choices.
Organizations can also use VR technology to introduce customers to a product. Thanks to advances in technology, setting up and creating VR apps is simple and cost-effective. As a result, companies can create one-off apps that they can use for specific purposes and help their products stand out in their trade presentations.
Dental technology provider Zimmer Biomet uses VR to create virtual dental labs where potential customers can use their products and experience the effect they have on surgical and routine dental procedures. *
There is no limit to the number of use cases in this environment. Organizations can create virtual catalogs, showrooms, and scenarios to highlight their products and gain sales traction.
Many developers initially believed that VR would have the biggest impact on gaming. While VR has changed the gaming experience to a certain extent, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the enterprise use cases are a far more fertile area for VR vendors.
The number of VR enterprise use cases is still in the discovery stage and the market is growing exponentially. There’s no doubt even more business leaders will turn to VR to gain a competitive edge.
I hoped you enjoyed learning a bit more about AR and VR. I find the technology fascinating and can’t wait to see what the next chapter brings.
*Excerpts taken from TechTarget