Augmented reality (AR) applications on mobile devices are estimated to be adopted in 30% of large enterprises as part of their digital transformation strategy by the year 2020.
First, let’s get the understanding right - in virtual reality, everything is make-believe. In augmented reality, there are virtual objects placed on top of real objects, but you can't interact with these objects. Once you can interact with these objects, you enter the world of mixed reality.
All these form a technology trend that is reshaping the visual component of computing experiences. Immersive technologies will transform the way people interact with digital mesh-based devices and their physical counterpart, or will provide new and novel ones.
An example is from GE Renewable Energy and its technology partner Upskill. The two worked together to enable a factory employee to receive wiring installation instructions by wearing a head-mounted display (HMD), instead of reading a traditional paper manual. The employee was able to complete work significantly faster.
A further under exploration use case with one of our clients is using a certified hard hat with live streaming capabilities used in mining and other industrial environments. It allows hands-free communication over any distance via a dedicated smartphone app and a private networking platform. It could be further overlaid with schematics of scenarios, for businesses with significant field operations, this could be transformative as it provides immediate assistance to staff on the ground and empowers where and when most needed.
The Tech Involved
Head mounted devices (HMD) or smart mirrors are now in the market and available, and as those technologies advance, their use will become commonplace. They range from smartphone powered devices, like cheap cardboard based ones from Google to the now familiar Samsung VR goggles. There are more powerful ones that connect to the PC like Oculus Rift. These allow you to see in 360 degrees. These are great in bringing artificial things to your natural surroundings (Augmented reality). A speedometer on your windshield display comes to mind.
When you can start interacting with these elements Mixed Reality comes into play. Microsoft HoloLens and the ultra-secret start-up Magic Leap are the new immersive technologies that include new form factors, transparent glass displays and advanced environmental sensors.
However, none of the potential will be realized until the invention of new user interface mechanisms and business models to accompany wearable and other smart displays.
Disruptive elements of immersive technology for businesses stretch from the workplace to consumers. Immersive AR and VR provide new and novel experiences, such as viewing your future home as if you were there. Training employees will become more realistic with the use visualization technology to view and interact with products and services. Also, interactive graphics on many types of screens will disrupt how employees and customers interact with businesses.
AR tool providers are self-segmenting into verticalized specializations, such as in medical, manufacturing, retail and training. While some specialties are needed, many providers will move to more general immersive computing platforms to support a wider array of use cases.
What’s to come?
• The user experience of computing: Traditional screens will be replaced with immersive ones. Employees will gain contextual information in real time about their tasks. As a result, efficiency will be gained. Customers can be trained on how to use complex equipment, and consumers will have new types of entertainment and purchasing options, all enabled by immersive computing's ability to mesh the real and virtual worlds.
• Business processes and workflows: Advancing beyond paper and flat-screen technology will mean efficiency gains, but a change of workflow may be necessary. Immersive screens are in a location different from that of a manual or laptop. Optimization is needed to make best use of how those new screens are integrated into each type of task and job workflow. The impact of using hyper-personal data, needed as input for immersive systems, extends across legal and geographic boundaries.
• Personal interactions: Businesses can benefit from immersive solutions as they can improve businesses' methods of interaction with employees, partners and customers. That new capability defines revenue, market share and branding opportunities. As businesses rely more on technology, they will seek out advanced ones, such as computer graphics and interactive techniques that optimize and extend their digital touchpoints.
AR, VR and MR technologies significantly advance the quality, fidelity and dimensionality of human-to-computer interactions. CIOs that are leveraging disruptive technology trends will benefit from integrating immersive screens, but it will take years for the disruption to be fully realized.
The disruptive impact of the change in location of the screen, from table to head, will be felt across a wide range of business scenarios as it enables a new class of computing experiences.
All digital giants (Apple, Google, Microsoft and so forth) have significant long-term investments in immersive displays and interactive computer graphics, with emerging ecosystems that will become established platforms.
—by Nandita Mathur — Chief Strategy Officer & Head of Engineering, Q3 Technologies....