The business world is always among the early adopters of latest technologies. This comes as no surprise at all: the competition in each industry and niche forces entrepreneurs and CEOs to think like top chess players and keep their eyes always trained on what the future may bring. Right now, augmented reality and virtual reality are the targets in sight.
The use of virtual or augmented reality apps and glasses has left the environment of gamers’ rooms and movie theaters, and has arrived in factories, warehouses and board rooms. Business owners and managers have understood the huge potential represented by this new technology to bring people together and make distant locations and objects accessible to them.
Busy executives, plant managers and other professionals have found many uses for augmented reality apps and glasses in their work and now these gadgets tend to become a part of the standard business look, together with the suit and the leather briefcase.
Here are the key applications for augmented and virtual reality in business:
Improved Collaboration between Teams in Different Locations Through Virtual Reality
Territory expansion is the key for the growth of any business, but things get complicated when managers are unable to coordinate teams properly due to the distance and the different time zones.
Video conferences partly solved the problem, but they are not very effective when written documents, charts and graphs need to be discussed, and everyone wants to give their input. Right now, thanks to devices such as the Oculus Rift, the Virtual Desktop brings all the meeting participants inside a computer desktop where they can open documents and browsers, make edits, and work as if they were together in the same room.
Augmented Reality Employee Training
Inducting new employees and training them in specific work procedure has never been a simple process for companies. Most of the time one of the existing employees was delegated to accompany the new hire for a tour of the workplace and to show them the step-by-step work procedures.
This is a costly process – according to the Association for Talent Development, the cost of employee training is more expensive year after year, from $1,040 per employee in 2003 to $1,209 in 2013.
Augmented reality apps promise to bring down this cost since new hires can be trained from a remote location, such as the HR office or their own work desk, and without the need to take another employee away from their regular tasks.
Augmented Reality Apps in Product Information and Troubleshooting
In 2015, Hyundai became the first car manufacturer which offered customers the user’s manual as an augmented reality app for mobile and tablet. Hyundai Virtual Guide allows car owner to learn all the ins and outs of their automobile and take advantage of all its features.
The app includes how-to troubleshooting tutorials and videos, as well as augmented reality overlays which allow owners to take an in-depth look at their car, identify various engine parts and figure out why the car does not work properly.
Customers’ Buying Experience Enhanced with Virtual Reality
The automotive industry is once again an enthusiastic adopter of augmented reality for designing new vehicles. Ford Motor Company started the trend and it is closely followed by Audi – their ZeroLight Experience allows customers to explore a car before buying it, using virtual reality glasses. This is possibly the future of test drives, as much as the future of car design.
With the ability to interact with an object as if it were in front of them, engineers will be able to create better cars, while customers will be able to make the right choice and get the real feel of driving without leaving their living room.
Data Visualization Aided by Virtual Reality
Big data is the current buzzword in all industries, but few people can really get the grasp of it. Numbers floating around, charts, graphs and lists are abstract and, on a large scale, very difficult to make sense of.
But when big data sets become 3D models which can be explored with the help of virtual reality, things start becoming clearer. At least this is the assumption of an academic project led by Oliver Kreylos, a researcher with UC Davis. The project aims to create a framework which allows the creation and exploration of large data sets in 3D models.