Augmented reality applications tend to become a mainstream business tool. They are used by companies in a wide range of industries, from product design to healthcare and employee training. At the same time, IoT devices are also in increasing demand in the business world. These smart devices connected to the internet can collect, interpret and relay data without human supervision.
The next step in business automation is easy to envision. Augmented reality applications can connect IoT devices and receive data they need from these. By minimizing the human input in data transfer, these systems will work faster. This will lead to increased productivity, accuracy and security.
An ABI Research paper dives deep into this topic.
The Current Role of Augmented Reality Applications in Business
As ABI Research points out, there are several sectors where augmented reality applications affect positive change:
- Data reuse: integration of enterprise application data into AR applications makes them easier to use in various combination. By pairing data visualization with the specific real life object it refers to will improve the value and relevance of data.
- Putting data in context: AR applications put information into a real life work context. For instance, workers can get step-by-step maintenance instructions or real time video guidance from an expert.
- Fewer errors: with continuous visual assistance and a hands-free approach, AR applications paired with smart glasses or headsets help reduce human error.
- Faster employee training: companies can grow their workforce faster thanks to augmented reality applications developed for employee training.
- Increased safety: constant visually displayed assistance allows employees to follow safety instructions and avoid dangerous actions.
IoT Platforms Can Make the AR Ecosystem Smarter
As augmented reality applications become more complex, they need a faster data flow. Human input assisted by computers is no longer enough. The solution is to create a link between the data collectors – IoT devices – and AR applications.
This IoT data transfer platform will enable workers to act faster and more efficiently as new data is delivered to them in real time. For example, a maintenance worker performs the regular inspection of an IoT-enabled device. The worker uses a maintenance protocol delivered via AR. The application receives data from the IoT predicting a malfunction within the next 24 hours. The worker can adapt the maintenance routine to address this issue.
Key Challenges the Industries Must Solve
The theory is simple, but in practice there are some considerations to solve. The goal is to create an industry standard for pairing augmented reality applications and IoT devices.
Thus, as ABI Research specifies, companies must determine issues like:
- Content: its source, the ease of use, what to augment;
- Market maturity: the availability of AR developers, application management and content delivery systems;
- Costs: hardware and software costs, demand/supply ratio, accessibility to resources.
What to Expect Once AR Applications and IoT Work Together
There is no doubt, AR apps are useful in and of themselves. However, “when IoT data are added, AR applications become supercharged and IoT platforms become a powerful AR application enabler”, according to ABI Research. Here are some benefits of combining AR with IoT:
IoT data integrated into augmented reality applications will help companies gain in-depth insights into their own operations. In this way, they will be able to predict and adapt their business plans and their work procedures according to real time data.
IoT data will help developers scale augmented reality applications and customize them to suit the specific needs of the business.
IoT platforms will enable a fast and wide range integration of various AR applications and other business software suite. This will speed up data collection, processing and analysis operations and improve productivity.
The direct connection between IoT platforms and augmented reality applications reduces security risks associated with human error or intentional data leaks.