AR Technology Made Simple

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September 29, 2021

Pokemon Go

Introduction 

Since you’re on this page, you probably have some questions about augmented reality (AR) technology and how to implement it into your business. Augmented reality technology is an integral part of the future of business. This is why it goes without saying that you should probably take the time to learn a little more about it. 

Right now you may feel a little worried about the sheer vastness of AR technology. Don’t be, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will detail what AR technology is, the history of AR technology and how it came to be so prevalent today, effective ways to use it in your business, and its impact on UX design. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of AR technology and why you should at least consider using it in your business. 

What is Augmented Reality? 

Wikipedia states that “Augmented reality is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory and olfactory.” In layman’s terms, AR allows you to view the real world with a digital rendering of an object overlaid on it. This is done through devices with screens, most notably smartphones. 

AR is one of the most popular technology trends at the moment, and it will only grow in popularity as AR-enabled smartphones and other devices become more widely available around the globe. Although statements like these make it seem like augmented reality has always dominated the technical landscape, this has not always been the case. Augmented reality had a modest upbringing and has gone through a myriad of changes before arriving at where it is today. It is important to know where this incredible technology began in order to better understand where it is headed. 

The History of AR Technology 

AR Is Born

With the creation of the first head-mounted display system by Ivan Sutherland in 1968, augmented reality technology was born. Ivan named his device “The Sword of Damocles”. It was a clunky device that had to be supported by long metal rods, nevertheless, it accomplished the task of creating a computer-generated experience that improved the user’s view of reality. 

Sword of Damocles

wareable.com

Augmented Reality Becomes Augmented Reality 

Fast Forward to 1990 and augmented reality has seen further development. However, up until this point, AR technology wasn’t distinct from other similar technologies. That is until Tom Caudell, a researcher at Boeing, created the name augmented reality to describe AR tech.

AR Technology in Sports 

For those of you who are avid fans of American football and the NFL, you probably already know a little bit about augmented reality. The yellow line that can be seen while watching football games on the television is an example of AR technology. It was first introduced in 1998 and has been incorporated into every televised NFL game since.

Yellow Line in the NFL

americanfootballinternational.com

Google and AR Tech 

In the early 2010s, there was much hype around AR technology and what the future could have in store for it. Consequently, it was no surprise when Google decided to board the hype train and develop its own AR technology. In 2014, Google released Google Glass which was a pair of glasses that provided the ability to communicate with the internet via augmented reality technology. The glasses were not successful, but it was a pivotal moment in AR technology’s history because it showed that major companies were willing to invest large amounts of money into it. 

Microsoft and AR Tech 

In 2016, Microsoft released their own version of augmented reality technology they coined as Mixed Reality rather than augmented reality. The device released was named HoloLens and it was a rather large headset that cost a significant amount of money. The headset allowed users to search their environment and generate their own mixed reality experiences. 

Apple, AR, and Apps 

Apple developed its own AR technologies alongside Microsoft and Google. Apple created ARKit, a developer platform that allows individual developers to create their own AR experiences within IOS-based apps. ARKit was released in 2017, and many large retailers, such as IKEA, have incorporated it into their own apps to help increase their customer’s experience. 

Unity 

In 2018, the popular game developer software Unity released an update that allowed developers to incorporate VR, AR, and MR into their apps. It was seen with much popularity and many apps such as Pokemon Go have used this software to enhance the AR experience of their games. 

Augmented Reality Today 

The AR market is projected to eclipse USD 31 billion by the end of 2021. Microsoft has released its second version of the HoloLens and is on the fast track to its third version. Google has since developed numerous AR technologies that can be found online. These include ARCore, Google Scan, and Google Live View. Apple is continuing to improve upon its AR developer platforms by adding more variety with the additions of RealityKit, Reality Composer, and Reality Converter. With major tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple investing such heavy resources into AR, it is safe to say that the future of augmented reality is in good hands. 

Use Cases 

Early, Mature, and Growth Stage 

In previous articles, we have detailed the ways that AR technology has been used during various stages of business growth. The Covid pandemic has caused many issues for business owners, and many individuals have had to find creative ways to overcome the obstacles that the pandemic presented. AR technology has helped overcome many of the problems that the pandemic has brought. Click here to learn more about the triumphs that were made possible by AR technology. 

Employee Facing 

Scandit utilizes augmented reality to improve inventory management, logistics, sales use cases, and ticketing, as well as to create new processes. This allows for back-of-house tasks to be completed more efficiently so employees can spend more time with customers. 

Scandit AR App

kinstacdn.com

Customer Facing 

Splunk AR is an app that delivers real-time AR overlays of back-end data, allowing for more flexible, productive services and training while also eliminating time-consuming paperwork. Splunk AR is used by customers to monitor and maintain a variety of Splunk appliances and dashboards, and teachers can access what’s most essential in a training scenario—right now. This enables consumers to identify problems in real-time and lowers the time it takes to repair appliances when sifting through instruction manuals. 

Splunk AR

splunk

How Does AR Technology Relate to UX? 

We’ve discussed how AR improves the user experience in-depth in other articles. Below is a quick overview of ways that UX can be enhanced by AR. 

Enhanced Visualization 

By using visual overlays, the customer can get a more realistic view of the product that he or she is looking at. The ability to gaze upon a 3-D rendering provides a much more comprehensive experience for the customer as opposed to the views provided by standard 2-D images. 

Online Expertise 

Augmented reality allows for customers to access real-time training when faced with difficulties with a product or service. Customers can be supported in resolving the issue without having to consult a manual or get in contact with a professional. This reduces the number of returns and travel expenses that come with the selling of online products. 

Improved Service 

AR technology is perfect for innovating on old business processes. This creates the opportunity for customers to have quicker interactions with employees, and it improves employee’s communication with customers. 

Conclusion

This guide delved deep into the topic of AR technology giving rise to the natural question of what is in store for AR technology in the future? The honest answer is that no one can be one hundred percent certain, so it is up to you to make an informed projection. Hopefully, by reading this article you will be able to make a more educated decision regarding AR technology, its future, and how it relates to your business. However, it can always be a complex process to navigate, and that is why we are here to help. If you have any questions regarding AR technology contact us at designial.com. We will be more than happy to assist you.