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The New Reality is Augmented

“Augmented reality refers to any technology that ‘augments’ the user’s visual (and in some case auditory) perception of their environment. Typically, digital information is superimposed over a natural existing environment. Information is tailored to the user’s physical position as well as the context of the task, thereby helping the user to solve the problem and complete the task.”  The Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance

Augmented Reality on your phone

Market Watch reports that the augmented reality (AR) market is poised to grow by USD 76.99 billion during 2020-2024, progressing at a 32% CAGR during the forecast period.  What’s driving this growth, and how does augment reality (AR) fit into our everyday lives?

At its most basic level, augmented reality (AR) creates an immersive experience in which the real world is overlaid by digital information. It blends the physical with the digital and enhances natural environments by offering a new way of interacting with customers, colleagues, and the world around us. As businesses look for new ways to engage employees, customers, grow their brand, and provide a superior experience, augmented reality (AR) is being adopted by many industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.  

3 Ways Industries are Using Augmented Reality

Healthcare Industry

According to Market Research Future, Augmented Reality in healthcare could surpass a valuation of USD 1.32 billion by 2023. AR is used for patient and doctor education, surgical visualization, and disease simulation to enhance patient treatments and outcomes. An augmented reality (AR) application already in use creates a map of the patient’s body, showing the exact location of veins. The map helps medical staff more easily draw blood or insert an IV and make the process more comfortable.  Another AR application currently in use reconstructs tumors, allowing surgeons to view x-rays in real-time without exposing the patient to any radiation. 

Automotive Industry

The automotive industry uses augmented reality (AR) for heads-up displays that can project digital information and overlays directly in the driver’s line of sight. This heads-up display can provide GPS direction without the driver having to look down, deliver traffic alerts, and warn of hazards on the road.  Hyundai and Mercedes are leading the way in automotive AR and offer apps that highlight where certain components are on the vehicle in an effort to provide a more immersive maintenance manual and a more positive customer experience.

Retail Industry

Forward-thinking companies such as American Apparel, Lacoste, and even Sephora have designed and deployed virtual fitting rooms to provide consumers with a try before you buy experience. BRP reported 48% of consumers said they’d be more likely to buy from a retailer that provided these try before buying experiences created via AR. Given that less than 20% of retailers currently use Augmented Reality (AR), retail companies miss out on a great way to reach their consumers in an increasingly digital shopping world.

The Future of Work is Augmented

Augmented Reality (AR) continues to enable collaboration in a global and distributed workforce.  Since 2014, BMW designers and engineers have been using the augmented reality (AR) and the Unreal Engine to collaborate in real-time on vehicle design. PWC predicts that most companies will use augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) for training employees and meetings, affecting nearly 23.5 million jobs worldwide by 2030.

In 2016, Citibank worked with Microsoft to create a Citi HoloLens Holographic Workstation. The technology produces 3D holograms of real-time financial data that allows traders to review and sort through large amounts of data easier.

The Future of Augmented Reality (AR) Jobs

Gartner no longer includes Augmented Reality in the emerging technology category.  According to Gartner, augmented reality has matured so rapidly that it is no longer considered an “emerging technology.” In 2019, AR/VR Engineer jobs grew at a rate of 1,400%.  This explosive job growth is expected to continue. Other growing jobs include AR/VR Maintenance and Support, XR Gameplay and Tools Engineer, Augmented Reality (AR) Accountants and Finance, Product Managers with AR, and AR/VR Researchers.  An augmented world will continue to create augmented reality (AR) jobs.

Read more articles by Big Thinks Contributor Karyn Mullins

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