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Augmented reality poised to leave a mark on IT

Arthur Nichols, a systems analyst | March 15, 2013
Is it possible AR could become a fifth component of the nexus?

However, if many people used this, the amount of data generated would be astounding. The development of big data capabilities over the next decade predicted by IT researchers will play an important role in these grand-scale AR projects as providers seek to store increasingly data-rich media from the input. On the back end, the size of the database required to provide relevant information in enough contexts for AR overlays to have mass appeal, will not be modest. Image recognition for something as simple as a company logo on the Web requires scanning through petabytes of data. Already requiring several petabytes, AR endeavors like Google Glass could quickly push storage requirements into the next few data measurement units -- exabytes, zettabytes or even yottabytes.

Google is not the only contender in AR, though. Other companies are looking at ways to integrate AR by utilizing cloud and social technology. For example, NEC Biglobe and Vuzix teamed up to develop AR glasses focused on recognizing people's faces and pairing the information up with their Facebook and Twitter accounts. AR applications in social technology like this will appeal to the masses, but businesses will also likely find interest as they increasingly utilize less public social technologies such as Salesforce's Chatter.

It may be too early to say how large a role AR will play in the next few years, but tools that can boost profits are bound for success. AR developers are certainly keeping big business in mind.


As AR develops, the most visible utilization will be in commerce. AR can facilitate a 3D view of a product traditionally advertised in 2D. Lego has already been using AR to allow people to get a preview of what is inside the boxes on shelves. Several other retailers are also looking at ways to integrate AR content into catalogues and magazines.

Retailers may also use AR to supplement what customers see in their stores with additional online options. Details and specifications for products can also be made readily available through AR.

In the office, AR could be used to increase the effectiveness of collaborative efforts by allowing teams to meet in person or virtually while viewing and manipulating a single set of data. Companies like Gravity Jack have already developed an indoor AR office. If this could be accessed via the cloud, it could potentially bring the bring your own device (BYOD) revolution to an entirely new level.

Augmented reality business cards are also becoming more common as people find it an engaging and more useful way to share business information (the amount of information you can make available this way is vastly greater). An AR business card has an image that, when read by a mobile device with a camera, can display everything from a headshot to a resume, LinkedIn account information, personalized video, etc. 


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