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Augmented reality: What do businesses need to know?

Colin Neagle | March 14, 2013
The technology has been around for quite some time, but like so many other fringe smartphone features, augmented reality has yet to present itself as a must-have for consumers.

Beyond marketing, augmented reality is also a proven tool for businesses looking to improve internal processes and customer service. Mitsubishi Electric offers augmented reality for visualizing its heating and cooling products, which was particularly useful for walking customers through installation and maintenance processes. Similarly, NGRAIN 3D built an AR app for training on industrial parts and equipment, so students wouldn't need to look at manuals while assembling or repairing an object.

A few considerations need to be made before diving into an AR project, for both external and internal purposes. Legal and regulatory compatibility will need to be addressed if the technology is to reach its full potential, Lord says.

"Of course, there's a lot of liability that has to be discussed or dealt with at some point in time. But I think a lot of it has to do with it being a new technology," he says. "As people get more used to the technology and understand it, I think we're going to see that liability disappear. Or we're just going to see disclaimers like 'caution: coffee is hot,' on every smartphone that says 'caution: this is not reality that you're seeing.'"

But once consumers are comfortable with the concept of augmented reality, businesses will be able to communicate with their customers and employees in a way that was never before possible, Lord says.

"I think there's an undeniable psychological effect when you see something in 3D, in real life, versus when you're just looking at a picture of it," he says.

 

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