How Augmented Reality is Finding Growth in An Unsuspected Market

Think back to January 2015; Google discontinued its futuristic Augmented Reality (AR) consumer device line Google Glass after noticeable backlash regarding public privacy concerns. However, since then Glass has found a new lease of life in the corporate world. In fact, Google Glass has an updated Enterprise Edition that is designed for big-name clients including Boeing, GE, and Volkswagen.

Where AR has failed to hit its stride from public resistance and concerns, it has found success in the enterprise market. Google Glass’s camera feature is one aspect where this difference in perception is clear. The same recording capability that causes anxiety amongst the public is seen as a significant opportunity to record and document a workflow or process. One of the noted examples – Boeing, plans to take advantage of AR capabilities that it believes will help it’s staff with it’s workflows. Boeing’s plan in particular allow for complicated processes related to aircraft maintenance to be recorded and documented from a first person perspective.

Keeping with the Boeing example, one could imagine how rendering virtual objects and information in front of the user in real-time would allow aircraft maintenance to be vastly improved as the eventual end-product can be view in real time. Instructions could be incorporated into a wearable-type product that would benefit users by providing both on-the-job directions and training. Boeing’s intended goal of these capabilities being to reduce user error. These use-cases could easily be applied to many other industries, such as manufacturing and transportation/automotives.

Despite public perceptions, Augmented Reality has progressed regardless. Another key player in tech, Apple, has indicated that its expansion into the space will only grow. As a testament to this, during its last developer conference, Apple released its own developer library named “ARKit”. ARKit intends to be a library available to iOS developers that allows for AR capabilities of the iPhone to be easily implemented into their applications. Apple then demonstrated this library by having an iPad display a number of items, a lizard, a coffee cup, and a jet, on top of a table shown through the camera in real time. As the device moved, the view of the AR items reacted accordingly – rotating and displaying its virtual 3D dimensions accordingly. And while the examples were primarily playful, one with business acumen could easily adopt these into business use cases like the ones mentioned earlier.

Comments from Apple’s CEO Tim Cook also provide a vocal affirmation that AR is of a growing market for Apple. Speaking with CNBC after its 2017 Q3 earning call, Tim remarked “with things like AR… I think it becomes even more essential than it currently is. I know it’s hard to believe, but I think that’s the case.” With these comments coming from Apple leadership, along with Apple’s recent developments with ARkit, one can see Apple entering the AR space in a big way.

Therefore, as both AR and VR technology matures, savvy Mobility Administrators should take advantage of this technology where applicable. Mobile Administrators would be one of the first resources to advocate introduction of AR Mobile Initiatives as tech giants roll out new products and features. This would especially benefit companies in markets such as manufacturing, medical tech, architectural design, and EMS Services.

So what does this mean for a Mobility Administrator? Simply put, Mobility Administrators need to be a focal point in AR projects. From an organizational and responsibilities aspect, introducing AR mean managing the purchase, deployment, support of the technology. The Mobile Administrator must also work with the organization to ensure a successful rollout. Perhaps the most challenging yet satisfying task is bringing the organization together for an AR effort as all hands would need to be on deck for the project to see a successful adoption. This process involves reaching out to the corporate workforce to list their tasks, and see how AR could improve their workflow. Mobility Administrators would also need to reaching out to management to discern budgetary guides and vision for the project in conjunction with the workforce. In essence, the keen Mobile Administrator can follow the same processes originally completed with the wide-scale adoption of mobile devices. In doing so, Mobile Administrators can hopefully emulated and repeat the success of Mobile Device deployments.

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