The technological landscape is continually evolving, giving birth to innovations that are rapidly transforming our lives for the better. Augmented Reality (AR) is one such technological marvels that hold massive potential to transform both human experiences and business operations.

While most of us have heard about Virtual Reality (VR) tech that creates and transports us to a virtual surrounding, Augmented Reality is a little different from VR. Augmented reality creates a totally new kind of environment using everyday devices such as smartphones or tablets, thereby blurring the lines between the physical and the virtual world. To be precise, AR enhances the real world environment around us by incorporating virtual objects within the real environment.

Augmented reality is predicted to be a crucial driver for both tech and business. Estimates suggest that by 2021, AR will become $215 billion industry, with the total market revenue growing at an estimated CAGR of 73%. According to industry experts and analysts, a major share of the revenue will accrue to gaming, healthcare, education, and retail industries. So, it is safe to assume that augmented reality for businesses is going to be the next big thing.

Today, businesses have already started leveraging AR technology. Here’s how:

Object Visualization for Enhanced Shopping Experience

Both online and offline retailers can create an enhanced shopping experience for their consumers simply by converting a smartphone or a tablet into an AR platform. This way retailers can create a 3D shop that is the virtual replica of a conventional shopping outlet. By merging the virtual and the real, consumers can interact with 3D models of products as if they are physical objects in the real world. Thus, it offers a consumer a much better sense of the finished product.

Enhanced Training

AR can be excellent for training and education purposes. Using AR, a student or a trainee can grasp concepts much more elaborately unlike the real world scenario. According to Brian Blau, a Gartner research director, with AR, “You can practice it over and over again. You can use it in educational situations where you want to learn something or enhance a particular skill.” Training with AR offers an all-comprehensive and multi-sensory experience that can be more effective than conventional training methods.

Improved Customer Service

 AR can significantly improve the overall customer experience and customer service, especially for retail outlets. For instance, a salesperson at a makeup counter could help a customer see what she would look like wearing a particular shade of lipstick/eyeshadow using AR glasses. Not only can the consumer see which makeup product and shade would suit her best, but she would also be guided through AR technology on the ways to apply different makeup products. Thus, the customer is bound to go home satisfied.

Repair and Maintenance

With AR technology it is now possible for us to detect problems with specific products and repair them using the stepwise guidance of AR overlays. For instance, in 2015, Hyundai launched an AR owner’s manual with which customers could get any information about the features, repair, and maintenance of Hyundai automobiles. This not only eliminates the need to run to the mechanic or customer service center while also reducing maintenance costs.

AR is still evolving and experiments continue to be made to discover new ways to harness the potential of this exciting technology. As technology advances, maybe we’ll find AR penetrating many other aspects of our lives.

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