Did augmented reality fail to go mainstream?
It wasn’t that long ago that one of the largest search and smartphone operating system companies released an augmented reality (AR) device1 to the world. It was supposed to be as ubiquitous as a pair of glasses. However, for a variety of reasons, the product failed to achieve mainstream adoption.
You would think, this product’s shortcomings would have signaled the end of augmented reality. But, the opposite happened. While augmented reality, or AR, has been around in different applications for decades, it’s been underutilized. The technology industry now had a very good sense of what didn’t work. It’s the classic fail and pivot that makes Silicon Valley so great.
What’s Driving the Adoption of Augmented Reality?
In essence, augmented reality is simply the use of technology to superimpose information onto the real world (think of the GPS software that you used to navigate on your last road trip). As Ash Eldritch, CEO and Co-Founder of Vital Enterprises2, noted in a recent presentation at Bloomberg’s Value of Data conference sponsored by Western Digital, driving factors include:
- Continuous improvement – increase worker efficiency and safety, increase quality, and increase productivity
- Differentiate products and services – create immersive marketing, improve customer experiences
- Skill gap – accelerate on-the-job training, perform higher-skilled work
- Leveraging data – create data visualizations
During his speech, Ash showed the audience that AR is very much alive and well in the manufacturing space.
Hands-on, Augmented Reality Demo
Ash’s live demonstration to industry leaders (watch here) revealed that AR is seeing adoption in industrial applications such as assembly lines and machine setup or repair. A common example to see is an AR headset assists in the setup of a new machine by overlaying graphics or even step-by-step instructions in real-time, on the components being worked on. This is beneficial to companies in the industrial space because it addresses one of their key pain points: the gradual decline in qualified personnel (many of whom are retiring out of the workforce) who are not being replaced.
Yet, the applications of augmented reality don’t just end in manufacturing.
“It’s not just manufacturing. I mentioned oil and gas. We have a customer who is doing mining. There are all sorts of opportunities in healthcare… There’s opportunities for first responders… There’s many, many opportunities,” Ash Eldritch, CEO and Co-Founder of Vital Enterprises
Learn More about the Value of Data
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1. Google Glass. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Glass
2. Vital Enterprises. https://www.vital.enterprises/