Augmented Reality has been around for over 50 years. Ivan Sutherland, a computer scientist at Harvard developed the technology in 1968.
Since then multiple industries have used AR to improve their products, services, and solutions. From military to aviation and universities to corporates AR has rapidly increased the use of the technology.
In this article, augmented reality and its applications, as well as benefits, will be discussed. It is not just merely computer-generated images anymore, but the practical usage of AR in business is the reason it is still relevant 50 years after its development.
Here are 13 Augmented Reality applications and the benefit it has over the business:
The term ‘SAVED’ stands for Smoke Assured Vision Enhanced Display. It is an oxygen mask with smart glasses. FedEx and Osterhout Design Group came up with this idea to help pilots land in case of emergencies.
The oxygen mask serves its purpose and the hybrid glass will help pilots by providing data from the plane’s HUD and external cameras. This will reduce the risk of pilots flying blind and avoid crash landings.
The US Military has always benefitted from emerging technologies that would help them enhance their combat and military skills. The major way US Army has benefitted from AR applications are as follows:
- Tactical Augmented Reality:
TAR are night-vision goggles that help soldiers locate the positions of their allies and enemies. It is a wearable device that avoids handheld GPS devices.
TAR has benefitted the army by enhancing a soldier’s combat skills and judgment. It also avoids the hassle of soldiers working with multiple devices.
- HUD 3.0
HUD is a helmet-mounted augmented reality display used for aiming practice, navigation skills, and virtual training.
The head-up display would enable soldiers to participate in practical training scenarios. Troops in training shall use the device to practice with virtual enemies that would react realistically.HUD 3.0 is still under field tests as they want the device to be lightweight, compact, and customizable.
- Synthetic Training EnvironmentLessons a soldier learns in training is very basic compared to the scenarios that they may have to face in real life. It is important for a soldier to remain level-headed at the time of stressful situations.AR systems like the STE help prepare the soldiers physically and mentally for demanding operations and tasks. With STE, high-level military officials aim to segregate soldiers according to their tactical skills and scores.
Manchester City the football club announced its immersive tour of the stadium for fans. To celebrate their 125th club anniversary, fans would be able to experience the rich history of the club.
The tour includes 3D holographic content, AR, and a 360-degree cinema screen – the first ever seen in Premier League. Augmented Reality allows fans to “sit next to” Pep Guardiola and even “interact” with the club’s manager.
Omar Berada, COO commented, “We’re delighted to have created a tour that brings together physical artifacts and technology for the first time, giving our fans an opportunity to immerse themselves with the Manchester City story in a unique way. We hope that it will make for an unforgettable experience.”
Google Pixel introduced its AR stickers to promote the movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Google already had introduced this tech in its pixel line.
This activity helped the movie as well as the TV series to reach the right set of audiences.
Promoting the Star Wars installment as well as the series Stranger Things, the AR stickers started replacing normal emojis. Soon it was introduced to Android 8.1 users.
Since its launch, the stickers are now called “Playmojis”. With Augmented Reality applications on the phone, Google has transformed the lives of not only Android but also iPhone users.
IKEA introduced its future-living, augmented reality application in 2017. The mobile application enabled users and buyers to view pieces of furniture in their houses.
IKEA has a lot of experience in creating 3D models and making them appear as real as possible. Hence with this app, the company took another step forward to help its customers decide what’s best for their homes.
IKEA Place powered the application of augmented reality in shopping. The app has helped not only its customers but also it has paved the way for other companies in the retail sector to adopt augmented reality.
Sephora’s Virtual Artist application enables users to upload their pictures and with the help of AR, they can choose the products most suitable for them.
The beauty app has helped Sephora boost online sales and improve customer experiences. Users can use the app from the comfort of their homes and view the products virtually without the hassle of dealing with a salesperson.
Gucci launched its refreshed iOS app that allowed its customers to virtually try on their Ace sneaker collection. The customer would pick the Ace sneaker of their choice and the app using AR technology and point the camera at their feet.
The app allowed them to “wear” the shoes and upload the pictures on social media platforms. This stood as a major promotion for the product line and helped with the online sales.
Pokemon Go was Nintendo’s second mobile game that was released. The app took users by a storm.
The game was simple, people with the application could collect pokemon, common, rare, and powerful. Pokemon was already a popular Japanese cartoon with unique characters.
With augmented reality, the gaming application would allow users to view the pokemon on their phones in the setting that they would play. This unique aspect gained more users who were mesmerized by the technology.
The gaming app broke multiple records, on both Android and iPhone standards. In fact, within the 7 days of its release, it gained over 20 million active users. The app earned with the help of in-app purchases.
The way it helped brands was that it would send people to different locations to collect Pokemons. Then the brands involved would advertise their products to the user within a set location and attract them to a nearby outlet.
Toyota has always been a market leader when it comes to using emerging technology to showcase their automobiles. Toyota introduced its Augmented Reality vehicle demo for its customers.
The AR experience brings virtual experience to consumers without downloading any additional applications. With 3D and AR technology, it will model the exteriors of various cars.
The customer can then place the AR vehicle in any set of environments. Toyota’s initiative has already begun transforming the automotive industry.
AR is not only used for advertising and promoting vehicles but also in design and development applications.
It is a boon to clinicians to help find a patient’s vein in order to draw blood for various tests. Accuvein uses a laser-based scanner, processing system, and digital laser projection in a handheld device.
The device then uses a virtual real-time image and highlights the vein on the surface of the skin. This improves the quality of treatment as well as helps in the delivery of care during critical medical situations.
AccuVein has proved to refine the process of drawing blood or finding a patient’s vein. The first stick’s success rates by 3.5 times more and there is a 45 % reduction in the call for assistance.
The Weather Channel is notorious to use AR to showcase weather reports and different effects. Showcasing the reports from different places and their conditions creates more engagement and awareness amongst users.
The Weather Channel has partnered with Future Group and Mo-sys utilizes StarTracker in broadcasting real-life climate events. The informational graphics of the report and events help create a dramatic effect.
According to Mike Chesterfield, Director of The Weather Channel’s Presentations, “Utilizing The Future Group’s Frontier powered by Unreal, combined with the dynamic power of the Mo-Sys camera tracking system, has already allowed us to take the limits off of how we tell weather stories. Having the ability to create hyper-realistic environments through Unreal enables the viewer to easily imagine themselves in just about any weather situation we are trying to portray.”
Wiring worries regarding the Boeing 737 were solved by the application of augmented reality. It took weeks for them to assess the wiring issue with the 737 planes.
Boeing then submitted an initial recommendation to the FAA to solve the problem. They use an AR solution to help technicians see the wiring of the planes.
The technician receives instructions from engineers to help them work on the issue. The AR-based solution Skylight works with voice commands to help the technicians and directs them to solve the issues.
Pepsi had set out to create an interactive promotion to share their brand’s message, “Live For Now”. The campaign created an impactful marketing experience using augmented reality.
The campaign took place at London’s New Oxford street bus stop. People at the bus stop saw tentacles rising from sewers to a meteorite crashing into the glass, to UFOs and giant robots stomping the streets.
The graphics were all part of the advertisement created with augmented reality technology.
The campaign was a unique and instant success gaining 8 million views on Youtube. The first 3 million views mark was reached within the first 5 days.
The sales for Pepsi MAX were up 35 % when the campaign was live.
Augmented Reality applications have improved and enhanced multiple industries and benefited businesses. The market for augmented reality is estimated to grow from USD 10.7 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach around USD 72.7 billion by 2024.