Aside from its novel appeal, AR can ready bridge the social distancing gap when applied to all manner of touchpoint interactions.

With the possibility of a lockdown never far away, augmented reality can help your organization in multiple ways.

Augmented Reality (AR), as distinct from virtual (non-real) reality, supplements part of a real environment with digital artefacts. Think of the view of a real room with real tables and objects, and then incorporate images into it using a computer software. In no time, that room can be turned into a training facility.

  • AR for saving lives
    For many years now, AR has in fact been used to train people to respond better to natural disasters like fires and earthquakes.

    For example, the biggest challenge for firefighters is to operate in pitch-black, smoke-filled rooms. In 2018, a wearable, augmented reality display mounted inside a standard firefighter’s mask called C-Thru was created. It works via a thermal camera attached to the fireman’s mask to capture the surroundings. Then the C-Thru’s computer processor adds green lines that highlight walls, door frames, or even a body lying on the floor. 

    In healthcare, minimally-invasive surgery used to be performed with mirrors in a risky procedure called laparoscopy. Augmented reality can now enable surgeons to view a hologram that helps them visualize a patient’s heart in much a better way during the procedure.

    According to a report from IDTEchEx, the pandemic “has put the spotlight on this hands-free, interactive technology, and it is unlikely that this focus will move for some time. There will be a need for this technology in many new use cases, which previously did not require hands-free, or remote capabilities.”
  • Augmented Reality for business resilience
    The technology can allow businesses to train employees during the pandemic in novel and effective ways to pivot along with their organization. It certainly beats old-style training where a trainer simply talks in front of a white board.

    Employees can either use their existing AR-compatible smartphones, or their organization can opt for more advanced gadgets like AR headsets. For remote-training, AR can enhance realism and absorption, making learning and collaboration easier even though the participants are not on site together. With geographical boundaries becoming things of the past, employees from around the world can work together to share ideas.

    On the business side of things, establishments can offer their products to customers with enhanced engagement and a richer experience using Augmented Reality. For example, fashion brand Rayban has offered an app enabling prospective buyers to see themselves wearing the available eyewear before ordering them. As far back as 2017, IKEA Place had provided an app that let clients measure virtual furniture for real-world fit. Also, Nike has used AR to scan customers’ feet to find the right shoe size.
  • AR market acceptance
    According to one study Statista, 63% of consumers polled believed AR will transform their shopping experience, while 61% indicated that they would prefer to make purchases on sites that offer AR technology. Also, 70% of consumers in their survey reported that they would be more loyal to brands incorporating AR as part of their shopping experience.

    As studies go, this is not definitive proof that markets elsewhere share the same sentiments. However, the appeal of technological novelty always goes well with digital natives, and these are a good segment for businesses to target at a time when many important tasks such as learning, working and playing have been relegated to the remote realm.

Whether you are in the healthcare industry, or offering products and services to consumers stuck at home or eager to try out new tech, AR has become a go-to tool at this time.