Enterprise augmented reality applications ready for prime time

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The rise of enterprise augmented reality applications

Thanks to the rise of smartphones, smart sensors and improved 3D graphics capabilities, experts see signs that AR’s time has finally come. Digi-Capital is projecting market revenues from augmented and virtual reality to hit $120 billion by 2020, with $90 billion of that number coming from AR deployments. According to a PWC report, AR is poised to break out as deskless workers increasingly require hands-free access to information, such as schematics, lists, instructions and charts, to perform their jobs, allowing an expert to guide a field technician, for example, in diagnosing problems and repairing equipment at a remote site.

For now, the vast majority of early enterprise augmented reality applications are in marketing, giving companies a fresh take on consumer campaigns or, more substantially, an opportunity to showcase products in a different way. Audi, for example, has experimented with an augmented reality application as an alternative to an owner’s manual, giving drivers a more intuitive way to explore all the features on their car. For its part, Microsoft demonstrated how its HoloLens augmented reality headset could be tapped to transform a traditional product catalog into life-size 3D models, enabling a salesperson to showcase a large-scale product like a Caterpillar forklift without having to see it in a physical showroom.

“Now a salesperson can go from having a brochure to a full-scale, 3D model that sits in someone’s office,” explained Jay Wright, president and general manager at Vuforia, the AR company now a part of PTC. “It becomes a valuable tool for selling consumer and industrial products.”