When many folks think of augmented reality, they think of Pokemon Go, the game that captured the world’s attention when it came out in 2016. Augmented reality can be more than fun and games. It’s something that could help your clients run more efficient operations.

It’s important for you to understand the value proposition of advanced technologies that may be on the horizon for your clients. Augmented reality and mixed reality (a combination of augmented and virtual reality) can be a helpful adjunct.

Of course, the first impediment to that is the cost of equipment. If you want to buy a HoloLens 2, announced this week, it will set you back a cool $3500. For that price, you will get a lighter weight version than the original HoloLens, with a wider viewing range. With that price tag, not everyone is going to want to invest in this kind of equipment, no matter how cool the technology may be.

Luckily, there is a cheaper alternative. Much like the Pokemon Go game that only required a smartphone, some AR and MR applications can also work with a common smartphone, which would put it much more within reach of your clients. Just about everyone carries a smartphone, so it only requires an app that can help your clients perform a variety of tasks.

While the HoloLens and similar devices have the advantage of allowing employees to work hands-free, the cost of the device might be a limiting factor that would hold back companies from adopting the technology.

But what can it do?

Companies like Microsoft, Upskill, and RemoteAR have been developing mixed reality applications specifically designed for business use cases. One common use case involves an inexperienced field service employee out in the field, with a more experienced worker back at the office.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist with smartphone. Photo: Microsoft.

The experienced worker can see what the employee is seeing and can walk that person through the repair process, circling, or pointing to parts as they explain what needs to happen next. With a phone, the worker needs to hold it up, then put it down to perform the task, so it isn’t quite as efficient as a device on your face. However, it is a lot cheaper to use a smartphone app than an expensive headset.

Another example is a sales person using a smartphone or tablet to show customers what a car might look like with different colors, wheel covers, or furniture with different fabrics. You can project a three dimensional representation of the car or couch using a phone or tablet, and give a more realistic presentation of the different options.

While these are obviously specific use cases, the range of use cases will likely expand over time. The fact that you can use a common smartphone instead of investing in an expensive headset means your clients could be using this technology sooner than later. As such, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with it to help support clients should they make this move.

Photo: Courtesy of Microsoft

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Posted by Ron Miller

Ron Miller is a freelance technology reporter and blogger. He is contributing editor at EContent Magazine and enterprise reporter at TechCrunch.

One Comment

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    Nice article…AR is the way to go

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