Transform your Business with Augmented Reality to Take it to the Next Level

Andreas Haizmann, Senior Product Manager, TeamViewer

Andreas Haizmann, Senior Product Manager, TeamViewer

Have you considered using Augmented Reality (AR) for your business? It’s a concept that is no longer as foreign as it once was in the past. Although not always fully understood, this computer-aided augmentation of real-world environments is creating value in industries across the world.

What some may not realise is just how long AR has been in development and how far this technology approach has come since the 1960s. However, it wasn’t until 2012, when Google announced its Google Glass that AR really started making headlines By 2016, thanks to the extremely popular Pokémon Go smartphone game, AR was availablefor the mass market.

But AR is not the only immersive technology out there, with VR and MR also making claim to this space. So where is the difference in these technologies?

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thereby providing enlightening visual clarifications to real-world environments.

Virtual Reality (VR) gives users a complete immersive experience by shutting out the physical world and simulating real-world environments.

Mixed Reality (MR) is an experience that combines both AR and VR, bringing digital objects into real-world environments. This is a term commonly coined by Microsoft, to distinguish their glasses against competitors that focus on AR.

Unleashing the Potential of AR in Every Possible Field

Be it for training, maintenance or service, AR is revolutionising and facilitating how people communicate, interact and work with each other.

Marketing and retail are exemplary fields where exciting leaps forward have been made. Developments have focused on the consumer, enabling them to visualise and test new outfits or clothing via smart mirrors or apps on their phones, without physically trying them on. Even in furniture shopping, consumers can visualise how a piece of furniture would “virtually” fit a designated space before purchasing the item. With the decline of stores on the high street, these AR applications offer new ways through which retailers can entice customers and satisfy their desire for fast-paced and innovative shopping experiences.

Training and education are both areas that also highly profit from the developments in AR. Junior doctors can see a map of a patient’s veins on the skin itself with realistic imagery. A car manufacturer, for example, doesn’t have to fly in technicians for training on a new engine; instead the technicians can have a virtual training with overlaying information on the actual engine.

In maintenance, repair, and service, we will probably see the biggest improvements in AR. With machines, products and technologies getting more complex, there is a growing need to empower workers with immediate assistance and on-demand knowledge to install, maintain or fix things. A machinery manufacturer can remotely assist a field service mechanic to install a heavy industrial machinery at customer site. A Telco company can assist customers in setting up and fixing issues with WIFI routers. Repair services can remotely receive visuals of a broken device or damage to e.g. order the right spare parts. The examples are endless.

With the lack of skilled workers being an issue, companies need use their experts as efficiently as possible, without having them on the road most of the times. With AR, it simply means less skilled workers or more generalists can get remote assistance from experts just when it is needed.

Outstanding customer service is now more important than ever. Companies must ensure that their customers get instant support when needed. It is essential to guide and assist them in resolving problems or getting a clear picture of the damage at a precise moment to avoid time-consuming onsite visits.

It is mind-blowing how much time can be saved through such AR deployments. Issues can be fixed quickly and effectively, which increases customer satisfaction and ensures minimum disruption to both the business and the user.

Travel spending can be reduced or even eradicated by replaying onsite visits with remote expert help for service technicians and customers. By using AR, expert knowledge in the company can be shared across geographical boundaries instantly.

Putting AR into Practice

TeamViewer Pilot is an example of how AR can bring tangible benefits to businesses across industries, with live annotation and a collaborative video experience enabling users to solve all kinds of problems.

By connecting to colleagues’ or customers’ device, through their smartphone camera, you can immediately observe any kind of equipment, machinery, infrastructure issue etc., and guide the user to a resolution. With the ability to draw free-hand on the screen onto real-world objects in real-time and allowing them to explain clearly what needs to be done.

There are obvious benefits—be it for an IT team needing to set up a new router or talking a customer through a problem with their car or helping them make a buying decision or guiding an engineer to fix a problem with factory machinery.

The possibilities of AR are almost endless. Be it in health, retail, manufacturing, real estate, insurance, education, collaboration or even tourism etc., AR enables a higher level of support and its possible ways of implementation are far from being exhausted.

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