There is a fundamental disconnect between the wealth of digital data available to us and the physical world in which we apply it. While the real reality is three-dimensional, however, the rich data we now have to inform our decisions and actions remains entangled on the two-dimensional pages and screens. This bay between the actual and the digital worlds limits our capability to take advantage of the cascade of information and insights produced by billions of Smart Connected Products (SCPs) around the world.
In this blog, we represent what Augmented Reality, is an evolving technology, and a set of applications making it significant. Its importance will grow exponentially as Smart Connected Products (SCPs) proliferate because it intensifies their power to create value and reshape the competition. AR surely will become the new interface between humans and machines, whilst bridging the digital and physical worlds. While challenges in deploying it still remain, pioneering organizations, such as Amazon, Facebook, General Electric, Mayo Clinic, and the U.S. Navy, are already implementing Augmented Reality and seeing a major impact on quality and productivity.
AR will influence companies in every industry and many other types of organizations, from universities to social enterprises. In the coming time, Augmented Reality will transform how we learn, make decisions, and interact with the physical world itself. AR will also transform how corporations serve their clients, train employees, design and create products, manage their value chains, and, ultimately, how they compete.
Augmented reality is a collection of technologies that superimposes digital data and images on the physical world, guarantees to close this breach, and disengage the untapped and uniquely human capabilities. Though still in its initial stages Augmented Reality is self-insured to enter the mainstream.
Isolated applications of Augmented Reality have been around for decades, but only recently have the technologies required to unleash its potential become available. At the very core, AR transforms magnitudes of data and analytics into images or animations that are overlaid in the actual world. Today most AR applications are delivered through mobile devices, but increasingly delivery of AR applications will shift to hands-free wearables such as smart glasses or some sort of head-mounted displays. Though many people are familiar with simple AR entertainment applications, such as Snapchat filters and the game Pokémon Go, AR is being applied in far more substantial ways in both consumer and business-to-business settings. For example, AR “heads-up” displays that put navigation, collision warning, and other information directly in drivers’ line of sight are now available in dozens of car models. Wearable AR devices for factory workers that superimpose production-assembly or service instructions are being piloted at thousands of companies. AR is supplementing or replacing traditional manuals and training methods at an ever-faster pace.
More broadly, AR enables a new information-delivery paradigm, which we believe will have a profound impact on how data is structured, managed, and delivered on the internet. Though the web transformed how information is collected, transmitted, and accessed, it's model for data storage and delivery—pages on flat screens—has major limits: It requires people to mentally translate 2-D information for use in a 3-D world. That isn’t always easy, as anyone who has used a manual to fix an office copier knows. By superimposing digital information directly on real objects or environments, AR allows people to process the physical and digital simultaneously, eliminating the need to mentally bridge the two. That improves our ability to rapidly and accurately absorb information, make decisions, and execute required tasks quickly and efficiently.
Explore Augmented Reality
AR is making advancements in consumer markets, but its emerging impact on human performance is even greater in industrial environments. Consider how the Newport News Shipbuilding, which designs and builds U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, uses AR near the end of its manufacturing process to inspect a ship, marking for removal steel construction structures that are not part of the finished carrier. Historically, engineers had to constantly compare the actual ship with complex 2-D blueprints. But with Augmented Reality, they can now see the final design superimposed on the ship, which reduces inspection time by 96%—from 36 hours to just 90 minutes. Overall, time savings of 25% or more are typical for manufacturing tasks using AR.
Augmented Reality displays within cars are an explicit illustration of this. Until recently, drivers using GPS navigation had to look at a map on a flat screen and then figure out how to apply it in the real world. To take the correct exit from a busy rotary, for example, the driver needed to shift his or her gaze between the road and the screen and mentally connect the image on the map to the proper turnoff. AR heads-up displays lay navigational images directly over what the driver sees through the windshield. This reduces the mental effort of applying the information, prevents distraction, and minimizes driver error, freeing people to focus on the road.
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