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09 Apr 2021

5 Ways Businesses and Consumers Can Benefit From AR in 2021

Augmented Reality (AR), like any other technology is following its own path of development, with 2020 bringing disruptions in every direction of its evolution. We’ve seen many changes dictated by our current realities as well as advancements driven by AR tech innovators. 2020 has brought us Nreal AR smart glasses, Apple new series of iPhones enhanced with LiDAR, Nintendo live AR incorporation into the all-time classic Mario Kart, and much more. It is time to admit it, Augmented Reality is taking every aspect of our world by storm, morphing more and more into a technology of mass consumption, and giving a powerful technological boost to both businesses and individuals.

One could hear the buzz about integrating this immersive technology coming from practically every channel, starting from Forbes to New York Times or even Facebook Newsfeed. What began as a series of disruptive technological advancements, still continues in 2021. In early March we saw what seemed to be an unofficial announcement of Magic Leap's next AR headset, as well as major players like Facebook and Snapchat sharing their plans to each launch a pair of smart glasses in late 2021. What’s more is, several sources circulating the news of Apple announcing their ambition to launch their first AR headset in 2022.

Today, Augmented Reality is on the doorstep of becoming the technology of mass outreach. With that being said, it is still fairly easy to get lost within the rapid AR advancement, trying to understand the best way to benefit from its implementation. We have taken a moment to evaluate 5 ways businesses and consumers can benefit from AR implementation in 2021.

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AR Enhanced Healthcare

Healthcare is one of the fields that can benefit greatly from technological innovation. AR here can contribute significantly, not just in terms of reskilling & upskilling, but through enhancement of diagnostics and procedures. AR can serve as the sophisticated tool to provide patients with more visual information regarding the stages and processes, which becomes especially helpful when speaking of complex or aesthetic procedures. 

With increasingly more tools and equipment becoming available for healthcare professionals, Augmented Reality can serve as a powerful guided assistant to help manage and navigate new systems. AR Apps can be used for condition screening, reminders, equipment training and navigation, allowing to simplify routine tasks, opening possibilities to concentrate more on primary functions and improvements. 

In addition to that, smart AR glasses like Nreal and Vuzix Blade can be used both before and during the procedure, helping visualize data, overlay patients with guiding visuals enhancements or even serve to attract attention to changes in condition indicators. When coming to healthcare, AR integration can increasingly improve performance, helping bring the industry to a completely new level of technological advancement.

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AR Enhanced Remote Education

2021 continues to be a year of remote learning with educational institutions, enterprise trainings and courses remaining in online environments. Now more than ever, it is essential to find ways to make processes as interactive, immersive and accessible as possible. 

And this is where AR has a major advantage over other immersive technologies, allowing to create safe and remote experience, users only need a mobile device, tablet or laptop to interact with. These capabilities can be used for both educational institutions and enterprise trainings. AR allows to 3D animate and visualize objects and concepts, making them available on a variety of displays using either custom AR Apps or WebAR solutions. 

Even though users have no opportunity to be physically present, the possibility to observe, rotate and visualize an object or concept, in real time, allows users to build stronger understanding of the educational materials. Nevertheless, let's not forget about the reskilling and upskilling opportunities enterprises can explore with wearable AR glasses like Nreal and Vuzix Blade, that allow to enhance reality with digital overlays in real-time.    

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AR Enhanced Navigation

When we think of navigation, the first thing that could come to mind is the simple need to get from one location to the other. Considering how accurate GPS and digital maps have proven to be over the past decade, one might wonder what navigation has even have to do with AR. Augmented Reality has gone a long way of technical development to become the ultimate tool of diverse enhancement. We can see increasing numbers of global giants like Mercedes Benz with MBUX AR enriched navigation, Google with object and location recognition AR Lens or even Apple with AR location recognition ARGeoAnchor, adapting this technology to help enhance different sides of user's navigation processes. 

AR continues its integration far beyond our mobile devices, coming to vehicle screens and surface displays that can be used to help people navigate and find locations or even objects they were looking for. With progressively more tech leaders integrating AR capabilities into their devices and products, we are bound to find ourselves more and more within augmented reality. Looking forward, AR could begin assisting us with managing the complexity of our everyday lives, helping take care of routine tasks. 

As we gradually move towards using more wearable devices, using AR glasses for daily activities is no longer a dream. Its inevitable realization is being brought forward by major enterprises like Apple, Google and Microsoft, who are racing to deliver the best wearable AR enhanced device, for everyday use, as early as at the end of 2021.

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AR Enhanced Automotive Industry

Without doubt navigation is one of the aspects automotive industry can benefit from in terms of AR. However, if we speak about the industry in general, AR is the technology of outstanding potential. It can contribute greatly to advancement, design, cost reduction and even enhance end consumer experience. 

Augmented Reality incorporation allows for more efficient vehicle model and design processes, giving all stakeholders working with 3D visualizations a better understanding of concept. This enables the decision-making process to be more flexible and efficient. Using either custom AR Apps or AR smart glasses allows specialists to work with digital overlays, communicating and operating in a real-time enhanced space. 

On the other hand, looking from the consumer experience perspective, there is still plenty of room for technological infusion for the automotive industry. With today's realities, it has become essential to maintain social distance and limit the number of social interactions. One can imagine purchasing parts but, hardly, an entire vehicle online. It seems unimaginable, at least for now. If you think about it, AR is the technology that allows you to “try-on” virtually anything, so what is stopping in from a more extensive integration? Practically, only imagination itself, AR can be utilized for anything from remotely selecting vehicle modifications to placing an interactive life-size model one can explore through the screen of their device, without leaving the comfort of their home.    

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AR Enhanced Commerce

Safety still remains as the number one priority when it comes to in-store consumer interactions. Shopping experiences had to rapidly adapt to the online environment, exposing the issue with decision making arising from uncertainty. Without the possibility to evaluate an item, see and observe it as a dimensional physical object, shopping become more of a gambling process for many. 

It is no news, that in the past decade major corporations like Ikea, Amazon and Sephora, have launched their own AR apps with the goal to enhance and enrich experiences for their customers. Try-on AR apps are without doubt a great tool to help customers with decision making, however if we think a bit further into the shopping experience, AR can go beyond just items demonstration.

Mobile device accessibility allows to bring AR technology to every consumer without the need to make a separate app. This can, indeed, be used to truly enhance shopping experiences, with information displays that help consumers navigate safely and with minimum interactions. Like e-commerce, AR can be used in brick-and-mortar locations to give stores and users an opportunity to use technology as a safe alternative to touching and trying items on.  

Without doubt, AR is the tool that will take industries by storm. With consumers already using mobile experiences it is only a matter of time until wearable AR devices become an essential part of our everyday lives. During the times of pandemic, it is all about making every interaction immersive, meaningful and most importantly safe, as well as helping businesses and consumers stay connected, even if remotely.

Authors: Alex Dzyuba, Lucid Reality Labs Founder & CEO | Anna Rohi, Lucid Reality Labs Senior Marketing & Communications Manager