Guest Post by Y Media Labs
This is a guest post from Rae Steinbach at Y Media Labs, an award-winning mobile strategy and application development company based in Silicon Valley. The topic, augmented reality (AR), is of particular interest to me both personally and professionally. I have written about use cases for augmented reality in logistics here, and Y Media Labs has actually developed an AR drone flight simulator app in partnership with Drone Company DJI and Epson. These guys are really plugged into the future of AR - I hope you enjoy.
When most people think about augmented reality, they probably think about games like Pokémon Go. While games are one of the uses for this technology, there is much more potential to be had with AR development. In the future, AR is going to transform mobile web app development completely, and change the way we shop, improve the results of medical procedures, and have a massive impact on things like design and city management.
With some of the developments that already exist, we can start to see many of these changes taking place. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that Augmented Reality is going to change our lives in the future.
Changing the Way We Use Smartphones
The first way that people are going to notice AR changing their lives is that it is going to be used to improve things that we already do. Smartphones have already transformed our daily lives, but with developments in AR we are going to see these devices start to play an even more important role in a wide range of everyday activities.
There’s already some encouraging news about investors putting billions of dollars into AR mobile web app development. We also see tech giants like Facebook, Google and Apple embracing augmented reality as a big part of the future. With things like Facebook’s AR Studio and Apple’s ARKit, the development of AR technology is already taking off, and we can expect to see some new and inventive mobile offerings in the near future.
When thinking about the future of mobile AR web apps, consider those that you can point your phone camera at an item in the store, and you can get all of the details of the product. If you are in an art museum, your smartphone could be your guide. Have a problem with your car? You could use your phone to help diagnose and solve the problem.
The Gamification of Work
At present, games represent some of the most successful applications of AR. Recognizing the success of these games, and the way that augmented reality increases user engagement, employers are going to start integrating some of these features into the work experience for their employees.
Imagine a job that operates in a way that is similar to a game. Employees work, and as they perform the normal duties of their job, they have points, scores and rewards. Much in the same way that this can get a player more engaged and invested in a game, these tactics could keep employees motivated and dedicated to their work.
An employer could create digital elements that integrate with the work environment of their employees. The system could award them points for achieving different goals, and there could be real-world rewards for being a top performer.
The Augmented Shopping Experience
Augmented reality technology is going to have a major impact on the way consumers shop. This is going to affect the way that we shop both offline and online. Shoppers will be able to test and examine virtual representations of products, and have new ways to make the shopping experience more efficient. Essentially, AR will allow for a more personalized shopping experience.
Think about shopping for furniture online and being able to see what it would look like in your living room through the lens of your smartphone camera. Online clothing stores can develop AR mirrors that offer the shopper an opportunity to see how they look in an item that they are thinking about buying. You’ll be able to customize items and see what they look like in real space, and you will be able to interact with these items and have a representation of what it would be like to own.
For the in store experience, you will find things like overlays that tell you where different items are in the store. You could also check to see how busy a store is before going in.
The Future of Design
With AR, designers will be able to go from sketches and 3D models of the products that they are designing to being able to see them in a lifelike rendering directly in front of them.
You’ll have car designers that can actually sit in a representation of the car before they finish the design process. They will be able to see what the car looks like in a realistic representation. AR will give them the ability to refine designs in a way that is much more efficient. This will lead to better-quality designs and a production process that is less expensive.
The influence of AR in design goes well beyond designing automobiles. Designers will be able to create better machines for industrial applications. When they go to build a home, a designer will be able to show what it is going to look like at the end of construction before hammering the first nail.
Safer Work Environments
Some people have to work in conditions that are potentially hazardous. Whether it is the mining of natural resources or people working with heavy machinery in fields like agriculture or manufacturing, these are jobs that have to be done. With augmented reality, these industries can be made safer and more efficient.
A good example of this is the smart helmet from the professional grade AR developer DAQRI. The helmet has an Intel processor and uses a range of sensors to provide environmental feedback to the wearer. It can be used to warn of dangerous conditions, provide instructions, and it can allow an offsite team member to view whatever the wearer is seeing.
City planning and management is complex; you have things like traffic patterns, commercial and residential development, and the training of city employees. In the future, AR will work to make all of this more efficient and more effective.
Cities will train firefighters and police officers using AR. Communities will be better equipped to deal with natural disasters and environmental catastrophes with AR simulations prior to infrastructure construction. Additionally, city officials could plan for better and more efficient roads by seeing the impact of development before the project starts.
AR in Healthcare
Augmented reality is going to help doctors and hospitals provide more effective care, and it is going to be able to improve results in emergency situations. Everyone from doctors to nurses and emergency personnel will use augmented reality to assist with care.
Doctors will be able to see the structures of the body without having to make a cut. This will help medical technicians as they administer care and could be used by patients as they rehabilitate from injury.
In emergency situations, AR could be used to provide a person with real-time instructions on how to perform vital first aid. Or think of a woman that is in labor with not enough time to make it to the hospital: AR could help a person that is on the scene by providing instruction on how to safely deliver the baby.
AR technology is progressing quickly, and we are going to find it moving into more areas of our lives outside of our just our smartphones. We’ll still have entertaining AR games, but this tech is also going to go from something that we occasionally use for entertainment to being an indispensable part of everyday life.
Rae Steinbach is a freelance editor with Y Media Labs, a full service digital agency on a mission to help our clients see what they cannot see themselves, and create incredible digital user experiences. We work alongside elite brands to uncover what we believe to be simple truths and most importantly, show them how an amazing experience can revolutionize the way they interact with their customers.