With its limitless potential, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) is adding a new dimension to various markets in the enterprise. Statistics show that more than 150 companies in multiple verticals, including 52 of the Fortune 500, are testing or have deployed AR/VR solutions. Despite this, AR/VR is still heavily associated with the gaming and entertainment industry, as a form of escapism. Findings show that consumers only become aware of this technology through gaming applications, not realizing their full potential in the enterprise. With market research projecting that the combined AR and VR markets are set to grow up to $150 billion by 2020, it is important that businesses start brainstorming ways to implement this technology to enhance their business-critical operations.
AR/VR in the enterprise
From consumers demanding an effortless shopping experience to increasing worker productivity and accuracy, AR/VR presents an opportunity for businesses to improve their workflow and streamline their operations.
According to a recent SOTI North American retail survey, consumers want a shopping experience that is both seamless and catered to their personal preferences. In the survey, 76% of respondents indicated that retailers that deploy more mobile technology enable a quicker shopping experience, an increase from 67% last year. Additionally, 73% of respondents were in favour of self-service technologies to improve their shopping experience. These demands are enabling retailers to create virtual experiences using AR/VR, to better serve the needs of their customers. For example, Sephora’s Virtual Artist app lets users try on various shades of makeup by projecting the product onto an image of their face. This allows the consumer to visualize and tailor the product to fit their needs.
There are multiple advantages to using AR/VR technology in the healthcare space, especially when it comes to education and training. Trainees can be placed in an immersive environment where they are able to perform surgeries and practice procedures. The use of technology in this way is beneficial because organizations are given the ability to train staff at a lower cost, with reduced risk and less resources used. Using wearables, nurses and physicians could also interact and be able to pull up relevant data on patients more efficiently. For example, in a SOTI Case Study on St Ives Home Care, workers are required to travel across Australia to provide personalized in-home care and support. With wearable technology they could reduce their travel time and improve customer service with ease-of-access to the data they need. Data directly sent to the network would also provide insights into worker location and allow workers to update their patients with accurate arrival times.
AR/VR headsets can increase productivity and accuracy on the job. Workers can perform tasks such as maintenance while also having access to hands-free information. These headsets can be used to help troubleshoot issues in the field and enable collaboration. By connecting to the headsets, experts could see exactly what the technicians are seeing, even from vast distances, transforming into virtual coaches when needed. When dealing directly with clients, these tools can increase customer satisfaction by improving first-time resolution on service calls. In the future AR/VR could even eliminate service calls altogether by allowing workers to take a virtual form instantly to help the customer fix minor issues.
Transportation and Logistics (T&L)
AR/VR wearables in T&L can streamline operations and reduce costs. By superimposing holographic images and directions onto the real world, AR/VR technology can greatly decrease the strain placed on employees, thus increasing worker productivity. For example, the technology could locate and verify the correct product in a matter of seconds, eliminating the need to manually search the warehouse. When it comes to training, employers can use fewer resources by implementing AR devices to help educate employees in the field, where they can access information to be able to perform a specific task in the correct way. In addition to this, wearables or mobile apps utilizing AR/VR technology could be used to provide information to employees delivering goods by giving them access to data about the type and weight of each package, and how fragile they are. This data would ensure the proper placement of goods in the vehicle while considering routes and environmental factors during transportation. For example, in 2016, German logistics company DHL began to test mobile AR systems by implementing the Vision Picking Program.
Will the virtual become a reality?
The trajectory of AR/VR in the enterprise is promising. Ideas such as Holoportation, where you and other members of your team are occupying virtual spaces regardless of location in a collaborative shared room, has vast implications for unified communications. However, there are still many challenges along the way when it comes to bringing this technology to the online space. Current products on the market only address a small audience of consumers interested in activities such as gaming. What this means is that organizations need to start making a meaningful connection between AR/VR and the applications they have in the enterprise.
How SOTI fits in
SOTI is taking notice of the capabilities that AR/VR can bring to multiple verticals in the industry. Partnering with Lenovo, SOTI is one of the first Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) leaders to manage the Mirage Solo VR headset. Alongside the Starlight Children’s Foundation, the team is using this technology to not only entertain, but also educate and inspire hospitalized children through immersive experiences.
As the use cases for AR/VR in the enterprise begin to increase it is important to ensure a seamless transition. Not only that, but with data breaches on the rise finding a vendor that will manage and secure all information is necessary. From consumers demanding experiences tailored to their needs to saving time and resources, AR/VR is the essential next step in the evolution of business-critical operations.