Augmented (Not Virtual) Reality and Service
I recently came across an interesting article in the Australian Business Review Weekly titled “Sight Unseen”; the topic of the article was Augmented Reality and how it would affect daily life.
Augmented Reality: The basic concept of augmented reality* (AR) is to superimpose graphics, audio and other sense enhancements over a real-world environment in real-time. An example of augmented reality is the technology behind heads-up displays (HUD) that has been providing fighter pilots with information about altitude, airspeed, weaponry since the 1960s. Nowadays, HUD technology can also be found in commercial aircraft and cars.The future of augmented reality might be wearing translucent goggles through which you can see the real world, as well as computer-generated images projected on top of that world.
Please note: augmented reality is not virtual reality; virtual reality is an artificial electronic environment that creates a sensory experience that allows a participant to believe and barely distinguish a virtual experience from a real one.
As I was reading the article, I kept thinking how augmented reality can be applied within the service industry. Here are some of the scenarios:
- A telecommunication technician can enter an exchange and automatically be displayed all the equipment that needs to be repaired based on their task schedule
- An electricity technician can look down a street and see the houses that are affected by the current power outage
- Instead of using GIS system on a laptop to view the companies assets, a technician can look at any direction and see all the assets within their heads up display. By looking at a specific asset a technician can be shown its maintenance schedule
- A office equipment technician repairing a printer can view installation instructions for a new part whilst installing that new part
- In retail stores, a customer can look at a product and see what sizes, shapes and colours it comes in, what it costs if they are a club member etc. Additionally, in a clothing store a customer can try on something without trying it on!
- Rather than just a audio tour, a tourist at the Forbidden Palace in Beijing can wear a pair of glasses that provides them with visual information about the artefact they are looking at, where they can buy souvenir replicas of this artefact, what the original intact artefact looked like etc
- Landscapers can walk around a garden manipulating the layout of the garden by adding trees, lighting, shrubs, pathways etc. In an instance, the customer can get a 3D view of what the garden will look like
Even though augmented reality has been around for over four decades, and technology is advancing rapidly (the technology behind retinal scan display (RSD), which displays the image directly onto the eye, has reduced the need for bulky headsets), it will still be a while before we see “real-life” applications and benefits of augmented reality.
Can you think of any additional scenarios where augmented reality can be used?
* Augmented Reality was coined in 1990 by Tom Caudell while working at Boeing developing technology to assist workers assemble cabling in aircrafts.