According to the Computer Business Review, augmented reality is slated to achieve fantastic growth over the next few years, and is presently valued a $1,000,000,000 industry. Yet, virtual and augmented reality are often associated with the entertainment industry, and nothing more. There exist several alternative ways to use augmented reality that could change the way that your enterprise handles its business technology solutions.

As the one responsible for managing your organization’s technology, it’s important that you don’t dismiss the option of implementing augmented reality for your own business. One CIO, Thomas Saueressig of SAP, suggests that the goal of augmented reality should be used to optimize the experience of the end-user, be it an employee or a customer. This means that the CIO can implement augmented reality as a method toward optimizing operations, which can improve productivity and efficiency for all parties involved.

Consider how augmented reality can allow for virtual tutorials, meetings, and collaboration; it can improve the way that CIOs handle training, maintenance, and so much more. Imagine being able to see what your technicians see as they’re performing maintenance on your organization’s technology. You can coach them through a particularly difficult task, or offer suggestions that could improve the quality of their service. Furthermore, you can train new technicians by viewing, hands-on, what they see as they’re going about their daily tasks. This helps you to train them on your organization’s best practices, as well as to virtually “mentor” them and assist with their professional development.

It’s also worth mentioning that end-users within your organization can benefit from the implementation of augmented reality. For example, an employee that’s not tech-savvy is having issues with their workstation. A tech can remotely assist them with the troubleshooting process, because they’ll be able to see what the employee sees. This can assist your business greatly, especially in regards to the way that your organization handles IT maintenance and management. Your employee learns a little bit about troubleshooting, and your tech doesn’t have to make an effort to go to the site of the incident.

Plus, consider the fact that most current AR solutions integrate with smartphone technology, and you have a relatively accessible technology solution that could make you an innovator in your industry. All that’s left to do is actually implement the solution. But, what’s actually available for use at the moment?

How It’s Currently Being Used for Business

The aforementioned applications of augmented reality in the technical environment aren’t just visions of the future; they’re already becoming reality. One company called Vuforia is taking advantage of augmented reality to “send” their service technicians straight to the repair site. They call this augmented interactive reality, and describe it as a virtual instruction manual of sorts. The idea is to use this type of augmented reality to train people and/or make maintenance easier, all remotely.

However, it’s becoming increasingly aware that, despite the potential of augmented reality, the hardware behind augmented reality is miles ahead of the software involved. While the hardware might present great potential, this means nothing without apps that can support and enhance it. Therefore, the future of AR will rely on developers creating apps that are both dynamic and supported on various platforms.

Predictions for the Future

In today’s modern business world, there’s one thing that’s for certain; mobile technology is driving the growth of the industry, and augmented reality has found a home on it. A new study by MarketsandMarkets suggests that augmented reality mobile devices could easily become a $80 billion industry by 2022. Of course, this is but a preliminary number. As time goes on, hardware and software designed to work with augmented reality will inevitably become a major factor for growth.

Then there’s the fact that AR technology will likely go toe-to-toe with mobile devices like smartphones. Will AR-specific hardware be able to outperform the AR used by mobile devices? Will it be more mobile, more dynamic, and most of all, more affordable? Only time can tell, but how AR develops from here on out will ultimately decide the fate of the technology, particularly in the business environment.

Surely, the future presents several options for enterprises to invest in augmented reality. Will your business seize this opportunity?