Augmented reality companies encompass incumbents (such as Apple and Microsoft) to more lithe, fast-moving innovators (like Help Lightning) that are seeking to make a sizeable mark on the soon-to-be $50 billion industry.
So as AR-backed technology moves to change everything from military training, to customer service, to education – what are the top augmented reality companies you should keep your eye on? And exactly what are they hoping to achieve with their game-changing products? Let’s dive in.
What Is Augmented Reality?
We have an entire article on this topic, so we suggest you go check that out for more in depth insights, but for now, let’s just say that augmented reality (shortened to AR, much of the time) is an interactive 3D experience that “combines a view of the real world with computer-generated elements.” In the case of Help Lightning, this also includes bringing tools and something as simple as the human hand to improve collaboration. All through our AR-enabled merged reality.
This concept is not to be confused with virtual reality (otherwise known as VR), which is a completely virtual environment. Instead, AR’s power lies in its ability to ground itself in reality, while overlaying it with visual features. These work to optimize a company’s desired result. Results can range from increased sales, to improved customer service, to employee onboarding, and more.
Augmented Reality Companies: Our Favorite Incumbents
Think “augmented reality” and you may not think Apple, but this tech giant is capitalizing on the promise AR offers regular consumers and developers alike. iPhone models from the 8 onwards run on AR-friendly A11 bionic chips, and these help enable Apple’s main contribution to the AR space: its product, ARKit.
ARKit encompasses a set of software development tools which empower developers to create AR applications for iOS. Though most iPhone users won’t use ARKit themselves, they will use helpful apps stemming from this technology (such as IKEA’s AR product, which we explain more about here!).
Android wasn’t about to let Apple have all the fun. Their equivalent, ARCore, is another software development kit which adds augmented reality functionality to existing Android phones. Its main value proposition, according to the Vice President of Android Engineering, lies in its ability to “work without any additional hardware” which means it can scale across the Android ecosystem – no extra chips in sight!
Walmart announced in 2020 it would be dipping its toe into augmented reality. They are turning four of their physical stores into “test stores”. This will seek to optimize AR across a number of operations, including inventory control.
Specifically, Walmart’s AR-powered app is designed to expedite the time it takes employees to move items from the backroom to the sales floor. Using the app, workers can scan what they see, and it will highlight the boxes ready to go on the screen. This evades the need for employees to scan boxes individually; instead, they can see in mass what boxes need to go where.
Amazon’s “Point and Learn” technology is one of the most exciting features of the retail giant’s first brick and mortar beauty salon. Here’s how it will work: customers can point at the product they are interested in on a display shelf, and relevant information, such as brand videos and educational content, will immediately appear on the display screen. On top of that, customers can then scan the relevant QR code on the shelf to purchase the product on the ecommerce site.
And they haven’t stopped there: they are capitalizing on AR technology’s ability to reduce (or in Ikea’s case, almost completely eliminate) barriers to entry. Amazon has allowed customers to experiment with different hair colors through this smart software.
Wayfair added AR capabilities to its ‘View In Room’ app, with the ultimate goal of allowing shoppers to essentially “try out” products in their own homes. Consumers are able to stack products, stand in front of them, view them in accurate lighting (in real time), and more. The result of this AR-add on which Wayfair promises “higher senses of realism?” Consumers are 3.4x more likely to buy when using this technology.
As you can see above, the retail space has reaped the benefits of AR-technology. And they show no signs of slowing down their exploration in this space. Other industries and actors, including the government, the medical industry, utilities, and more are turning to AR backed software to:
- Reduce equipment downtime
- Train employees more quickly and more effectively
- Reduce truck roll costs (and improve your first time fix rates)
- Increase sales close rates (and shorten the sales cycle)
- Improve customer service scores
- Increase customer retention rates
And a whole lot more.
Help Lightning is leading the way in leveraging augmented reality to provide remote first service. We are directly empowering companies across a range of industries to work smarter and more efficiently. The result is better customer service and an edge over their competition.