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What Is Augmented Reality (AR) And What Are The Benefits For Companies? 

what is augmented reality

Augmented reality, often shortened to simply “AR,” is a term that many are familiar with, but may find it difficult to define in exact terms. That’s why we’re going to dive into exactly what constitutes augmented reality including examples of AR in business. Also, the ways you can easily reap the benefit of this technological innovation in your own operations. 

What Is Augmented Reality? 

Augmented reality, at its core, is a version of the physical world. This version, when enhanced, exaggerated, or added to through the use of certain digitized images, sounds, or other sensory stimuli, adds value to our experience.

Don’t confuse AR with virtual reality, otherwise known as VR, since VR creates an entirely fictional cyber environment. So while VR gives you the illusion that you’re physically somewhere else (perfect for video games, military training, and even education), augmented reality reflects reality as it is, and offers the ability for users to add, take away, and edit certain cues and features that can serve an entertainment and/or business purpose. 

For instance, early adopters of AR found early success in the retail space by incorporating augmented reality into catalog apps. Essentially enabling customers to visualize how different products would look in various environments. 

Of course, once AR found a foothold in the retail space. And it didn’t take long for other industries to begin exploring its benefits. Here are some good augmented reality examples to review

Business Use Cases For Augmented Reality

Moving on from the question “what is augmented reality,” we will explore its various uses. 

Thanks to the various functions augmented reality can optimize within any businesses, there are a multitude of functions for this technology across both horizontal and vertical industries

And while we can’t list all of them here, let’s briefly touch on the top 3 use cases for AR. 

1. Field service technician support 

What do you get when a field service technician and a remote expert can easily communicate on a complex issue that would typically require a second visit? Well, increasingly they’re able to troubleshoot the first time round. Which means first time fix rates, customer retention rates, and CSAT scores are all prime candidates for improvement. 

2. Remote training 

One of the top beneficiaries of AR? The medical industry. From training personnel, to selling medical equipment, to fixing equipment, augmented reality has come in handy when it comes to letting providers, patients, and salespeople essentially feel as if they’re in the same room, despite tuning in from multiple remote locations.  

3. Real-time troubleshooting 

By allowing customer service representatives to connect with customers through merged reality, businesses can experience reduced average handle time, improved first call resolution rates, and an increase to customer retention rates (not to mention reduced truck roll costs, for industries that rely on technicians to resolve equipment breakdowns and other unforeseen problems in person). 

This is likely because customers feel they’re understood better when reaching out to service providers (by showing representatives the roadblocks they’re encountering). They can communicate with increased efficiency (pointing, signaling with their hands). And they don’t have to repeat themselves. This is because technicians and other staff are able to record and review the call with the customer in question). 

Interested in learning more about AR’s real world applications? Check out 20 use cases here

Developing An AR-Strategy 

Back in 2017, Harvard Business Review noted that “there is a fundamental disconnect between the wealth of digital data available to us and the physical world in which we apply it.” 

By that, they mean  that most businesses (and individuals) – as it stands – aren’t taking advantage of the full capabilities AR has to offer. But those that are beginning to implement it as part and parcel of their long-term business plans are already reaping promising rewards:

  • reduced inspection times
  • time savings on manufacturing tasks
  • improvements in accuracy of execution
  • other optimizations that can make all the difference to a company’s bottom line. 

So when looking to develop an AR-strategy, what should you prioritize

Well, begin by noting down – explicitly – your long-term business goals. Try to be as specific as possible: are you looking to improve customer retention rates? By what percentage? Is a costly roadblock to increased profits unplanned downtimes? Conduct an evaluation of your business’ strengths and weaknesses. Then look to find an AR-tool that solves for any chinks in your armor against competitors. 

If you want to dive deeper into the question of ‘what is augmented reality,’ and where it’s going, then check out this article on expanding use cases for AR, or if you’d like to know how to make the most of this technology, then take a look at this expert discussion on the subject. You can also learn about other augmented reality companies.

Learn about how Help Lightning’s augmented-reality software could benefit your business, through a free, no-obligation demo.

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