Reality or Hype? Augmented Reality Moves Into the Enterprise

Written By: Michelle Duke Hopkins
  • 1/22/2016

As a consumer we all understand the exciting possibilities that augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality innovations present for video gaming and entertainment. But augmented reality is poised to revolutionize the enterprise space by changing the way things are designed, created, operated and serviced.

At CES earlier this month, augmented reality was everywhere— as one would expect in the typical consumer industry areas— but what was surprising was the growing presence of innovations for the enterprise space in various industries ranging from manufacturing and healthcare to retail.

Goldman Sachs calls augmented reality a disruptive technology for the enterprise and a report from Juniper Research shows that the use of AR apps in the enterprise will grow to $2.4 billion in 2019, up from $247 million in 2014.

Does this mean that business application will drive the future growth of augmented reality? A recent Information Age article points in that direction saying “while much of the hype around these technologies has focused on consumer technology, the results of a study by Beecham Research point to the enterprise as the biggest platform for developing related applications.”

All of this “hype” shows that industry experts acknowledge that augmented reality is poised to shake up the enterprise and the industrial IoT space in 2016. But it’s not just hype, the reality is that there are already leading manufacturers championing AR in enterprise. One example is the Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance (AREA), a global non-profit organization focused on the widespread adoption of AR-enabled enterprise systems with sponsors that include Bosch, Johnson & Johnson and The Boeing Company.

The momentum is building but you may wonder what business value can be gained through augmented reality technologies? The answer is quite a bit. It has the potential to unlock new possibilities in the design, monitoring and control of industrial products. By merging digital data with the physical world, enterprises can gain an interactive visual experience with their products (things) with benefits that include:

  • Better product design – by viewing a visual image of a product before it is created, designers can achieve better product design and quality
  • Interactive visuals and data that aid in the operation of products to ensure better use and performance
  • The ability to service products more quickly, efficiently and accurately through a more visual experience that shows technicians the best ways to service a product

Industry use cases will demonstrate the true impact of what augmented reality means for businesses and how it affects the quality and performance of things; operational efficiency and the overall customer experience. Expect to see more enterprise businesses evaluate and adopt these technologies over the next few years as more use cases are documented and shared.

Image by Matt Butler

  • Augmented Reality
  • Digital Transformation

About the Author

Michelle Duke Hopkins

Michelle Hopkins is Managing Editor of Product Lifecycle Report. She has spent her career in marketing and communications in the technology industry focused primarily on enterprise software. Michelle enjoys researching and writing about how new technology trends and innovations can transform business processes and impact customer relationships, competitive advantage and overall revenue and profitability. Frequent topics include the Internet of Things, manufacturing, service lifecycle management and STEM.