Augmented reality is fast transforming how we do a lot of things. It is gaining more acceptance and being adopted in different industries. Furthermore, businesses all over the world are looking for ways to embrace this technology and use it to their advantage. Let us see what small businesses can make of augmented reality.
As a small business owner, it is easy to think that new and emerging technologies are only for the big dogs. Ordinarily, it seems so, because a lot of these technologies are expensive to deploy. But it is not enough to just conclude without taking a closer look. You may be surprised to see how much your business can benefit from them.
Augmented reality is one of such emerging technologies that have big players dominating the space, especially when it comes to advancing the technology and innovating on it. So, you hear the likes of Facebook, Apple, Google, etc., working on their own wearable devices and all. However, that is not the only way augmented reality is being utilized.
A Little of the Basics
Augmented reality is simply a technology that allows us to overlay physical objects and environments with virtual information. That is the basics about AR; every other thing revolves around this. Special hardware devices are built to allow this to happen in certain contexts; however, you don’t always need a special AR device to have an AR experience. What AR requires is hardware with a processor, display, sensors and input devices. These things are obtainable in smartphones, and with the likes of Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore, it is possible to deploy AR experiences on mobile phones and devices. So, AR has been democratized for regular consumers.
Did you ever play Pokémon Go? Have you used filters on Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram? If you’ve done any of these and more, then you have surely encountered augmented reality. Even Google Maps has a new AR feature that gives you real-time direction overlaid on the street you’re walking on.
Business Sectors and Industries Already Using AR
If you are wondering which industries are already making use of this technology, here is a list of them. AR has been found to be useful in the following sectors:
- Customer Service and Support
- Education & Training
- Healthcare and Medicine
- And more.
AR Applications: The Way to Go
As already mentioned earlier, there is the hardware side to augmented reality and there is also the software side. While some big tech companies are investing in building various AR hardware devices, like AR glasses, other businesses focus on creating AR applications and deploying them to consumers. So, if you are considering involving AR in your business, you should be thinking of the software angle.
Because of the basic workings of the AR technology, AR applications can be used to create interesting AR experiences for consumers. These experiences can help consumers interact and engage with real objects in different ways. They are catchy and easily grab the interest of users.
As a business, there are many things you can achieve with this, from brand awareness to engagement, advertising your business, creating emotional connections between your customers and your business, improving customer service, etc.
You can create your own AR applications that would accomplish certain things, or you can take advantage of platforms that are already using AR. For instance, companies are using Snapchat and Instagram filters/lens to advertise their brands. By creating interesting lenses that people would like to use, they gain massive exposure through these platforms.
How Some Businesses Are Already Using AR
Now, let us see some examples of what businesses are already doing with augmented reality.
Ikea: The furniture giant has an AR app that lets customers try out different pieces of furniture in their homes virtually, before committing to buying them. Customers can see if what they are about to buy fits into space where they want to place it.
Iman Cosmetics: They have developed an AR app that customers can use to find the right foundation for their skin color.
Domino: Domino’s New Pizza Chef app uses AR to allow customers to create different combinations of and visualize what they would look like, before ordering what they’ve created.
- Some businesses are using AR business cards to display more company information to potential customers.
- Augmented reality is being used to create virtual showrooms, fashion runways, etc., and give customers an experience of products they have interest in.
- Marketing materials are designed with augmented reality to display more information about products, with calls-to-action that allow potential customers to quickly make purchases.
- Some companies also use augmented reality to help workers navigate factories. Similarly, some concerts and event planners use augmented reality to give attendees directions to different places.
While you may say that some of these examples are big companies, there are still some things you can learn from them when it comes to what you can achieve with AR. The possibilities of what you can do with augmented reality in your small business are numerous.