Gimmick or Game Changer? Tackle Issues Using Augmented Reality in Business

New technology can be scary. But, early adopters of new technology can gain an advantage.

Often those adopters could find themselves ahead of the game against their competition. They may also find they can access a business segment they never could before.

A great example of something new is what role augmented reality in business will play. Not every business will enjoy this technology, but can you afford not to explore it? What if you are a startup business: have you incorporated augmented reality into your plan?

It may be easy to create an app and bring your product to life. Does this application of augmented reality solve a real problem for your business?

A realistic look at problems your business has is definitely in order. I will start with a guide to identifying your top issues. Then we can ask a simple question: is this a job for augmented reality?

Identify the Problem and Act

You may have data that points to a particular issue. Your personal point of view may even reinforce your findings. But, be weary: the data and your own views can be misleading.

There may be consensus on what your problems are. But, are you sure they are not additional symptoms of a much deeper issue?

And, what if you act to correct these symptoms? You could find yourself solving a problem that creates more issues.

Time to expand your view point and dig deep. Let’s find those root causes by taking the following actions:

Start by analyzing the data. Having a lot of data is great, but understanding what it means, and its relevance, is key to finding what makes sense.

Look at events, or the symptoms of the issue, and look for what causes these events to happen. Can you find the pattern or trend that causes these events? Do you see the levers of force that are the root of those causes? Is there a series of flawed thought processes that contribute to these forces?

One perspective is not enough to go on when solving problems. You need to gather not only your team’s observations, but from another team’s as well.

Your team is likely not the only one noticing problems. Gather other perspectives to give the widest possible lens to view them through.

Once you have dug to the root of the problem, narrow your focus on the cause. Exclude anything irrelevant and avoid generalizations. Create a clear description of the problem you intend to remove.

Now build your solution. Do not forget to consider how there may be more than one issue causing your problem.

Rope in anyone else who has a stake in solving the issue. Can these others aid in your cause?

Now that you have your solutions in hand, and your pile of data, think about the future. Forecast where you are going based on past trends and patterns.

Do you see new potential issues you can navigate around? Are there other, safer, paths to success you can take to mitigate more issues coming up?

Is Augmented Reality a Solution For You?

Let’s start by being clear on what Augmented Reality is. Augmented reality is technology that merges computer-generated imagery on a participant’s view of the real world. This creates a composite view of the two.

So, what can augmented reality do for your business?

Some of the most practical ways I see augmented reality utilized in business are:

  • Increasing the time your customer stays or interacts with your business
  • Bringing an experience to where ever your client happens to be
  • Breaking down complex concepts into bite sized pieces
  • Try before you buy
  • Personnel training

This leads me to look at what types of businesses are already using AR:

  • Retail
  • Real Estate
  • Interior Design
  • Tourism & Maps
  • Training & Education
  • Healthcare
  • The Dating Industry

Does your business fit in with any of the above points? If so, you are already able to see how augmented reality could be of value to you. If you are still not sure, let’s look at augmented reality uses in real estate.

A Test Case

The real estate market has suffered from some notable issues. Many have been tough to solve without technology.

It is easy to remember a time of many property visits and flyers being the only way to see a property. Web listings did not do much to solve these issues. Though the web did speed up how fast you could get to a house’s information and where they are on a map.

So, I will list common problems in real estate:

  • A printed description, even one with pictures, does not do a property justice when communicating its value
  • Online 3D models, while interactive, still do not get the full picture of the property into a client’s head
  • Visiting housing it time and resource intensive

Augmented reality was then incorporated into real estate marketing practices. This produced the following benefits:

  • Clients were able to better visualize properties
  • Clients were able to make the property their own by manipulating décor virtually
  • Clients were more engaged
  • Completing a sale required fewer on site visits

You will notice that I listed out the clear and simple problems facing real estate. While it was by no means a simple fix, the benefits of augmented reality clearly make an impact.

Gimmick or Game Changer?

There are more than a few augmented reality gimmicks out there. Does that mean that you should not take augmented reality seriously? Of course not!

Using technology for novelty is acceptable and fun. But, if you ignore a technology’s potential, you can crush your startup.

Disruptive technology can even cripple and close down big established business. Look around at the empty spaces in malls and retail spaces. It is easy to see how internet commerce has disrupted a business model we once accepted as the way to go.

In conclusion, augmented reality in business is a game changer. If your business is like those above then a clear path is obvious.

Yet, you may instead find your own path. There is no denying augmented reality’s power as a tool. Ignore it at your peril.

Are you looking for more ways to use new technologies for your business? Check out my other technology articles.