Make no mistake, augmented reality is going to transform business.
Today the idea of an interactive hologram is no longer confined to sci-fi films like Minority Report.
A step up from the already hot virtual reality, so-called ‘augmented reality’ lets you bring moving objects, videos and even whole new worlds into your real-life physical space.
This may sound novel, but make no mistake, AR technology will transform business as we know it.
It will help you to sell more, learn faster, communicate better and be more productive – smart businesses are already starting to learn how to make augmented reality work for them.
We met the team from Kazendi – a firm that hosts workshops to help businesses make the most of new technology.
We tried Microsoft HoloLens AR headset and three things were clear:
In the meantime, we’ve put together 5 key ways you should be thinking about using AR.
The future is coming, don’t let you business get left behind.
5 ways HoloLens can make your business better…
Even the simplest hologram experience on a HoloLens is a powerful one for viewers.
We were shown an iridescent ballerina, and it looked as if she were in our office – in our world.
We were able to move around and see every detail, from every angle, and were even able to make her dance.
If you’ve designed a product detail is everything, and AR can shows these off better than ever before.
Imagine a car show room, for example, where you could check out your new car, and customise it in real time in front of you.
If you can walk around it, open it up, and look inside, you’re going to feel far more confident about making a purchase.
One of the most incredible things about AR is the ability to create holograms that interact with real-life spaces.
For example, we played a game called RoboRaid which saw robots ‘break through’ the walls of our physical building and move around our desks.
How to use it:
Insurance companies or architects could, for example, show a walk-through of a building’s pipes or wiring to help them plan better, while firemen could wear HoloLens headsets to keep abreast of dangers hidden within a houses’ burning walls.
What’s more, whether you sell designer sofas or industrial engineering, a client who’s able to manipulate your products in their home or office will a much happier customer.
One of the fantastic things about HoloLens is it can be used to make complex ideas crystal clear.
Kazendi, for example, showed us how interactive blocks could be used to explain news concept in ways 2D just can’t.
How to use it:
Use AR to teach your employees new company strategies in ways that will stick, saving your business time and money.
Likewise, if you break your annual spend down clearly for an investor, they are more likely to keep investing in you, while if you explain your services better to customers, they’re more likely to remain loyal.
Having the ability to open limitless screens could be the HoloLens’ biggest sell. (We opened new YouTube tabs watched them in mid-air, and left them floating around our office).
How to use it:
Space is one of the priciest commodities in the modern workspace, and often ends up limiting productivity.
A city trader for example, usually sits in a chair watching stocks and shares on at least three screens. But with HoloLens they could open limitless virtual screens, throw dormant screens out of view, and set up alerts to notify them should they require their attention.
When you next book a holiday wouldn’t you rather browse through several big virtual screens, rafter than peer over the travel agent’s shoulder while they click between tabs?
Like any AR screen, the HoloLens lets you open a floating Skype window.
However if both callers are using HoloLens headsets, you can not only see each other’s view, but you can interact with it, and even draw and write onto this other world.
How to use it:
If you were discussing a graph, or a physical prototype, your Skype partner could make notes on your screen, circling flaws or adding further details.
Imagine if your customer service ‘helpline’ could use Skype to show callers what they might need to do rather than relying on verbal descriptions.
While the HoloLens kit isn’t perfect yet (you still have to stand at least at arm’s length from a hologram), it has huge potential.
With none of the motion sickness of the VR, this technology lets you do and see more while remaining ‘in the room’.
The idea of spending $3,000 dollars on a HoloLens might seem dear, but for many businesses making one good trade or business deal could make the initial price completely negligible.
“What we’ve seen so far it is an experience you can not really measure with money right now,” Kazendi’s Maximilian Doelle told The Memo.
We expect HoloLens to break into the business world years before its 2020 consumer launch.
The question is: will you be ready?
Kitty Knowles is a Senior Features Writer at The Memo. Kitty previously worked as an online journalist for GQ. She can be found tweeting @KittyGKnowles.