LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILITY LIVE, ATLANTA: Augmented Reality (AR) hardware has many business use cases but the technology still has to evolve, agreed panellists at the ‘Augmented Reality and Wearables in the Enterprise’ session.
According to Peter Evans, CEO at Pristine, from a hardware point of view AR is where the iPhone 2 was when it came out – it had some decent functions but there was no WiFi or camera. People bought it because it provided value and Apple then built and improved upon it.
“Crawl, walk, run,” is how Evans described the process.
All panellists were vocal about the fact that when people think of AR their mind immediately goes to Jarvis from Iron Man – an Artificial Intelligent platform that provides data via AR – but this does not exist.
Evans said Jarvis is not the place to start, as anyone who does so is likely to fail.
Instead, the real value of AR lies in finding specific use cases – such as helping doctors, audit inspectors and field technicians.
Evans’ firm provides real-time audio and video collaboration via smart glasses and mobile devices.
He said that when doctors wear smart glasses and instantly get access to data they needed – such as medical records and X-rays – while performing surgery, the time taken to conduct the surgery can be cut by 80 per cent.
This not only frees up a doctor’s time but also speeds up the recovery process as the patient is cut open for a shorter period of time.
Meanwhile, Mike Campbell, EVP of Vuforia Studio, said he was “hardware agnostic” as his firm deals with AR software, and is more interested in the challenge of content – “with what shall I augment the world?”
He believes AR content is where mobile apps and browsing was in the early days of the smartphone. It took time to optimise content for mobile, and AR content too will need to be optimised to be contextually relevant.
Evans also spoke about the challenges of AR in the workplace, one of which is getting workers used to “wearing a computer in their head” and the “emotional hurl” of fundamentally changing how they work.
Even if the tech is great, the deployment can take a long time. One of the ways this is being tackled is to give smart glasses to new recruits the very day they join so they can familiarise themselves with it and also get excited about it.
Campbell also said AR and IoT are driving a need to change how companies are organised.
Introducing AR impacts every single department and they will need to better collaborate. According to him, the old organisation models don’t work anymore.
“AR tech has the undeniable potential to change how we work,” he concluded.