What is Augmented Reality?

What is Augmented Reality

What Is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality (AR) can be described as an improved model of the real world created by making use of visual elements, sounds, or other sensory stimulation that are delivered through technology. It is most common in companies that are involved in mobile computing and business applications, in particular.

With the increasing use of data collection and analysis, one of the main objectives is to draw attention to certain aspects inherent to the natural world. improve awareness of those features and gain smart and easy insights that can be used in real-world applications. Big data could help to inform the decision-making process of companies and provide insight into consumers’ purchasing habits, among other things.


  • Augmented Reality (AR) is the process of overlaying audio, visual, or any other sensory information onto the real world to enhance the user’s experience.
  • retailers and firms can utilize augmented reality to market the products and services they offer, initiate new marketing campaigns, and gather unique data from users.
  • Contrary to virtual reality which creates its own cyber-world, augmented reality enhances the real reality as it is.

Understanding Augmented Reality

What is Augmented Reality
What is Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is continuing to evolve and is becoming more widespread in many different applications. Since its inception marketing and technology companies have been fighting the notion that Augmented Reality is nothing more than a tool for marketing. There is however an indication of how consumers will reap real benefits of this technology and anticipate it to be an integral part of their buying process.

For instance, some early retailers have developed technology created to improve the user shopping experience. Through the incorporation of augmented reality into catalog apps, retailers enable customers to visualize what items would appear in various environments. For furniture, customers can point their camera at the room they want to use and the furniture is shown in the background.

Furthermore, the advantages of augmented reality could be extended into the health sector in which it can play an even bigger role. One option is to use applications that allow users to view extremely detailed, 3D pictures of various body systems by hovering their device’s screen over an image. For instance, augmented reality can be an extremely effective training tool for medical professionals during their education.

Many experts have speculated that wearable devices may be the next step in Augmented Reality. While smartphones and tablets display only a small fraction of the users’ surroundings smart glasses could, for instance, offer a greater connection between virtual and real when it is developed enough to become commonplace.

Augmented Reality is different. Virtual Reality

Augmented reality utilizes the actual environment of the real world and adds virtual information on top to improve your experience.

Virtual reality, on the other hand, allows users to “inhabit” an entirely different environment, specifically the virtual reality that computers create and render. Users can get completely immersed in an animated world or in an area that has been captured and integrated into an application that is virtual. With a virtual reality viewer, users can view either down or up in any other direction as if in the actual place.

Every organization needs an Augmented Reality Strategy

 While the physical world can be three-dimensional, the majority of data on the internet is stuck to two-dimensional pages or screens. This gap between the digital and real worlds hinders us from fully utilizing the volume of data..

 Although reality is three-dimensional in nature, the rich data that we have now to guide our actions and decisions remains stuck on two-dimensional pages. This disconnect between the digital and real worlds hinders our ability to benefit from the flood of data and insights generated by billions upon billions of connected smart products (SCPs).

 It promises to close the gap and unlock untapped human potential. AR, though still in its infancy and a relatively new technology, is on the verge of becoming mainstream. One estimate says AR spending will reach $60 billion by 2020.

AR will impact companies of all industries and other types of organizations from universities to social enterprises. It will change the way we learn, make decisions and interact with the world over the next few years. It will change the way that enterprises service customers, train their employees, create and market products, manage their value chains and ultimately how they compete.

Exploring Augmented Reality

This is illustrated vividly by AR displays in cars. Drivers using GPS navigation used to have to view a map on a flatscreen and then apply it in real life. For example, to exit a busy rotary correctly, a driver had to shift their gaze between the road surface and the screen, and then mentally link the image on the map with the turnoff.

AR heads-up displays overlay navigational images directly on what the driver can see through the windshield. This helps reduce the mental effort required to apply the information, minimizes distractions, and allows drivers to concentrate on the road.

AR is making great strides in the consumer market, but its impact on industrial performance is greater. Newport News Shipbuilding, which designs, builds, and maintains U.S. Navy aircraft carrier carriers, employs AR to inspect ships, marking out steel structures for removal, and so on.

AR’s Key Capabilities

We’ve already explained HBR (November 2014) that SCPs spread through homes, offices, and factories allowing users to monitor and control product operations and conditions, remotely customize and control product operations, and optimize product performance with real-time data. In some cases, SCPs can be completely autonomous thanks to connectivity and intelligence.

AR improves the user’s ability to see and access the latest monitoring data. It also helps them follow the instructions and guidelines for product operation. And it even lets them interact with the products.

What is Augmented Reality
What is Augmented Reality


Augmented Reality applications can provide a form of X-ray visionthat reveals internal details that are difficult to spot otherwise. The medical device company AccuVein for example, Augmented Reality technology converts the thermal signature of the vein in a patient into an image that is superimposed onto the surface of their skin.

This makes veins more easy for doctors to identify. This greatly increases the efficiency of blood draws as well as other procedures that involve blood flow. AR can more than triple the probability of a successful needle stick the first attempt, and also reduces the necessity of “escalations” (calling for assistance for instance) in an average of 45 %.

Bosch Rexroth, a global manufacturer of power units and control systems used in manufacturing, utilizes an Augmented Reality-enhanced display to showcase the features and design of its intelligent, connected CytroPac hydraulic unit. The AR application allows users to visualize 3-D images of the internal pump as well as cooling choices in a variety of configurations and the way that subsystems are able to work together.


A Augmented Reality showroom demonstration developed with Microsoft and Volvo gives an X-ray picture of the car’s engine and undercarriage.

Instruction and guide.

Augmented Reality is already changing the way we think about instruction as well as training and coaching. These essential tasks, which increase efficiency of the workforce, are expensive and labor intensive and can produce inconsistent outcomes. Writing instructions to assembly jobs, for example can be difficult and take a lot of time to follow.

 The standard instructional videos don’t have interactive elements and aren’t able to adapt to individuals’ requirements for learning. Training in person is costly and requires teachers and students to gather at a shared site, which can be repeated. In the event that the equipment the equipment students are learning isn’t readily available, they could require additional instruction to translate the lessons they’ve learned into an actual-world setting.

AR solves these problems by providing live on-site, step-by-step, visual assistance for tasks like manufacturing, assembly of products and warehouse pick. The complicated 2-D representations of a process in an instruction manual, for example are transformed into interactive 3D holograms that guide users through the required steps. The rest is left to imaginative or interpretation.

Instruct and Guide

An employee of the company for agricultural equipment Agco reviews AR instructions to the operation of a tractor’s the hydraulic valvestack.

Clint Ford

In Boeing, AR training has significantly improved the efficiency and quality of the complex manufacturing processes used in aircraft. Within one Boeing investigation, AR could be used to guide students through the steps needed for assembling an aircraft’s wingspan, which comprises 30 components. With the aid of AR participants, they completed the task in 35 percent less time than students using traditional documentation and drawings in 2-D. Additionally, the percentage of trainees who had little or no prior experience who were able to complete the task successfully the first time by 90 percent. %.

Enhancing Human Decision Making

In the end, the power of augmented reality comes from the way that humans process information. We are able to access information using all five senses, but at different speeds. Vision is the one that provides us with the most data by far. A majority of the time, between 80% and 90 percent of the information that humans receive is accessible through vision.

The capacity to process and absorb information is restricted by our mental capacity. The pressure for this capability is known in the context of “cognitive load.” Each mental activity we engage in decreases our capacity for othertasks that are simultaneously being performed.

Cognitive load is determined by the amount of mental energy required to process a particular kind of information. For instance, reading instructions on a computer screen and then acting upon them results in a higher cognitive burden than simply hearing the same instructions, since the letters have to be converted into words and the words must be interpreted. 

Cognitive load also is dependent on “cognitive distance,” or the distance between the way that information is presented and the context within the context in which it is used. Think about what happens when a person is using a smartphone to get instructions while driving. 

The driver has to consume information displayed on the screen, keep the information in his working memory, then translate those directions to the real surroundings that is in front of him and then take action based on the directions while driving the vehicle. There is a significant cognitive gap between the information displayed that is displayed on your screen as well as the actual context to which the information is utilized. This distance can cause cognitive burden.

The speed that information is transferred and absorbed as well as the cognitive distance required for applying it is the source of the popular expression “A picture is worth a thousand words.” When we gaze at the world around us it absorbs a massive quantity and variety of information quickly. In the same way, the image or photo which overlays information onto the world around us, putting it in a context reduces cognitive distance, and decreases cognitive burden.

This is the reason AR is so effective. There is no better visual display for the user than that of the real world all around us, when it is enhanced with the digital overlay of pertinent information and guidelines whenever they are required. AR removes the need for out-of-context and difficult to process 2-D data on screens and pages and greatly improves our ability to process and apply knowledge within the actual world.


Traditionally, users have relied on physical controls, such as knobs, buttons and more recently built-in touchscreens for interaction with their products. With the advent of SCPs applications, mobile devices are increasingly replacing physical controls, allowing users to control products from a distance.

AR enhances an interface for users to an entirely new level. The virtual control panel can be directly inserted into the device and controlled using an AR headset or hand gestures as well as voice commands. Soon, people wearing smart glasses will be able to glance at or point at the product to trigger an interactive user interface and then operate it.

 Someone wearing Smart glasses, for example could traverse a factory line, look at the machines, observe their performance metrics and make adjustments to each machine without touching it physically.

The interaction capability of AR is only beginning to be implemented in the world of commercial products, but it’s groundbreaking. Reality Editor is an AR application developed through the Fluid Interfaces group at MIT’s Media Lab, provides a glimpse of how it is changing. Reality Editor allows users to incorporate to an immersive AR user experience for any of the SCP. 

With it, users can use a smartphone or tablet to an SCP (or at some point, glance at it using intelligent glasses), “see” its digital interfaces, as well as its capabilities which can be programmed and connect these abilities to hand movements, voice commands, or even another smart device. For instance, Reality Editor can allow the user to look at the smart light bulb’s control panel for intensity and color and also set the voice commands of “bright” and “mood” to turn them on. The different options for the bulb’s settings can be connected to buttons on smart light switches that you can set up anyplace that is practical.

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