Augmented Reality is Changing Our Workplace; Here’s How

by Guy Frum

There’s a new buzzword when it comes to augmented reality (AR), and that term is Enterprise AR. Enterprise AR refers specifically to how AR is being used in the workplace, in training, and in business practices. Many companies are finding that as a business solution, it is vastly outstripping how it is being used in commercial applications. While AR seems to struggle in finding niches in commercialism past the likes of Pokemon games and snapchat filters, it’s finding solution spaces in the workplace with things like data visualization, line-of-sight instructions, field maintenance, and remote support.Key decision-makers are reporting that AR is great for streamlining the transfer of knowledge. This is leading to better return on investment (ROI) and the generation of more quality case studies to promote future use of AR. Here are a few examples of its current best benefits. 

Data Doesn’t Lie

According to a survey of companies using AR released by IDC and Librestream, 64% of companies plan on spending the same amount of money or even more money on AR in the coming year. About 38% think AR is a core component of their digital transformation plan over the past 5 years.
Some 33% of manufacturers are using AR to increase the safety of their employees, and another 32% are using it to maximize collaboration.When companies do use AR, they are seeing noticeable gains or savings in key areas of their business models, including:

● 70% increase in worker productivity.
● 5% decrease in on-site visits for specialized maintenance
● 30% decrease in operational costs
● 80% quicker time to resolution of issues
● 300% increase in the number of inspections performed, which leads to faster work and greater quality control. 

What the Numbers Don’t Say

According to IDC’s Worldwide AR/VR Spending Guide, the global enterprise AR market will hit $7.5 billion by 2022, and a staggering $46.6 billion by 2025, a 521% gain in just three years. It is estimated that utilities, government, and manufacturing industries will eat up 30% of that spending, suggesting that the public sector will be the biggest endorsement for AR. Spending on AR-enabled industrial asset maintenance alone, along with safety and onsite assembly, will reach $1.5 billion by 2022. Utilities companies, along with utility functions within companies, will hit $2.5 billion in spending on AR by 2025.

Although there is plenty to be optimistic about when it comes to AR, not everything is so full of sunshine and roses. AR is currently getting a lot more play than VR because the technology is easier to adapt to and it can be used on convenient devices like smartphones and tablets. VR hardware remains clunkier for most people since it involves strapping on a headset that can make people feel disoriented or disconnected. However with everyone from Mark Zuckerber to Jeff Bezos to Elon Musk looking for ways to connect to the metaverse via VR, it may be only a matter of time until AR gets surpassed in usability.