It took Pokemon Go less than a week to make Augmented Reality (AR) a household term. How is this phenomenon relevant to your business?

  1. AR can be natural and engaging: The fact that millions of people are playing with imaginary characters in the real world shows how natural an Augmented Reality experience can be. Companies often overestimate the time workers take to adopt new technology. Make it useful and engaging, and they will adopt it with ease.
  2. Mobile rules: Mobile phones are everywhere and they will be the dominant platform for consumers. While enterprises will choose different platforms (including smart glasses), the ability to leverage existing mobile ecosystems in AR (such as Android) will be key to taking advantage of market innovation and reduce the cost of deploying solutions.
  3. Content and intelligence are key: This is not the first consumer AR app - in fact AR apps have existed for years. What is new about Pokemon Go is the ability to use the phone location and camera input to create a very contextual experience. When companies think about AR, they should focus on how to bring intelligence (Artificial or Human) contextually to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of their employees.
  4. Smart glasses AR will begin in the enterprise: The ultimate AR experience can be achieved in smart glasses by displaying much richer images (e.g., large/multiple screens, 3D) and providing hands-free operation. Delivering great AR glasses at an attractive price and form factor will take time, but today, companies can already take advantage of smart glasses and save on downtime, reduce errors and increase productivity.
  5. Safety first: Pokemon Go has raised safety and privacy concerns as distracted players stumble into unsafe conditions and locations. The experiences in AR need to be designed to increase not decrease safety. For instance, an AR application could warn employees of potentially dangerous situations as well as allow them to use both hands to improve their safety and mobility in difficult circumstances.


So what does all of this mean for those of us in the business world? Here is a quick example: Imagine that you are a highly skilled engineer faced with a crucial airplane repair, and the clock is ticking. Every hour that the airplane is not working, your airline loses $15,000. A smart glass AR application can bring all the information needed to repair the plane such as manuals and service records specific to a given part. You can also use the power of AI to diagnose the situation and even consult remote experts while continuing to use both your hands to complete your time-sensitive repairs. It turns out you don’t have to imagine this--it is already possible today. This is one of many work-related examples.