Augmented and Virtual Reality steps out of the marketing department

augmented reality

Augmented and mixed realities are significantly boosting marketing departments’ efficacy. But AR (Augmented Reality) is now boldly venturing into the rest of the workplace. From HR to R&D departments, the business case for AR is not only compelling, but in many instances revolutionising the way organisations engage with internal and external customers.

Using AR to engage with customers through layered digital discovery has already been well documented. However, use cases have been concentrated in the marketing fields and, by and large, under the auspices of the CMO and CTO of large corporations.

Additional functionalities, technical advancement and ever-lower costs of AR and VR (Virtual Reality) hardware means other departments can finally benefit from the technologies.

Putting the AR into R&D
Smart glasses or a head-mounted display, allow users to see digitally layered information (both contextual and dynamic), which helps inform and execute processes faster and with fewer errors.

Some of the most cutting edge AR developments have been seen in the science and engineering fields. Companies are using AR to view new products in design phase. 3D visuals which allow designers and developers to detect potential problems and enhancements before they even reach prototype phase, not only massively cuts down on time, but is proving especially attractive to their chief financial officers.

The medical fields have also made good use of the digital discovery capabilities in AR platforms. Dry runs of complex surgeries have given surgeons the ability to enter the operating theatre more confident. More than this, AR is proving an invaluable tool when it comes to medical teaching. Immersive anatomical training using AR and VR allow med students to experience the entire complexity of the body, layer by layer, and in life size.

Recruiting gets creative
Capturing the imagination of millennials can be a recruiter’s nightmare. Making use of innovative AR gamification campaigns can not only catch the younger worker’s eye, but showcases your company as tech forward and open to engage in ways which speak to them. In South Africa, this has been successfully done by BBDO who tapped into the Pokémon Go craze. C2C Labs is currently also speaking to some of the local universities to explore ways to entice high-performing individuals into the STEM faculties.

Training gets smarter
Staying in the HR department, AR is taking off in a big way when it comes to training. Upskilling workers quickly, and constantly improving on performance, is high on the agenda of the HR professional. Countless studies show that ‘learning by doing’ is the most effective way of retaining information. Using AR creates safe spaces for staff to experience a new skill and is driving efficiencies into this department too. Anything from interactive, multimedia training manuals to immersive videos allows new skills to be quickly absorbed without the soul destroying classroom environment.

iBeacons beckon
iBeacons have been used extensively at events and even at museums. However, the use case for iBeacons combined with AR is offering new opportunities across industries. The technology, which is taking off internationally, sees iBeacons being used as a means to guide travelers through busy and maze-like airports. Not only are large airports using this to improve customer experience, their advertising has spiked as brands are able to target travelers based on their specific preferences. Tapping into DoubleClick allows the sales department to monitor performance and shift emphasis on the fly, as the traveler moves through the terminal.

Business Cards that tell your story
While many executives have chosen to limit the use of business cards, they remain a cornerstone of global business engagement. Adding AR enhancements can turn this small piece of cardboard into a way to tell your, and your company’s story. Unlocking multimedia content leaves a digital presentation in the hands of your future clients – and a most effective follow-up tool for sales teams.

As AR and mixed realities mature, the use cases will grow. Using technology as an enabler is well documented in the most successful global companies. Department heads should not only be aware of what is on offer, but work with AR and VR specialists to explore potential opportunities. These could not only enhance marketing efforts, but could also open up a multitude of possibilities to improve business practices across the board.

By Johan Walters – C2C Labs

Editor of Tech IT Out. Former radio host of Cliffcentral.com. Former Editor of IT News Africa and ITF Gaming. All round techie, gamer and entrepreneur. For Editorial Enquiries Contact: Darryl@techitout.co.za or via +27788021400.