Before implementing AR to improve their workflows and processes, businesses should prepare and develop strategies to ensure that they can use it to its full potential.
Despite many myths surrounding AR technology, it has proved to be a game-changer for many businesses across all the industries and gained a lot of traction. And it is not only the large enterprises that are using AR but also mid-size companies are leveraging its benefits. As per an estimate, 88% of mid-size organizations are already using AR technology for different capacities. Although these many companies are using AR technology, it is not necessary that all of them have successfully implemented AR and making optimal use of it. There are chances that some businesses might fail at implementing AR due to a lack of knowledge and strategies. Hence, businesses should consider some factors and prepare strategies accordingly to ensure that AR implementation does not fail for them.
Although AR devices provide many benefits and applications for various businesses, benefits for a specific business depends on the problem they want to solve with it. Hence, businesses should consider some important factors before rushing into the implementation of AR.
It may seem to be an obvious step, and that’s because it is one of the most important steps to implement AR for business. Implementing AR without identifying the objective will be like getting an AR solution that would be used sometimes but not constantly, even though the device is very novel and innovative. Let’s take the example of the automotive industry. Suppose an automotive company wants to create an AR solution that can provide safety solutions to first responders in case of an accident, but it invests in a solution that simply provides details about the car. This solution will only help the company to promote its cars to buyers, but it will not provide the end solution that the company wanted. Thus, finding the objectives of the AR solution becomes the most basic task for a business who wants to implement AR in their workflows.
Once the objective of creating an AR solution is known, the next step would be to analyze the work environment where a business would implement AR. Parameters like the availability of internet connections, lightning conditions, and the need for a hands-free solution would impact the type of device a business chooses for an AR solution. For example, for the manufacturing industry, the AR device chosen should be a head-mounted display so that both the hands of labors would be free to perform other tasks.
Also, some AR glasses might perform differently according to the surrounding environment. For instance, whether the solution would be used indoors or outdoors and whether it may be used in daylight or not. Such parameters change the surrounding environment, and hence AR glasses need to adapt to that environment to provide an accurate augmented environment. For example, some 2D cameras used by AR glasses might not function accurately in outdoor conditions and might not be able to display real-like environment mapping.
Profit is the ultimate goal of every business. And hence, it becomes very important for companies to define ROI before implementing AR in their workflows. A business should take into consideration how much time and money will AI implementation save them. For instance, determining whether the implementation of AR will be useful for the short term or long term will help them define an ROI strategy. For instance, if AR implementation is for the short term, then how much a company should plan to invest in it, and will it be able to give profit within that short term or not.
If the implementation is for the long term, then the AR solution has to be robust and scalable so that it can be used for any other task in the future if need be. For example, a manufacturing company has first implemented an AR solution so that labors can scan the QR code of a packed box and get information about the products within it. But now, the company also wants the AR solution to help labors get the shipping information. Then the hardware of the AR solution has to be scalable so that developers can add more features to it that can help extract shipping information along with product information.
While introducing not only an AR solution but also any other systems into businesses’ current systems, it is essential to check how easily the new system will integrate with the current one. And that’s because most of the operational data of businesses would be stored in their current systems; hence, the seamless integration of the new system ensures that merging of both the systems does not cause much disruption. For instance, CRM is an essential software for any company to maintain its relationship with its customers. But, if an AR solution is not able to integrate with the CRM system of a company, then employees will find it challenging to use both systems simultaneously. And, this will cause performance pressure on employees leading to loss of business.
AR solutions require many features that help them to achieve whatever they do. And, developers develop these features with the help of SDKs. Thus it is important to know which SDK vendors can provide kits that will be required to create the necessary features. For instance, all SDK vendors provide reliable target recognition features that can accurately determine the distance between a specific target and camera to create an augmented environment. But AR devices require multiple target recognition feature so that they can recognize multiple targets at a time and create an augmented environment appropriate to each target.
Also, for some complex features, AR SDK vendors should provide dynamic target recognition so that AR devices can dynamically recognize addition or changes in targets in the surroundings. For instance, the surrounding environment keeps on changing, and AR devices need to adapt to the changes in surroundings for seamless functioning.
Safety is an essential consideration in no matter what type of solution a business implements. Safety will not be a big issue if the business will have an on-premise database as access to data will be granted to limited people. But, if the database is on the clouds, then the company will have to take measures to secure the flow of data from AR devices to the clouds and vice-versa. For instance, not only business administrators but also others like cloud vendors will have access to their data, and also the maintenance of data will not be under the control of businesses as vendors will be responsible for data maintenance and regulation. Hence businesses should select trustworthy cloud vendors and ask them to regularly back up their data and increase security.
Another security challenge is that there are no legitimate regulations for the use of AR devices. Hence, AR devices can not only be used for a positive impact on business but also for malicious activities within an organization by any fellow employee. By considering these factors, you can ensure that you make the right decision on which AR solution and device you can choose for your business. By considering these factors, you also ensure that your AR solution has a positive impact on your business with constant use and not as a gimmick.
Naveen is the Founder and CEO of Allerin, a software solutions provider that delivers innovative and agile solutions that enable to automate, inspire and impress. He is a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience, with extensive experience in customizing open source products for cost optimizations of large scale IT deployment. He is currently working on Internet of Things solutions with Big Data Analytics. Naveen completed his programming qualifications in various Indian institutes.