In addition to being aware of the business benefits of augmented reality (AR) and devising applications to make the most of it, organizations should also recognize the potential dangers of AR in the early stages of planning to guarantee successful implementation.
The coalescence of the real and digital worlds brought about by AR, along with reshaping our perception of reality, also promises to reshape the actual world we live in. Applications of AR technology are emerging in nearly every industry from military to medicine to improve real-time visual information sharing. However, like any other technology, AR also brings a few risks and hazards to users. Overcoming these dangers of AR should be prioritized by organizations planning on incorporating the technology into their processes, be it for their employees or customers.
1. Information Overload
The advent of the internet followed by the introduction of social media has led to the exponential growth in the generation and sharing of information. The spread of mobile technology has made it easy for people to access massive amounts of information from various sources, which will only get easier with wearable AR technology like AR smart glasses. This information overload can cause stress, indecisiveness and can lead to inaction, which defeats AR’s purpose of enabling quick action using real-time information. Regulating the amount of data that can be accessed through various AR applications should be a key problem to solve for organizations seeking to apply this technology.
2. Perception Impairment
While AR glasses are a key component of the technology, it is also most prone to compromising people’s safety. AR glasses and lenses made through substandard design and manufacturing processes can potentially cause impairment in the perception of the wearer and may lead to serious consequences depending on the application. Ensuring the compliance of AR equipment to the highest standards of quality and safety will ensure the use of the technology without subjecting users to the dangers of AR.
Although AR is capable of delivering valuable information to users either in a hands-free or a hand-held manner, it may also act as a distraction sometimes. Employees newly equipped with the technology might find AR to be more of a distraction and a hindrance, than the enabler it purports to be. Distractions caused by AR can be especially dangerous when used for activities like driving or surgeries. To prevent the dangers of AR-induced distraction, organizations should train the users well to ensure a smooth transition from non-AR to AR-enabled operations.
AR devices work by first capturing the real-world scene, analyzing it, and then overlaying extra visual information over it, or ‘augmenting’ the reality. Thus, collecting data is an essential part of AR functioning. AR devices gather data on not only the users of the devices but also the people being viewed through the devices. This may not be ideal for ensuring personal privacy, which will definitely be affected when AR gains mass adoption. Devising ways to preserve personal privacy despite the mass propagation of AR will be a challenge for organizations.
Like any other connected technology, AR is vulnerable to security threats and unauthorized access by hacker attacks and malware. These attacks can lead to a denial of service or overlay wrong information, leading to severe, potentially catastrophic consequences. For instance, hacker can misdirect a driver using AR-powered navigation system and cause accidents. Although organizations should be excited at the prospect of using AR for various applications, they should not overlook the real-life dangers of AR. Not addressing the potential hazards associated with the technology at an early stage will lead to major setbacks and complications during the full-scale implementation of the technology and may prove counterproductive to the purpose of AR, which is to make things easier.