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Augmenting the reality of business

Reality is what we perceive with our senses. It is what we observe, process and live through. Technology has already forever altered how we experience reality, but the new augmented technology is giving far greater control to the consumer by allowing individuals to alter what they see, hear and even feel.

As the digital world becomes increasingly tangible, the value placed on digital and physical objects is also being redefined. There are growing demands for digital interactions that imitate contact with people and objects in real time. This is fundamentally transforming the nature of communication – and every sector will be impacted by the fluidity that talent and skills can be instantly available across borders.

 

Location-free talent

The rise of customised reality will usher in a job market that is less location-dependent. Talent will be able to operate on different sides of the world at the same time, collaborating in a richer way and information-sharing in new, experimental formats.

Ways of working re-imagined

Unprecedented levels of digital collaboration and the gamification of work will be enabled by augmented reality technology. Previous ways of working will need to be revised and refreshed, with new skills needed to keep teams productive and communicative in a mixed-reality landscape.

The use of augmented reality software or hardware in the workplace remains fairly low in 2018, but interest in its potential applications is high. Experts foresee these technologies impacting our daily life in a wide variety of ways, and it would appear that many institutions, companies and brands are already exploring the power of AR and wearables to create personalised experiences.

The more technology we wear, implant or ingest, the more of our data it is gathering. With the recent implementation of the GDPR across Europe and similar initiatives worldwide, the question as to how information is stored and processed is front of mind for most businesses.

Recent innovations in augmented reality

The next generation of augmentation technologies will offer our workplace a new reality, where virtual adjustments can be dialled up or down. Consumers will be able to switch between inconspicuous tech which simply enhances their reality to full-blown immersion into another world. More and more we will start hearing the term “mixed reality”, in which consumers and professionals can comfortably interact with digital objects in physical spaces.

Democratisation of AR

One of the clearest recent examples of how ubiquitous and accessible AR is becoming is Apple’s ARKit platform which enables expert developers and casual users alike to create augmented reality apps for iOS devices. Announced in August 2017, the software development suite hails a new era of development and skill sets for the existing job market to conquer.

Consumers will come to depend on augmented reality (AR) as a way of enriching their experience of products and services. Additional AR functionality is likely to be added to the next generation of smart devices that consumers are already accustomed to using, averting the need to invest in expensive and unfamiliar hardware.

Arcades

In 2017 M&Ms turned New York’s Times Square into an AR gaming experience to launch a new flavour of their product. By using the downloadable Blippar app, users could gain access to the ‘Arcade’ which turned the Square’s famous billboards into interactive digital games. The use of AR by brands and advertisers has wide implications on advertising space and may well become an integral part of the marketer’s toolbox.

Super Soldiers

The United States Army is giving its soldiers improved situational awareness with the use of AR technology. Appropriately branded ‘Tactical Augmented Reality’ (TAR) the tech tracks the position of each soldier as well as their comrades. The eyepiece is connected wirelessly to a tablet the soldiers carry on their waist and connects to an optical sight mounted on their weapon. Looking through the lens, they are able to see data such as distance to target and thermal signals.

What are the key trends and how are they likely to impact the future of work? We explore the following future trends:


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