Will augmented reality change our working lives in the future?
Augmented reality technology, the most well-known example being Google Glass (although other firms revealed their offerings as CES 2014 this year), involves virtual displays and commands not limited to touch. According to research firm Gartner, this kind of technology will soon become an internal tool which complements traditional working lives -- including employee training, business processes and manufacturing.
"Augmented reality is the real-time use of information in the form of text, graphics, audio and other virtual enhancements integrated with real-world objects," said Tuong Huy Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner. "AR leverages and optimizes the use of other technologies such as mobility, location, 3D content management and imaging and recognition. It is especially useful in the mobile environment because it enhances the user's senses via digital instruments to allow faster responses or decision-making."
Nguyen said that the uses of AR are endless, including finding objects contaminated with radiation in dangerous environments (hopefully, not in your office!), and providing additional information about "objects of interest" as well as a user's surroundings -- which suggests the military could also use this technology.
As mapping technology and location-based services improve, so does the potential of augmented reality. For example, firefighters could use the technology to determine ambient temperature or a building layout so they know safety exits and potentially dangerous areas.
In the enterprise sphere, the research firm says that some companies are experimenting with uses of AR, and increased adoption of mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, will further the industry.
"AR is most useful as a tool in industries where workers are either in the field, do not have immediate access to information, or jobs that require one or both hands and the operator's attention," said Mr. Nguyen. "As such, the impact on weightless industries is lower because these employees often have constant and direct access to the information they need (such as knowledge workers)."
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