Augmented reality applications are already being put to use in a number of industries. Despite the relative youth of technology, the future is looking pretty bright across a variety of industries.
The healthcare industry will drive much future growth in the augmented reality market, largely because AR presents so many unique opportunities for patients and health providers. Whether it’s medical students using training programs to practice surgical techniques or doctors being able to observe a patient’s vitals and refer to images from MRI or CT scans during treatment, AR technology will help to bridge the gap between digital data and the medical professionals who utilize it. Not only will improvements be seen in treatment in care, but it may have the potential to impact access to specialists and providers in regions that face scarcity issues.
Military AR Investments
Of course, government investment will always be a major factor in the technology’s development and growth. The US military has been experimenting with different augmented reality trends for several years in its effort to deliver actionable data to personnel without overloading them with choices. By incorporating data drawn from multiple sources, augmented reality devices will allow soldiers to identify threats, access GPS data, and obtain remote views of the battlefield. Perhaps the most noteworthy (and expensive) success in this regard is the F-35 fighter jet’s $400,000 helmet, which not only allows the pilot to look through the plane itself, but also identifies and provides information about any object in the pilot’s field of view.
The AR Shopping Experience
AR will become an even larger part of the retail market. Many retail chains have gone to great lengths to roll out augmented reality technology that allows shoppers to use their smartphones to learn more about products and make better choices that suit their needs. Wearable AR devices will allow retailers to send notifications and deliver a customized shopping experience based on consumer preferences.
AR in the Classroom
Augmented reality market size and awareness will continue to grow as it is adapted for educational uses. The interactive nature of the technology makes it an ideal fit for the classroom of the future. An augmented reality device or program can scan materials like books, worksheets, or flashcards and provide additional information and resources for students to engage with on their own terms. Interactive games and activities can also be designed to reinforce key concepts and help students learn more effectively. The technology can also help students with disabilities overcome challenges in the classroom, making education one of the best use cases for AR.
Auto Investments in AR Technology
Automotive companies will continue to be a major force in AR development. Many manufacturers are investing in far more ambitious projects. Paired with other smart city technologies, AR could help to improve safety and optimize traffic patterns to alleviate highway congestion.
The AR Factory
Judging from AR statistics, industrial and mixed manufacturing will also benefit immensely from augmented reality. The factory floor has always been a complex and potentially hazardous environment, but AR technology will provide a new level of visibility. Workers can now use augmented reality devices to have ready access to important technical information as well as identify what machinery is in use and where danger zones are located. Boeing, for instance, now utilizes AR glasses to assist technicians while wiring many of its planes, cutting production time by 25 percent and greatly reducing errors. Expect this to become cross-industry, improving production speeds and product innovation.
AR in the Travel Industry
The extreme portability of AR applications already has an impact on the tourism industry. With AR technology, visiting popular tourist sites will become a dynamic and interactive experience. Smartphone apps and wearable augmented reality devices will allow visitors to museums and historic sites to learn everything they ever wanted to know about them with a quick scan of the area. Imagine visiting the Colosseum of Rome and seeing it as it might have looked in its heyday through an AR display or augmented reality games. As augmented reality trends and technology develop, the tourism industry will surely be one of the leading AR use cases.
AR Smart Glasses and Field Service
Smartglasses will fundamentally transform many field service roles. Field service technicians are faced with the difficult task of working on myriad equipment with varying technical specifications, often in confined or hard to reach spaces. With AR headsets, they will have all of the information they need displayed right in front of them while keeping their hands free to work. Sophisticated sensors will also deliver real-time data about the status of equipment, helping to identify parts that need to be replaced soon or highlighting potential dangers that might not be visible to the naked eye. Field service may not be one of the first areas that comes to mind with this new technology, but it represents one of the best places for growth in the augmented reality market.
Wearable AR Devices
The combination of AR and wearable devices that gather physiological data will continue to revolutionize the way people exercise and train, creating a range of opportunities for ambitious startups willing to think outside the box. Although a variety of smartphone apps are already cleverly using augmented reality games to promote a more active lifestyle, wearable augmented reality devices will take these concepts to the next level while integrating health information to help people customize the ideal workout for their fitness needs.
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