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Augmented Reality and the Future of the Work Environment

Augmented Reality and the Future of the Work Environment,

Augmented Reality (AR) is transforming the way we work. The rapid growth of computing power and the maturation of 5G capabilities are feeding the development of AR technologies, and making AR systems more flexible and accessible for use in the workplace. These use cases include boosting worker productivity, enhancing collaboration, and increasing workplace safety.

Consider a scenario in which you want to digitize an image of an object from your physical space and place it into your PowerPoint or Keynote presentation. First, you would take a picture using your camera phone or another digital camera. Next, you would probably connect the phone or camera to your computer via either a USB cable, memory card, or a cloud drive and transfer the photo. At this point, you would need to crop or edit the image to remove any unnecessary background. Finally, you would drag the image from the correct folder and drop it into your document. This is a process we have become accustomed to, so we may not realize the number of steps, devices, and applications it takes to accomplish an otherwise straightforward task.

© Cyril Diagne

Now, imagine you can use a single app on your mobile device to capture a perfectly-cropped digital image of the object and drop it into a document that lives on your computer. With the release of the AR Copy Paste app (currently in beta), you will be able to do just that. This app presents a time-saving value by allowing you to consolidate steps in the typical image capture and upload process, so you can work faster, spend more energy on other tasks, and be more productive overall. With AR, apps like AR Copy Paste are able to bridge the gap between the real world and the digital world, allowing graphic designers, editors, marketers, and other professionals to interact more efficiently between the two realms.

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In addition to increasing personal productivity, AR also has the ability to enhance the productiveness of teams by supporting remote collaboration. Now more than ever, there is a growing demand for creating an effective remote workplace. Spatial is one tool that leverages AR to allow people to work together virtually and seamlessly. Put on a set of AR goggles to see your virtual workspace. You can hold meetings with coworkers who appear as digital avatars of themselves in your environment, without any travel required. You can write, share, and manipulate virtual sticky notes with your hands for brainstorming sessions with teammates. The information you share through Spatial is dynamic and not limited by the size of your computer screen or your physical proximity to your colleagues. Applications like Spatial highlight the ways in which AR can be used to bring people and ideas together digitally, thereby creating a more connected work environment.

© Spatial Systems, Inc.

Finally, AR is being applied in industrial settings and changing the way we train workers, ensure high quality output, and enhance workers’ safety. BMW’s production group, for example, employs AR-based applications in order to virtually train their employees in areas such as engine assembly and lean processes, with trainees viewing digital visuals and instructions through AR goggles for step-by-step instruction. Along these lines, AR can also be used to help with quality control by equipping inspectors with wearable glasses that show assistive information during inspections. AGCO, an agricultural equipment manufacturer, uses such glasses when manufacturing glass to replace computers and tablets, which are not easily accessible or are hard to manage during the time of inspection. Lastly, in other applications, AR combined with geographic information system (GIS) technology can improve safety by making it possible for industrial workers to virtually see what is beneath their work surface, whether it be pipes, cables, or other utilities they need to avoid.

© BMW Group

AR is making our workplaces smarter, more productive, and safer. Helping to further these advancements and make AR even more accessible, echoAR is a 3D-ready cloud platform for AR and virtual reality (VR) that provides tools and server-side infrastructure to help developers and companies quickly build and deploy AR/VR apps and experiences. The echoAR platform allows you to build your backend in minutes, easily manage 3D content, and deliver that content anywhere.

By Nupur Sutaria

echoAR (http://www.echoAR.xyz; Techstars ’19) is a cloud platform for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) that provides tools and server-side infrastructure to help developers & companies quickly build and deploy AR/VR apps and experiences.

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Augmented Reality and the Future of the Work Environment was originally published in AR/VR Journey: Augmented & Virtual Reality Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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