Augmented Reality Use Cases (That’s Not Games)

Image Source: Gov Loop

Augment Reality (AR) has received a lot of attention with the success of Pokemon Go. AR aims to extract animations and place them into real-world environments. It has essentially merged the gap between reality and computer generated simulations by manipulating what the user experiences via sight, sound, smell and touch. In brief, AR integrates animations into your reality so the general setting looks the same but with some few added details. Although AR is related to Virtual Reality (VR), the two technologies are not synonymous. VR produces computer generated simulations of an environment that users can experience by wearing a helmet or gloves with built-in sensors. Read my previous blog on VR for more insight. AR on the other hand allows users to experience the technology simply by glancing into the screen of an Android, iPhone or other mobile device such as a tablet. AR is altering the world as we know it or at least changing the way people experience the world. The Pokémon explosion is probably the most well-known platform that has utilized AR for gaming. It may sound silly to some, but the game is highly addictive. To understand specific reasons behind this obsession, read my previous blog to learn why Pokémon Go has become so successful. To gain a better understanding of how app developers have taken advantage of this innovative technology, we will look at a few providers who have successfully used AR for non-gaming purposes.

Health and Education with AR: Anatomy 4D

This app is a cloud-based, interactive examining simulation resource for academic uses. It offers users with online access to anatomy data while analyzing detailed bone structures and organ systems. This can be done by downloading specialized research templates or by enabling structure projection and layer blending. Anatomy 4D allows project structures to synch with skin to analyze coordination and position. Users can also adequately balance the layers to reveal discrete anatomic implications. You can also hover over objects or images to reveal detailed information via label view. It is these perspectives that produce enhanced learning retention by granting students an in-depth look at any part of the body they are studying. This also is useful for medical instructors who can organize image and structure curriculums along with managing lessons and tests.

Image Source: mzstatic

Shopping with AR: Pair

This app enables users to place animated images of furniture into their space so they can perfectly visualize how it would look in real life.  Pair’s tag line is “The New Way to Try Before you Buy with Augmented Reality.” Indeed the app grants prospects an easier method to experience the end result of their interior design project. For example, let’s say you just purchased your first home and the space is completely empty. You would be able to walk room to room while viewing how you would want it to look through your mobile device. You’d be able to put furniture, pictures and other items in designated areas of the space, swap them out, switch them around etc. Cool right? Still, Pair has a much more expansive purpose than simply furniture and can enhance scientific, educational and commercial projects by giving spectators a 3D demonstration of what a particular vision would look like. I was able to see Pair in action during 500 Startups Batch 18 Demo Day and it’s pretty impressive.

Graphic Source: Google Plus

Mechanics and Construction with AR: AMA XpertEye

This month, AMA XpertEye will supply workers of the Keolis Commuter Services (KCS) in Massachusetts with AR smart glasses to improve communication and boost efficiency on their railway transportation system. These specialized glasses stream the video being recorded tethered to a mobile device. The remote supervisor monitors the recording over a laptop. From there, both parties can “exchange written messages and take screenshots of the video, annotate the images, and send them to each other.” Ultimately, their goal is to speed up delays caused from train repairs and other technical difficulties that may get them off track. Additionally, Keolis is considering the technology for training purposes so newcomers can literally see through the eyes of their seasoned field workers.


Image Source: AMA XpertEye

Sports and Play with AR: RideOn Vision

This cutting edge technology created by Heads up Display is seen with their RideOn Ski Goggles. These one of a kind specs allow users to access heightened assistance while skiing or snowboarding the slopes. Map navigation systems can guide users easily through the rough and diverse terrain better than ever before. You can also communicate with other riders, see their whereabouts and even text them hands-free. In addition, the goggles allow riders to capture their surroundings and share them online for others to see. The company is also developing games that can be played directly through these exclusive lenses. And of course, users can jam to their own personalized soundtrack as they ride, jump, flip and recover from a wipe out.  Although the technology is geared for the snow, it’s useful for motorcyclists, ATV riders and other similar vehicles.


Image Source: Pintrest

As technology progresses, it will be interesting to see what other AR use cases are developed.

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

Using Smartphone / Tablet Apps to Improve Your Business Process


The New Way to Deposit Checks

The New Way to Deposit Checks

In a previous blog, I talked about ways that smartphone apps can enhance a business.  Specifically I focused on apps being used as a marketing and branding tool.  In this blog, I will discuss how apps can become part of the business process.  I’ll break this down into two areas:  External and Internal.

External Process

One of most impressive examples I’ve seen on how apps have improved a business process is the Chase Bank App.   With their app, a user can deposit a check by taking a picture with it on their iPhone or Android device.  The impact to their business has been stunning.  I’ve talked to a few Chase employees and they estimate traffic into branch offices has decreased by 40% after with their app.  I’ve noticed personally that despite having 6 bank windows, they never have more then 2 tellers.   If a line does start to form, the bankers (the employees that don’t sit behind the teller windows) have been trained to pick people from the line and help them with their transaction.  While doing so, they actually have an opportunity to upsell their customer with other banking services such as new credit  cards or a  loan re-finance.

For smaller business, the function that makes the function that makes the most sense in changing the business process is allowing their customers to order product from their phone.  A good example is a restaurant having an app that allows their customer to order food.  People are inherently lazy and tend to go to the path of least resistance.  So, if you can make it easy for your clients to order from the convenience of their smartphone, they will continue to do so over and over.

Internal Process

We’ve talked to a number of clients that are looking for apps / mobile devices to improve their internal process.   For example, we did a project for  a hospital system where we developed an iPad app for a primary care physician to quickly and easily refer a patient to a specialist during a patient visit.  Prior to this , it was a cumbersome task that was typically done by a medical assistant on a desktop computer after the patient had been examined by the  primary care physician.

We did another project for a construction company where the app significantly improved their punch list process.  At the end of a construction project, an inspector will examine a project looking for things that need to be fixed.  The inspector would typically take notes and pictures then go back to the office and put together  a punch list report.  With the app we developed for our client, the inspector can take  pictures with  their smartphone, add notes and at the end of the walk through push a button that generates a report in a PDF format.  The client has reported that this  has saved them four hours per project.

If you are looking to improve your business  process with an app on a tablet or  smartphone, my recommendation is to study your current process and get feedback from the people that  do the work.  They typically will have insight on a problem since they do the work on a daily basis.

To summarize the blog, a well designed  app on a smartphone can dramatically improve your business process both internally and externally.