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Augmented Reality in the Workplace

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you imagine the workplace of the future? 

According to some experts, the future of work is virtual – powered in large part by augmented and mixed reality technologies like Microsoft HoloLens, Magic Leap One, and AR-enabled phones and smart devices. 

Imagine – you arrive at your job, place a pair of AR glasses over your eyes, and suddenly your entire workspace appears digitally layered on top of the world around you. To your left, you see your email inbox, Twitter, and other virtual screens on clear display – to your right, a wall of virtual notes and reminders float in midair, exactly where you left them during your previous work session. You then arrive at your first meeting of the day, you and your fellow co-workers’ avatars appearing “present” around a virtual conference room table. Oh, and all of this is happening from the comfort of your own home. Sounds almost like science fiction, right? 

Thankfully, businesses won’t have to wait long to begin reaping the potential benefits of AR-enabled workspaces – today, there are numerous cutting-edge organizations that build new tools and technologies in preparation for this so-called “workplace of the future.” Check out the examples we identified below, then let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn if you’ve seen other cutting-edge applications of AR at play in the workplace!

Optimizing Productivity

For Microsoft, the introduction of augmented reality in the workplace means helping businesses and their staff complete their work faster, safer, and more efficiently than previously imaginable. Specifically, the company aims to harness line of HoloLens mixed reality headsets to help optimize key workflows among “first line” workers – that is, the estimated 2 billion+ workers who are the first to engage with customers, products, and services on the front lines of businesses worldwide. From helping field service workers effortlessly communicate with remote experts when solving problems to training employees on new products, processes, and equipment, Microsoft remains steadfast in their belief that augmented and mixed reality will play a sizable role in helping usher in a new era of workplace productivity.

Improving Collaboration

As detailed in our Remote Collaboration and Telecommunication blog series, many of today’s teleconferencing technologies are…lackluster, to say the least. But what if AR could change this? That’s the mission behind Spatial – an augmented reality-powered collaboration platform that promises to turn any room into an “infinite workspace.” A collective computing environment that brings both people and their work together in a shared, visual space, Spatial has already been embraced as a remote collaboration tool by industry-leading organizations like Mattel and Ford. And while the service supports cutting-edge AR headsets like HoloLens, it’s also worth noting that Spatial supports traditional desktop PC use as well – ensuring that their platform remains accessible to businesses and workers worldwide, whether or not they have invested in dedicated AR hardware.

Enhancing Safety

We’ve previously established that VR can serve as an excellent method of providing safe, simulated training scenarios to workers in a variety of industries – and augmented reality holds similar potential, as evidenced by the above video from Siemens. Using professional grade Daqri AR headsets, Siemens staff at a power plant in Toul, France have digitized many of their operations, from operations to on-site training. Using AR glasses, visuals can be overlaid on top of a user’s vision, allowing workers the ability to access features like digital measurement tools and operating data without needing to stop and reference external materials. Adopted by many engineers as an “on-site information tool,” Siemens’ AR capabilities extend into the realm of employee training, too – allowing trainees to familiarize themselves with common processes via specialized training sequences and “remote assistance” directly from trainers, helping to ensure that all employees are adequately appraised of key safety measures prior to completing future tasks themselves.

Filament’s education and training expertise extends well into the world of AR/VR for learning…check out some of our previous articles:

How XR Training Can Help Save Your Business Money
Augmented Reality and Training
Virtual Reality for Sports Training

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