23-05-2019 | By Christian Cawley

For years, virtual reality has been posited as the solution to several technological challenges. From architecture to surgery, Virtual reality (VR) has been rightly lauded. But at a time when VR is mostly used in gaming, it's time for augmented reality to step forward and begin to revolutionise the way businesses operate in the 21st century.

Augmented Reality for Design and Creative Departments

This is a particularly straightforward use of AR. Designers can expect augmented reality to have a largely positive impact on their field, with apps developed to aid in the rendering of designs in a 3D space. Clearly, this could have massive benefits for demonstrating products, as well as detecting and revising minor-but-critical design flaws.

Colleague Training AR

Augmented reality applications can also be employed at the employee training stage. This might be in-house, but more likely at an external location, or perhaps a local university campus.

The modern challenge of training across a large company and disseminating the same level of training for each colleague, can be addressed with AR. Similarly, medical students can develop complex surgical skills in an augmented reality environment.

Tools such as Microsoft Hololens can be used here - for example, CAE Healthcare is integrating Microsoft Hololens into its 3D environment training.

There is even potential for new employees to be efficiently trained on workplace operations with minimal risk thanks to AR. This could be applied on everything from telesales to engineering.

Augmenting Retail & Customer Experience Realities

It's not all about the business behind-the-scenes. Augmented reality can have a huge impact on the customer-facing side of a business.

Augment is one company helping major brands embrace AR, even producing a mobile app to accompany various commercial AR applications, from education to interior design.

Meanwhile, high street retailers could use AR to present information about a product based on its barcode or even name. Going further, fashion retailers could employ smart mirrors with AR functionality to let buyers try an outfit without even wearing it.

Where next for augmented reality? As the technology improves, its potential can be extended into general education, farming, and of course the obligatory military applications, to name just three.

By Christian Cawley

Christian Cawley is a freelance technology writer, with a background in healthcare and financial services industries. He writes extensively online, and contributes to print periodicals and specials.