Augmented reality is widely applicable in these 6 industries.

VR is a jetpack: it’s always about to work. But behind the six monthly rounds of headlines about how consumers are sure to embrace virtual reality this time, it’s less-famous, harder-working brother, augmented reality, is set for a takeover. Just look at the businesses AR is already in the process of transforming.

Retail

Augmented reality is set to transform retail. In particular, the world of fashion retail will see new opportunities for trying on

  • clothing
  • personal styling like haircuts
  • makeup
  • jewelry
  • men’s suits

MAC cosmetics has already begun testing in-store virtual mirrors allowing customers to test makeup effortlessly, and for free. The mirror, created by cosmetics augmented reality specialists ModiFace, overlays styles of eye makeup on a live video of the subject.

Overcoming the inability to see and feel fabrics and colors before purchase has been a major stumbling block for the retail sector, and customers are reluctant to experiment with new makeup products if they don’t know how they will look against their skin.

Meanwhile retailers are working with augmented reality to achieve similar results, like IKEA’s augmented reality catalogs that allow users to ‘see’ furniture they’re considering buying as it would look in their homes. Amazon recently introduced a similar feature that will soon be available to all its customers.

Social Media

Whatever Facebook offers for free to its users, it’s very clear about what it offers its advertisers—attention and engagement. And as engagement with traditional movie ads falls, Facebook has found a use for Oculus, the VR company it purchased in 2014.

It ran advertisements for the new Jumanji movie as a 360 AR game that rewards players with clips and previews for the film. It’s an innovative marketing technique that shows the way forward for Facebook and other social channels in a world where AR is already becoming more commonplace.

Automotive

The first use of AR in cars is the transition from a dashboard to a heads-up display that shows drivers vital information on the windshield, where they can view it without looking away from the road. It’s a safety feature, but the fact that it’s commonly used in the cockpits of fighter jets will also help it to sell.

But AR could form part of the transition to driverless vehicles. There’s likely to be a transition period in which an increasing number of decisions are made by onboard AI but human drivers still control the car. In that case, AR could help by showing drivers what decisions their robot copilots are making.

“With fully driverless cars expected to be available to regular consumers by 2025,” said Vitaly Ponomarev, Founder of vehicular AR startup WayRay, “AR will be playing an important social role by helping users to adjust to the new reality.”

Education

Google sees a place for AR in education via its Expeditions tool that works by mapping the physical classroom and 3D objects and allowing intuitive interactions with them. Students can use mobile devices to view a miniature Category 5 hurricane or a strand of DNA.

There are even more uses for AR outside of the school classroom—especially in training doctors and medical personnel. Google has competition from its traditional nemesis, Apple, which has made its iOS 11 AR-enabled. Now medical students, and the merely curious, can see inside their own bodies with apps from the App Store.

Entertainment

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard of Pokemon Go. The game that swept the world before it was even officially released isn’t the only entertainment application for AR, though. Games played against others using smartphones as handsets, like Father.io, are in beta: your smartphone functions as the handset for a real-life first-person shooter.

Even traditional card-collecting games aren’t immune to AR’s allure. Yu-gi-Oh, the popular card trading and combat game, now has multiple smartphone apps, including one, YGO mini, specifically aimed at bringing real-life Yu-Gi-Oh cards to life. When the HoloLens app becomes available, it will reputedly offer this functionality for all Yu-Gi-Oh cards and deliver an AR Yu-Gi-Oh experience across the whole game.

The future of gaming might be changed in this direction and video games are among the most commercially successful forms of entertainment as well as the one with greatest and most various market penetration.

Fintech

Consumer-facing fintech improvements include apps for helping users find the nearest ATM, or immediately getting information on any house they pass that’s for sale.

But industry fintech changes are set to be the most transformative.

One crucial function of the fintech industry is to analyze financial information and obtain insights from it.

The sheer quantity of information is now beyond the ability of traditional methods. Insights need to be acquired promptly or they’re of reduced value, and while AI has some applications in the field, many of the insights derived from financial data are judgment calls.

That means there’s a need for a human-applicable way of understanding huge volumes of data intuitively and quickly.

CitiBank traders have been testing Microsoft’s HoloLens as an immersive trading environment, hoping to improve traders’ ability to spot trends in a gestalt way.

And CRM leader Salesforce is already using Oculus Rift technology to provide sales and financial data in visible AR form to its users.

Conclusion

While Virtual Reality struggles to find a platform that people actually want to use, augmented reality is forging ahead. Many speculate within a five-year period, AR will be as familiar as the mobile web. It’s already finding a home in

  • business
  • shopping
  • leisure
  • education

And its reliance on the ubiquitous smartphone as a platform means it’s likely to slip seamlessly into our lives and businesses. In fact, the process has already begun.

About the Author: Yana Yelina is a Technology Writer at Oxagile, a provider of software engineering and IT consulting services. Her articles have been featured on ITProPortal, Business2Community, UX Matters, and Datafloq, to name a few. Yana is passionate about the untapped potential of technology and explores the perks it can bring businesses of every stripe. You can reach Yana at yana.yelina@oxagile.com or connect via LinkedIn or Twitter.