Augmented reality is so last year (and the year before).
Or is it?
Though the high-tech glasses that once littered San Francisco’s streets and mobile games that drove hordes to Central Park to “catch ‘em all” have seemingly fallen by the wayside, AR remains a viable part of emerging technology. Startups and tech giants are still vying to get some skin in the AR game. The problem is this: the largely coastal tech hubs seem disconnected from one of AR’s most promising application.
Across the U.S., where blue collar work is more prominent, the state of AR isn’t a pipe dream—it’s already fully functional. Manual laborers, especially those who work in manufacturing and out in the field, are utilizing the technology and improving their company’s bottom line. For example, old, antiquated manuals often slow production, but with the help of AR, workers can increase efficiency, accuracy and safety.
“Your work instructions tend to be these PDFs that are hard to work through, plus they’re static documents, so they may be out of date,” Ash Eldritch, CEO and co-founder of augmented reality software company Vital Enterprises, told Engineering.com. “We take those instructions and make them glanceable in your field of view at all times, hands-free and voice-controlled.”
The software powering AR in blue collar fields like manufacturing and construction tap into a vast (and growing) network that provides workers with assets like updated schematics and the capability to communicate directly via AR hardware with a general contractor or manager who’s not even on site.
While AR advancements in consumer use are still being ironed out, augmented reality’s real-world application may help save industries that traditionally blame technology for its demise. In fact, Forrester Research predicts that by 2025, over 14 million workers in the U.S. will wear AR-powered smart glasses.