28 Sep, 2017

Augmented Reality Is The Future Of Digital Transformation


Imagine a world that looks entirely like our already existing natural environment, except with different elements like virtual graphics, touch feedback, and sounds integrated into our everyday activities.

Well, with augmented reality, you have just that, sometimes, without even knowing it.

Augmented reality offers users experiences that are new and improved, where virtual information is simply used as a tool, as both virtual and real worlds exist together. Reality Technologies described augmented reality technically:

“An enhanced version of reality where live direct or indirect views of physical real-world environments are augmented with superimposed computer-generated images over a user’s view of the real-world, thus enhancing one’s current perception of reality.”

We’ve discussed a tool similar but very different than augmented reality called virtual reality. Both of them are innovative and combat digital transformation in many ways, but also offer users different experiences.

Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality

Virtual and augmented realities both hold the power to completely transform our world using digital elements. They both are able to change our perspective, but depending on our different experiences.

The main difference between these two features is that virtual reality forces users into an inhabit of a virtual environment, with no real aspects involved. It is able to completely alter the user’s perspective towards digital through tools like closed visors or goggles. The second you put the goggles on, you are suddenly in a different world entirely.

Augmented reality, on the other hand, is so unique in the sense that it incorporates digital elements into our everyday lives. It can be as simple as using our mobile phones for navigation or as complicated as assisting surgeons to perform neurosurgeries.

“Visualizations aid in explaining complex medical conditions to patients. Augmented reality can reduce the risk of an operation by giving the surgeon improved sensory perception. This technology can be combined with MRI or X-ray systems and bring everything into a single view for the surgeon.” Lifewire reports. 

Augmented reality has the ability to enhance data, highlight features and simply assist us to perform everyday tasks. It augments our current state by adding a virtual element to it, and it can be integrated into many industries and tasks.

So, how does augmented reality really work? 

I know it may seem complicated to understand how easy things can transform to become virtually interactive and how it can be so accessible to us. And, it turns out, the process involves some elements that may seem complicated.  Understanding the technical process of AR will create new perspectives for users.

That is why we will start with the basics to fully understand how it works.

First, it is crucial to understand where you can find augmented reality. We will get into the different functions of AR later on, but for now, it is important to know where to look for it. We see AR in computers displays, phone displays, apps and even in different types of equipment like headsets. Augment broke these uses down:

“Through mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, Augmented Reality acts like a magic window; through the viewer, you can see holograms and manipulate 3D models. Hundreds of Augmented Reality apps are available on iPhone, iPad, and Android.

On head-mounted displays, glasses, and lenses Augmented Reality becomes a part of your entire field of view, making for more life-like Augmented Reality experiences. It almost feels like Ironman with the help of Jarvis.”

Where it began…

Augmented reality was discovered by researcher Thomas Caudell who coined the term. At the time, he was not referring to mobile phones or goggles but instead referred to displays that electronics would use while correctly assembling harnesses.

Then, AR officially took off once it was seen in the NFL when that famous virtual yellow line was first painted onto the field. This portrayed something to the viewers watching it on the TV since it was only seen through digitally.

Since then, major enterprises like Google and Apple have incorporated this tool into 3D programs like apps and computer programs.

“Augmented reality apps are written in special 3D programs that allow the developer to the animation or contextual digital information in the computer program to an augmented reality “marker” in the real world. When a computing device’s AR app or browser plug-in receives digital information from a known marker, it begins to execute the marker’s code and layer the correct image or images.” Tech Target reports. 

Start With Software

In order to incorporate 3D elements into reality, you first need an engine in order for the model to work, as well as a tracking detection and depth sensing tool. Google is one example of a resource that offers the capabilities that can power augmented reality.

There are different kinds of tracking when it comes to augmented reality and understanding how the worst is one of the first steps to becoming an AR pro.


Since augmented reality uses real-world elements in its functions, tracking is crucial for capturing real-time views of the environment in the blink of an eye (many times per second). There are three different ways to accomplish this.

  • Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM) tracking – This technology relies on GPS data and pre-existing maps by taking measurements using a robot or device. The challenge to this technology is accuracy due to elements like background noise and movement.
  • Depth Tracking – We have seen Apple integrate depth tracking into the new iPhone7. It simply uses 3D capabilities to scan images and experiences, seen mainly in the camera. It can scan faces, and create maps that identify users.
  • Pattern Tracking – This type of tracking looks for patterns in data in order to create virtual experiences from them. We can see this through touch Id applications that can be found on our mobile devices.

Once the tracking occurs, registration takes place. This basically just tells the computer where virtual objects should go, then they are able to be incorporated on the designated screen.

Augmented reality has the ability to transform everyday tasks to be virtual and digitally-centered. It is disrupting leading industries and plays a role through many different components.

Augmented Reality In Healthcare

We see augmented reality in multiple different healthcare operations, like surgery, that calls for precision and effectiveness.

“Doctors and even patients are aware of the fact that when it comes to surgery, precision is of prime importance. Now, AR can help surgeons become more efficient at surgeries. Whether they are conducting a minimally invasive procedure or locating a tumor in liver, AR healthcare apps can help save lives and treat patients seamlessly.” Medical Futurist reports. 

AR paired with technology makes for a perfect process that assists the healthcare industry immensely. Patient care can improve when it comes to the amount of time that doctors take to add patient notes into the computer with the integration of AR glasses that saves time and cost in hospitals.

The glasses work to transcribe patient interactions and notes, which reduces electronic healthcare by two to three hours a day.

The future of medicine can also be transformed with AR because of GPS and mapping capabilities that can direct patients where external defibrillators or AEDs are located.

Augmented Reality In Retail

The retail industry is a big fan of augmented reality, as we have seen over the course of this year. Major retailers have incorporated AR into business operations in order to transform customer experience to be interactive and innovative.

Whether it comes to 3D models, interactive dressing rooms, or in-store devices, retailers are taking advantage of the innovation that augmented reality offers.

For example, furniture empire Ikea has been using AR technology in order to deliver customers with an interactive preview of products after releasing an app that uses 3D models of products in a real-time feed, allowing customers to picture where they want their furniture to be placed.

“Customers simply place the catalog where they want to place the furniture piece. When viewing through the AR app, customers could see actual products in place of the catalog and assess if it fits their taste.” Augment reports. 

The fact that retailers are integrating digital tools to connect to their customer, shifts the retail landscape to be primarily digital, offering customers and business professionals a chance to connect with one another through different features. The future of retail will involve augmented reality, as it moves away from traditional tools in order to engage an audience and keep their attention.

Augmented Reality In Finance

We saw augmented reality in the finance sector when mobile banking apps appeared on the market. This has created a more personalized experience for customers by completely transforms the way customers interact with their banks, turning paper payment into a trend of the times.

Because of mobile apps, the use of cash payment has decreased as digital payments increase, which changes the way banks need to target customers.

“Goldman Sachs has predicted that the augmented reality market will be worth $80bn by 2025. Banking institutions will have to keep up to attract and retain customers and employees.” It proportal reports. 

Augmented Reality In Marketing

Augmented reality offers the marketing industry with innovative and creative ways to connect with customers.

“The technology has significantly grown in popularity over the last few years, and the AR market is expected to continue this trend; it’s projected to reach $117.4 billion by 2022, as indicated by Markets and Markets research,” Forbes reports. 

AR gives marketers a chance to create innovative campaigns that connect the digital and real world through supporting three-dimensional storytelling that can be found through tools like social media. We see augmented reality found in marketing campaigns that incorporate unique features like Snapchat filters and Instagram videos that delivers customers with real-life experiences through digital.

Marketers can expand a brand’s image by using AR because it can offer unique interactions that include real-life traits.

“Since agencies have already started to use Snapchat and Instagram in recent years, they can go even further with AR and implement it into their current social media tactics. Adding creative filters, animations, and interactions to everyday objects or products, while correlating to your brand values, can improve brand experiences. AR can be great for taking video strategies to the next level” Forbes reports. 

Augmented reality has disrupted a variety of industries, offering unique tools that business professionals should take advantage of while moving towards a digitally-centered world. This world is interactive, personalized and engaging, which offers industries a chance to successfully target an audience.


The Millennium Alliance is thrilled to present the second 2017 edition of Digital Enterprise Transformation Assembly, put together by the industry, for the industry. Join us November 16-17, for a series of executive education roundtables, keynote presentations from speakers like Robin Bienfait, CEO of Emnovatecollaborative think tanks, educational workshops, and networking sessions will offer industry-specific topics and trends to ensure your company sustains its competitive advantage.

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As we move closer to 2018, prominent digital technology and business leaders from all the major private and public sectors are looking to CIOs to manage the explosion of information that has ignited digital enterprise. Augmented reality is among the many trends that are emerging from the digital transformation, disrupting industries and shifting the consumer landscape to be innovative and more interactive than ever before.

Augmented reality is one example of a trend that moves us towards a “Digital Industrial Revolution”. This has made the role of IT leaders more important than ever. Understanding the convergence of mobile, social, and cloud is still critical for organizations looking to create opportunities and stay ahead of the competition. But now, this convergence is merely the foundation of the new digital world. With the daily birth of new technology, IT infrastructure needs to be more agile than ever.

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