How Augmented Reality Is Impacting Business

How Augmented Reality Is Impacting Business

Technological innovation is changing the way we tell stories and disrupting the way we experience the world. One of those innovations, augmented reality (also known as AR), is quickly becoming a part of the day-to-day lives of consumers thanks to advances in AR technology and increased popularity over the last few years. As augmented reality has moved to the mainstream, its role in marketing businesses has grown as well. There are many ways to use AR and integrate it into a business marketing strategy. It is exciting to see the growth of AR and how it will affect all of us.

There is sometimes confusion about the terms augmented reality and virtual reality. Although some people use them interchangeably, they really are quite different. Augmented Reality (AR) is adding digital enhancements to an existing reality. Using technology, an additional layer of enhancement is added to a scene or place using your smartphone or computer. Adding bunny ears or a hat on Snapchat is one of the most well-known uses of Augmented Reality. Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology that puts a person into a different reality completely simulated by a computer program. This requires the use of a headset or goggles. AR enhances or adds to an environment, while VR creates an entirely new environment or reality.

While the prospect of using augmented reality for business may seem daunting, it isn’t as challenging as one may think. In fact, AR is an exceptional addition to any business. Augmented Reality, simply put, is a computer generated enhancement (augmented) placed over the existing world we see (reality). Augmented Reality software uses a smartphone to enhance any scene or view the human eye has.  It can add dimension, sounds and/or experiences to any two-dimensional picture or movie experience. In addition, AR helps customers understand, implement and purchase products by seeing how they might fit into their world.

The explosion of smartphone and tablet use has driven the Augmented Reality industry forward to the tune of 5.2 billion dollars in revenue and is expected to reach $100 billion by 2020. AR isn’t just about “Pokemon Go!” game development; it is an innovative software development that businesses can use to create more seamless relationships with employees and customers by bridging the gap between human and technology interactions.

As they evaluate whether to take the leap with AR, business owners and marketing executives have questions.

How is Augmented Reality being used in business?

The use cases for Augmented Reality grow daily. Only a few years ago, AR was seen as an extremely niche solution being utilized by only the most technologically forward corporations. In only a short while, Augmented Reality business options have become much more accessible. So, what are the most effective ways for a business to leverage Augmented Reality?

Create an AR version of a user manual

An Augmented Reality user manual allows prospective customers to see the products in more detail, depth and reality.  It will also give customers the ability to understand how the product works, what possible issues they might have, and to “see” themselves using the product. The capability of being able to order spare parts, to troubleshoot their own issues will be amazing (and lower the total cost of ownership), as it will give customers and you the opportunity to spend less time identifying the problem and more time buying things that enhance their experience and getting customers the help they need in near real time.

Product information card

Imagine a client being able to use their smartphone to be able to learn more about a business: which services are offered, how you can work together, what other customers have said, and even what it’s like to experience a product or service. Beyond just nuts and bolts, now a business can differentiate itself with augmented reality by letting customers try before they buy – without leaving a website, a brick and mortar store, or their couch.


Customers are able to customize or view products. Augmented Reality enables design capabilities for customers. Actualizing a product at their place of business or in the colors they choose helps the decision process move along.

Customers aren’t the only ones that will benefit from Augmented Reality. AR technology can be incorporated internally to work with employees and show them how to better deliver services to your prospects and customers.

Employee onboarding and training

Teaching new employees the business culture, processes, and other instructions can now be done anywhere at any time with the use of AR.

Augmented reality training sessions for employees accelerate the process of learning new skills or enhancing their existing skills. Augmented Reality can lessen the need for an in-person trainer for the fundamentals, or make the services of an in-person trainer more effective, cutting the hours needed for proficiency. Businesses can create AR training once and provide it for the entire workforce. Augmented Reality can provide employees with customer service challenges and opportunities in real time, decreasing surprises, and adding more time for customer service nuances that make your business better than your competitors.

If this all sounds like it could be complicated and intimidating, it doesn’t need to be. A slow, deliberate approach can be taken to add augmented reality over time and adopt the full-scale solution over a much longer period of time. Additionally, professionals already skilled in augmented reality can help you both design and implement an augmented reality strategy for your business. Bringing Augmented Reality into a company sooner, rather than later, gives a company an advantage over the competition.

What are some specific examples of AR technology in use?

Understanding the general uses of AR is beneficial, but specific examples really bring home the capabilities and possibilities of augmented reality technology. Hopefully, the following will inspire new ideas.

Product Demonstration

Ikea and Wayfair invite their customers to use their apps to see what furniture and accessories will look like in the customers’ homes. Using their apps, customers select the pieces of furniture they want, place them in their homes and see the furniture or accessories actually in their home via their smartphones.

Data Collection

Another great use of Augmented Reality is from Major League Baseball. The MLB has an “At Bat” app. By launching the app and pointing their mobile devices toward the field, users can access individual player profiles, including arm strength and catch probability in addition to key stats like on-base percentage and batting average. Because fans download the app and grant access to their data, this gives the MLB the ability to collect demographic information about the fans and also to connect through marketing offers.

Event Marketing

At the Mobile World Congress conference, Sprint wanted to show how its 5G cellular network would operate. However, since the technology was not available yet, they had to come up with an innovative solution. Sprint used Augmented Reality to create a futuristic city that walked attendees from the current state of mobile to the future state of mobile with a 5G AR demo.

How should businesses evaluate if AR is a good fit?

While the use of Augmented Reality is growing, it is still important to understand whether it is the right solution for a business. Businesses should evaluate their marketing demographics and goals before investing in AR.

Core demographic

If a business has a core demographic of either users or employees that are millennials or younger, they should definitely consider Augmented Reality. For those in their mid-30s and younger, AR is not some futuristic fantasy; it is how they already live and understand the world around them. Businesses who do not offer them advanced technology risk losing them as customers to competitors viewed as more forward thinking, modern and engaging.

Marketing objectives

Augmented Reality is particularly well-suited for explaining and engaging. Businesses who have objectives related to either of these should consider an Augmented Reality solution. AR experiences are also likely to be highly shareable, so they are well suited for spreading the word about events and entertainment.


Businesses must be aware of what is happening in their sector. No one wants to be late to the game. If any business is already using AR, their competitors must investigate whether it fits their marketing strategy immediately. Otherwise, they risk being left behind as the competition races forward.

VISION can help

Augmented Reality is not just a fad or a stunt. As it becomes increasingly mainstream, AR is impacting businesses worldwide, creating a competitive edge  for those who are taking advantage of it.

VISION is at the forefront of innovations and immersive experiences, including augmented reality. VISION’s heartbeat contributes to the pulse of marketing technology progress in Houston and beyond by staying on the leading edge of progress and creating experiences that live ON for our clients.

Call us at 713-862-1900 to learn more about our Augmented Reality services in Houston.