Some technologies tend to fail because they are a little ahead of their time—Google Glass is perhaps one such technology. But after seeing so many people using their smartphones to catch Pokémons and almost tripping down stairs or falling into ditches, I thought—wouldn’t it be great to use Google Glass for this purpose?
And then my thoughts turned to the enterprise. True, it is great to see a virtual Zubat or a Pidgey sitting on a real tree in your backyard, but couldn’t this same technology make our lives in the enterprise so much better?
Here are some ways in which this can happen:
1. Healthcare: Imagine a doctor with Google Glass sitting in front of a patient. He can see a quick summary of his condition, a list of drugs he is allergic to, and treatment that has previously failed on him (perhaps treatment given by other doctors in other hospitals) so that he doesn’t repeat it.
2. Auto: A mechanic using AR can look at a component, find out what could be wrong with it, and where the nearest spares are available, along with options and competitive prices. You could also use a system like this to tell a layman what could be wrong with a car so that he can do some quick troubleshooting himself.
AR will make information truly pervasive. Watch a report of a strike in a mining town and you will know how this will affect the construction industry, which uses iron.
3. Retail: Do you have lactose intolerance or high triglycerides? Feed it into the system and it will highlight a warning if you are holding a product that might be bad for you so that you don’t buy it.
4. Education: A student studying a boring math equation can make things livelier by seeing how this equation makes sense in real life. The equations of drag coefficient may sound boring, but if you demonstrate how it is used in a video game of football, the student may show more interest.
5. Housing: An interior designer and a home owner can together design how a house will look like. Walking through your house with the colors that you want painted appear on the screen of your AR glasses can help you arrive at the right paint combination easily.
Some of the above examples deal with personal usage, but enterprises will be behind these implementations.
I’m sure that others have highlighted such examples before, but what I like about AR is that it comes very close to MIT’s Project Oxygen. Computing with AR will be truly pervasive and we may not even need terms like big data or cloud computing—all of us will have all the information when we need it, and we will not care about where it resides, just how it works. See a bus on the road and you know if it is going where you want to go. Watch a report of a strike in a town where iron is mined and you will know how this will affect iron prices in the coming days (if you are in a related vertical, that is).
And when all this happens, you may have to thank a Charizard for helping bring such interesting personal gaming tech to the enterprise.
I would like to thank my colleagues Shraddha and Saheli for letting me play Pokémon Go on their smartphones, and Sudhir for an interesting discussion on how enterprises may use AR.