Utilising Augmented Reality for Business

Elephant In The Room Augmented Reality

How to utilise augmented reality for business

Terminator, Minority Report and Iron Man are just a handful of movies that have given us a glimpse into the world of augmented reality (AR). However, Hollywood often portrays AR as future technology but is the future closer than you think?

With modern technology, all you need is a device as simple as a smartphone to experience augmented reality. Therefore, with over 6.6 billion smartphone users across the globe, AR is more accessible than ever.

Due to the infancy of the technology, we’re sure there are many unexplored applications for AR. It’s up to innovators like us to uncover them. Let’s take a look at how you can already utilise augmented reality for your business.

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality has plenty of well known examples. Marvel has shown that Ironman’s suit can project digital information onto his surroundings, giving him an advantage. The hugely successful Pokemon GO has enabled us to catch Pokemon out in the physical world. In essence, augmented reality is technology that maps digital content onto the real world.

Although phones and tablets are currently the most prominent means of experiencing AR, they are not the only option. Advanced hardware such as Google Glass or Microsoft HoloLens give an enveloping, hands free experience. This glasses-like wearable technology gives more freedom to introduce augmented reality for business uses.

Common uses of augmented reality for business


As augmented reality gains traction, retail businesses are developing innovative ways to integrate the technology into their marketing strategies. Apps that allow prospective customers to virtually try on a product have proved popular among fashion retailers.

Augmented reality has seen big investments from companies such as Google and Apple. Furthermore, social platforms like Snapchat are continuing to push the boundaries of augmented reality for the retail industry. As a result, AR will soon become an established tool for advertisers to integrate into the digital marketplace.

Example usage of AR for retail

With face tracking now a staple of augmented reality, a hat retailer could integrate AR technology into their ecommerce platform whereby customers can virtually try on-hats before making a purchase.

Remote support

Let’s move away from social media and the consumer facing uses of AR for a minute. Augmented reality has provided industries such as the engineering sector with advanced solutions to increase the efficiency of their processes. In some instances, engineers can remotely share their field of view with an expert so they can assist with a repair.

Example usage of remote support augmented reality

The current offering of augmented reality headsets is very much marketed towards businesses. Therefore, let’s imagine how a manufacturer of pick and place robot arms could embrace hardware such the Microsoft HoloLens.

The advanced hardware would grant field engineers access to real-time remote assistance from experts located across the globe. Through augmented reality, the experts could see the engineers field of view and digitally highlight faulty components and help with repairs. The manufacturer could then repair its pick and place robots more efficiently, resulting in less downtime.

CMC Augmented Reality Brochure at our DIgital Agency
In this project, we added augmented reality to CMC’s brochure to show which of their products could be installed in the various parts of a compressed air system.

Training and education

Training is often necessary for businesses after they hire new employees. Through a phone, tablet or headset, augmented reality could allow trainees to interact with computer-generated 3D objects as if it were right in-front of them. What’s more, this immersive technology can provide risk-free environments and situations that allow employees to hone their skills needed for the job.

There are times when training is necessary to be able to use a product or piece of equipment properly. In an augmented reality environment, employees could learn about the parts of a product or piece of equipment by virtually opening it up and taking a look inside. In some cases this is something that may be highly inconvenient or even impossible with a physical product.

Example usage of augmented reality for business training

One example of using augmented reality for training is teaching new supermarket checkout recruits on how to use a POS system. AR technology could overlay step-by-step instructions on top of a physical POS system. The technology would show the employee exactly what to do without having to shadow a more senior member of staff. The benefits become even greater when the supermarket were training multiple employees.

3D modelling and product development

3D modelling and product development are two more ways augmented reality is used for business. From items as big as buildings to the furniture that goes in them, AR can help a business cut development costs. Often employed during the design process, AR solutions can allow everyone involved in the product development to interact with a 3D digital visualisation of the product. AR enables designers to place a product in the real-world, walk around it and inspect details from any angle.

As part of a project for international engineering consultancy, Buro Happold, we utilized augmented reality to tell the story of the engineering solutions that were applied to their ‘The Tower at Plaza PNC Plaza’ project.

By incorporating augmented reality into the design process, a business may be able to avoid early-stage physical prototypes, saving both time and money. It is much more efficient to make changes to the digital 3D model rather than building a physical prototype every time an update is required.

Example usage of augmented reality for product training

Producing a full scale prototype of a product can be expensive. Especially if that product is as large as a car. Realistically, augmented reality visualisations are unlikely to replace all physical prototypes. However, car manufacturers can certainly benefit from using augmented reality technology in the early stages of development to visualise how a car might look. Developers could place a digital 3D model of the car, to scale, right in-front of them. Even open doors to look inside or raise it off the ground to see underneath. In addition, AR can introduce interactivity at levels that aren’t possible with physical prototypes, such as the ability to remove body panels and instantly change styling such as colours and wheels. It’s even possible control the car from a device to visualise the car in motion.

Learn more about the advantages of 3D product rendering versus traditional photography


Marketing is where a business can get really creative with augmented reality. Digital agencies are already offering the technology to help their clients reach wider audiences. For example:

Many still consider augmented reality to be a futuristic technology, so seeing a 3D model or video appear on a business card for example, is quite impressive. When that is combined with the interactive capability of augmented reality, you have a show-stopping business card that makes it even easier for customers to connect with your business.

Example usage of augmented reality for marketing

Augmented reality doesn’t have to be part of a direct marketing strategy. Businesses can benefit from AR’s ability to engage with audiences and raise brand awareness. Museums, for instance, could introduce augmented reality tours to bring static exhibits to life. Visitors would be amazed to witness paintings that come to life and tell stories of their history as well as virtual 3D sculptures that tell the story of their creation.

Is augmented reality right for your business?

Feeling inspired? Maybe while reading this article you’ve thought of a way augmented reality can benefit your business. The next step would be to contact an augmented reality agency like ourselves to bring your idea to fruition. We can advise you on the best ways to approach your idea and what hardware would be most suitable. Check out some of the AR projects we have completed.

There are many ways to use augmented reality for business. Who knows? Your idea could be the big step forward your business needs to get ahead of the game.