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How Augmented Reality Will Change How Future Generations Do Business

Generation Z is defined by its ability to quickly adapt to new technology. They were born during a time in which there was a massive boom in gadgets and devices.

Using a computer felt instinctive for those who were raised around them. Smartphones were adopted with little trepidation, and now are seen as an essential part of everyday life.

Augmented reality could be the next big game-changer.

The main appeal of AR is how it enhances the ordinary. With a virtual layer added, the old and familiar can be transformed into something entirely new.

Physical Spaces

One of the current laments about technology is how it discourages people from leaving their homes.

Why bother going anywhere when a world’s worth of information and entertainment is accessible through your computer? It’s way more comfortable, and cheaper, to stay inside.

With AR devices, this attitude will shift. People will want to go outside more often.

The overwhelming success of Pokémon Go is a testament to this shift. Lately, it hasn’t been unusual to see somebody wandering around with no other goal than hunting down imaginary creatures.

AR has the power to change physical spaces into places of limitless possibility. It offers a unique thrill and sense of discovery, allowing you to explore your surroundings for hidden secrets. An ordinary walk down the street can suddenly become a memorable adventure.

Another appealing factor is that these spaces no longer have to be static. Many people tend to ignore and take for granted old sights that never seem to change.

The virtual world, meanwhile, is far more malleable. Updates and additions can be incorporated quickly and seamlessly. There will be something new to find with on each visit.

Companies are already looking for applications for this technology. For example, AR could add a greater level of interactivity for customers going to the store.

Special promotions and seasonal themes could be displayed through the AR device. There could also be unique games and location-based events.

Another use could be in an office setting. Office workers would be granted more freedom in customizing their work environment, and have a range of digital tools at their instant disposal.

Creating visualizations and taking notes could only require a pair of hands interfacing with the virtual space.

Magic Leap, a pioneer in AR technology, is one company that has helped imagine what an augmented office setting could look like.

Social Interaction

Thanks to technology, more people are connected than ever before. Social networks and platforms are thriving, with millions of interactions each day.

However, there are some worries that this behavior discourages the desire to have face-to-face communication. After all, it is often easier to talk to somebody through a screen than make the effort to meet them in person.

This is an area that AR could help improve for its users. It could be used as a tool to bring people together, and to encourage meetings and social events.

Once again, Pokémon Go serves as an illustration of how this could work. Meetings between its users were almost purely incidental at first.

People noticed each other playing the game and initiated conversations about it. Soon impromptu meet-ups were happening all over the place.

Large gatherings started forming, with people keeping each other company and giving tips on how to play the game.

Places like Central Park became packed with crowds chasing down rare Pokémon together.

The creators took notice, and the game now features a built-in social element. There is the option to join teams and engage in friendly competition with rival groups at gyms.

Identification with brands could be strengthened through these means. The option to become a member of a group or a team creates a sense of solidarity between customers.

For instance, Pokémon Go players will often proudly proclaim they’re a part of Team Valor, Team Mystic or Team Instinct.

AR has the potential to provoke discussion between people who would otherwise avoid talking to each other. It can be an effective way to unite people through shared interests.

Decision-Making

Many people already refer to the internet when deliberating over choices. Checking the quality of a product or a service can be done through a basic web search for reviews. AR will make this process even more instantaneous.

Instead of ignoring this issue, businesses should embrace it. Attention could be brought to the quality of certain products. Positive reviews and star ratings could appear on the AR interface to help inform the customer.

IKEA was one of the early adopters of AR technology, and serves as a precedent for how it could be used. Some of the biggest problems with buying furniture are whether it will fit inside a room and if it will match the surrounding décor.

To address these problems, IKEA introduced a mobile app that uses the device’s camera to generate a real-time preview of the furniture in the customer’s home.

Similarly, AR could also be used to demonstrate products. Being able to see and manipulate a computer-rendered model of an object might solidify a customer’s decision to buy it.

It is frequently noted that Gen Zers are visual learners. AR technology complements this mode of thinking by providing literal visualizations that cannot exist in reality. It can become a potent and innovative tool for reaching out to this generation.

Written by Neal Hallenbeck

Neal Hallenbeck is a graduate of Adrian College. He is a freelance writer, media critic and computer game designer.

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