The use of smart glasses like Google Glass by businesses will soon be widespread, according to the BCS

AR essential business tool in near future says report

Augmented reality will become an essential tool for many businesses in the near future, according to a whitepaper from the BCS.

The IT body predicts that the use of smart glasses, which can provide detailed information about the surrounding environment or a specific object that is in sight, will become widespread in the third instalment of its Riding the Next Wave’ series, published today.

According to Juniper Research, the number of augmented reality users around the world will rise from 60 million in 2013 to nearly 200 million in 2018, signalling an increased demand for workers skilled in this area.

Chris Yapp, a technologist, futurologist, and member of the Institute who contributed to the whitepapers, said: “In the very near future, we will see augmented reality proving to be extremely useful for organisations, providing essential data and visualisations quickly and succinctly, allowing employees to react in real-time.

According to Yapp mobile workers are likely to be the early adopters, with AR capabilities helping them find information on their surroundings, locate a place, package or person, and providing supporting data for the task in hand.

But the technology could also soon be supporting maintenance or construction workers faced with a complex task by providing a visual guide to the problem, or allowing architects or industrial designers to visualise their building or product in its eventual setting, supported by graphical, text and numerical data, acting as a guide to the practicalities of the design.

As voice recognition and translation technology develops, there is even the possibility for AR glasses to provide near real-time translation of a foreign language as a conversation takes place, helping retailers and guides in tourist areas as well as emergency services and healthcare professionals.

Adam Thilthorpe, director of professionalism at BCS, said: “There will be a natural progression for those working in app development for tablets and smartphones to move into creating similar products for wearable tech.

“However, with the rise in the number of augmented reality users and the continued sales growth of smart devices in the next few years, it is important that there is a marked increase in app developers too, in order to meet the niche demands of different organisations and individuals.”

The whitepaper can be downloaded from the BCS website.

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