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Alternate Reality Expert Opinion
Alternate reality gradually becomes a full-scale part of the world digital transformation. Specialists of leading analytical agencies equate AR technology with blockchain, robotics, and IoT, and forecast and incredible growth due to the common application in business. Andrey Krekhov, a New Technologies expert of IT company ICL Services, was asked how to manage another reality and make it work to the benefit of corporations.
Many people perceive alternate reality as a user toy, not as a corporate technology. Respectively, examples of its implementation in companies are customer services, e.g., virtual dressing rooms. How can companies use it more effectively?
Even abroad large technological giants only start exploring these prospective technologies, including AR, in corporative sector. Because the presence of the technology itself does not mean one can monetize it: the innovation is still very complex and does not suit the wide range of corporative customers. I.e., the corporative sector, especially in Russia, is not ready to implement this technology due to the limitation of its application. Currently, it is used by companies for presentations, marketing, and exhibitions.
How do you use (or consider to use) AR?
Our company is ready to start R&D works on AR interfaces launch and adapt them to a certain model, release cycle and/or inventory number of products. This will increase the efficiency and reduce the probability of mistakes in plant conditions. But it is necessary to understand that the corporative sector belongs, first of all, to the state, and we cannot implement these solutions without direct guarantees of future orders.
With what systems shall it be integrated? And in general, a combination with what technologies can provide the synergy?
Speaking about synergy of other platforms use in in-house solutions, one can mention UniversalWindowsPlatform(UWP) platforms, which allow Unity developers to expand the area of application of current projects created on the base of Vuforia platform. Moreover, by means of Microsoft Visual Studio tools set developers can add AR functions to already existing UPW applications for company tablets.
What aspects of AR can help achieve effect in your case?
AR for medicine on the basis of our R&D can be integrated with medical equipment right now, e.g., with X-Ray, MRT, etc., in order to comprehensively study the patient's health. For defense, industrial company projects, AR can help create a modeling environment for product designing process. For example, the service team receives superimposed images and fresh information to detect defects in large machines.
Which principles shall be followed for the technology to really benefit the business?
There is a whole range of economic and technical tasks to be solved for AR applications for them to be implemented in companies. It's just the beginning of the story of AR software and, therefore, the corporative sector is hardly aware of pecularities and benefits of their usage. Releasing AR apps, we have to teach our public use all their potential. Also, AR is very dependent on hardware, i.e. it's necessary to have a high-quality cameras and sensors, which are hard to standardize on the split Russian market of smartphones with different cameras and capabilities. Moreover, support of state sector is needed, because of expensive R&D, which is impossible to execute in-house only.
How do you think, when AR will become a technology of mass use? What conditions are necessary for that to happen? What impedes it?
Being a technological capability, AR can bring corporative applications to the next level. Since its use is expanding, and a technological key to the future was created, new ways of AR development in corporative mobile environment will be studied and tested in the next few years. For example, such innovations as integration of data on brain activity to AR ecosystem, Glass project, etc. will bring to more efficient and significant use in mobile devices. What we see today is only the top of the iceberg. The iceberg itself is much bigger, but this is not feasible in the next 2–3 years due to the following obstacles: unawareness of society, need of massive creation of user interfaces, unavailability of mobile AR, security, technological limitations, need to explain users the benefits, and need to connect to mobile internet.
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