If you ask most people about augmented reality, their experience is probably more along the lines of Pokemon Go than it is corporate training. But the combination of digital information and the real world isn’t just for mobile entertainment, but a real solution for learning at work. Before it’s dismissed as a development still far off the future, you should know that some industries have been all too happy to adopt augmented reality as a tool for better learning. And, when augmented reality naturally segues into virtual reality applications, these are the industries that will already have a leg up on the buy-in for new technology.
AR at Work
Three specific industries are leading the charge for augmented reality as a learning tool:
One of AR’s main benefits is the ability to manipulate objects that are not real. For example, a surgeon could hone her skills with a new technique on an augmented reality human heart model before performing the procedure in real life. Medical students are also using AR to practice in a low-stakes environment to become more proficient and confident.
Oil rigs are notoriously dangerous environments, with an offshore worker mortality rate that is seven times the U.S. average, according to the CDC. To protect their employees, oil companies are utilizing AR applications to instruct and teach safety and emergency protocol in the most authentic settings and scenarios possible.
3. Military and Border Patrol
When the stakes are high, personnel are more likely to panic and make a mistake, especially if they’ve never experienced a risky situation before. Augmented reality works as a way to train military for dangerous situations that they could experience in the field. The result is better-prepared personnel who know the steps to take because practice made perfect in training. Border patrol is also using AR as a way to practice a number of different situations to test and evaluate their reactions.
Let’s face it: healthcare, oil, and military aren’t usually the first industries to go all-in on new tech. They’re huge entities and revolution is often sluggish at best. But these three industries stand to gain the most from augmented reality because their employees face life-or-death situations every day, which is likely why they’ve been the first to jump on the AR train.
It’s true that not all organizations are dealing with the high stakes, critical situations that are common on an oil rig. Your training might be more along the lines of better sales than it is saving lives. And that can be one of the roadblocks to encouraging executive buy-in and early adoption of augmented reality. Managers might not see the value of AR for lower-stakes scenarios and therefore choose other training methods.
Other roadblocks that stand in the way of tech adoption is the cost of augmented and virtual reality devices. It costs money to create the technology (which is likely why the three industries currently utilizing AR are typically wealthy). Device compatibility and poor scenario quality can also stand in the way of getting leadership on board.
It’s not perfect–yet. New developments in augmented reality could make it more affordable and much easier for companies to create and distribute everything from sales training to product management in an augmented environment mixed with real-world applications. For now, we’re keeping an eye on the industries that were quick to adopt the technology as their own to see how it makes a difference.