Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are changing the way we do business. You can experience everything, and share your experience with anyone, anywhere in the world, just like you were there in person.

At 3 A.M. you get a call from the Munich office with a calm, but deliberate, German voice on the other end of the fibre signal. You jump out of bed straight away after hearing that one of the main pieces of machinery at your company's factory has stopped working, and they can't figure out why. It's Christmas eve and you certainly don't want to be making the ten hour return journey, because your in-laws are visiting tonight.

Instead you go to the study of your house, put on your glasses and then sit down at your desk. Your glasses light up straight away and greet you with your daily 360 degree view. You log in to the remote support application using eye tracking and gestures, and begin to help your colleague resolve the issue. By seeing what she sees with AR technology, you are able to guide her on how to resolve the issue quickly and accurately. At 4:35 A.M. you crawl back into bed; able to rest easy knowing that the factory is running again to make those important Christmas deliveries.

Does this sound like the future to you? Where you can experience everything and share your experiences with anyone in the world, just like you were there in person? That is the power of AR and VR. 

Well, this is not the future - this technology exists now! Products like the Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, Microsoft Hololens and the Magic Leap have really opened our eyes to the endless possibilities that VR and AR could have in our world. To the extent where the above scenario is entirely possible using current, off-the-shelf technologies.

My belief is that AR will eventually take over VR since a good implementation of AR can, in theory, do both. But AR is a much more complex problem since it needs to process the real world around us as well as show the virtual world. That’s why VR is far more popular and more advanced at the moment, but it's really just a first step in the evolution of this family of technology.

Here at Beca, we are constantly doing research to find how these technologies could fit into our daily working lives and provide extra value or benefits to our clients. We now provide VR walkthroughs of our 3D building designs, we are looking into how it disrupts simulators and virtual training, as well as how this could affect every industry we are part of. 

How will this change our world? What other applications can you think of? That's the challenge to you, now that we have this capability how do we integrate it into our world to make it a better place?

This is here to stay and the only way forward is to embrace it. Our reality is about to be completely changed.

About the Author
Luan You

Associate - Software Engineering

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