Will augmented reality shape the future of productivity?

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) often come hand in hand. The two use the same languages and game engines, but many would argue that AR and VR have very different uses. The goal of VR is to dispense with reality and create a whole new reality for its users, whereas AR builds upon the real world by adding virtual components such as digital images, graphics or sensations.

In October, we welcomed Raymond Lo, Cofounder of Meta, a pioneer and leader in augmented reality, on stage at the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit. If, at the outset, anyone had doubts about the future of AR, Raymond dispelled those doubts. For Meta, AR has a very real impact on the future. By leveraging the principles of neuroscience to develop a new generation of natural machines that utilize our minds and bodies as the input system, Meta is out to reinvent how humans interact.

Raymond Lo, Cofounder of Meta, talks about achieving super vision with augmented reality at Hello Tomorrow Global Summit

An obvious example is how we communicate today via devices such as our phones and computers. Meta’s vision is to unglue people from screens and encourage them to see the world as their canvas. This means, for instance, sending a message to a friend using an AR user-interface, perhaps with a hand-drawn smiley, à la Minority Report.

Across other industries, AR is going to be the next platform for people to explore and create experiences based on the world around them.

Seems like a simple change, but the social and industrial implications are huge. AR enhances people’s interactions with the real world, and if we’re willing, it can enhance how we collaborate and communicate with each other. We already see that happening in fieldwork, e.g. maintenance workers and mechanics in the field, where AR is being used for remote assistance and troubleshooting.

Across other industries, AR is going to be the next platform for people to explore and create experiences based on the world around them. For example, architects can share and manipulate stereograms (more commonly known as “3D holograms”) of building schematics and models in real-time. And in the classroom, children can “teleport” themselves to classrooms around the world, co-presenting themselves in real-time and seeing and learning what other children are learning.

With technology advances, such as computer vision and head-mounted display design, AR hardware will become better, more affordable, and attractive for the general public.

For Meta, the use of AR in day-to-day work and life will be accelerated by the demand for applications that enhance productivity. Having recently surveyed customers on the kinds of use cases they would want to use AR for, they discovered that 37% and 40% wanted to use AR for data visualization and office productivity, respectively.

Forty percent of Meta customers want to use AR for office productivity

By the looks of it, Meta has covered significant ground by leveraging intuitive design to build a natural extension of how humans interact. While there are still challenges to be overcome, e.g. reducing head-mounted display for an even more seamless experience, we can say cheers to helping students “teleport” across the world to learn in real-time with AR. The future of augmented reality is not far off, if not already here.