AR/VR gets real: 3 promising pilots of augmented reality and virtual reality...

AR/VR gets real: 3 promising pilots of augmented reality and virtual reality in business


General Electric, Boeing, Ford are among the several leading companies that prize augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies for enabling employees to inspect and design machines more efficiently. But companies are also embracing AR/VR as ways to freshen up the customer experience and train employees.

AR and VR both leverage digital information, but use different interfaces. AR solutions leverage software on smartphones or heads-up displays such as smartglasses to overlay digital information, including images and text, atop physical objects in the real world. Conversely, VR is about immersion, with users typically strapping on headsets loaded with applications that replace the real world with a virtual environment.

While AR experiences are relatively more mature, VR is encumbered by costs and challenges with implementation and integration within business processes that hinder its ability to scale, says Forrester Research analyst Thomas Husson on a recent podcast. “Both technologies have been around for quite some time but they are just starting to enter the broader consumer space,” Husson says. “Both technologies are going to be quite disruptive, but … it’s going to take several years for these technologies to scale and become mass market.”

Yet CIOs, intrigued by the potential for AR/VR to fortify consumer service and employee productivity, are piloting these emerging technologies. A few IT leaders shared their AR/VR business cases and experiences with