The application of AR and VR in business (2023)

A new project from IBM explores how AR and VR can have a real impact in industries beyond gaming

The application of AR and VR in business (1)

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies offers us tremendous possibilities. Consider a classroom in which a teacher gives a history lesson surrounded by actual historical artifacts or settings, like ancient pottery and jewelry in the pyramids of Ancient Egypt. Students don’t have the opportunity to get distracted or fall asleep at their desks as they are totally engaged in the classroom experience. Better yet, consider a child in an underprivileged region being able to get the same classroom lessons and teaching aid as their peers in a large city. Instead of having to travel a far distance, as many children do, to have access to these resources, they are able to use them at home thanks to the power of Augmented and Virtual Reality.

AR and VR are emerging technologies that have been gaining traction and attention in the last few years. The use of these technologies have so far been explored by the gaming industry, bringing exciting virtual fantasy worlds and immersive experiences to video game fans. However, AR/VR has possibilities reaching far past this use, many of which are yet to be explored. The application of virtual or augmented realities in fields like education, medicine, science, or business can add a whole new dimension and expand horizons for professionals in these fields.

One example we are seeing of an enterprise application of AR/VR is with data science and analytics. IBM Immersive Data, one of the latest projects from IBM, explores the use of AR/VR in the field of data science, and how AR/VR technology can have a real impact on how data scientists work and accomplish their goals.

(Video) Business Applications for AR, VR, and the Metaverse

Other than the technology, AR and VR is an interesting space for designers as we are still tapping into the potential, as well as the nuances of how to design for meaningful experiences. As AR technology and its uses are continually evolving, designers must keep up with their applied learning as they work to create outcome driven user experience. As IBM Immersive Data is moving into largely uncharted territory by exploring AR for business enterprise uses, the designers on this project are certainly faced with exciting new opportunities.

Augmented Reality will open space barriers and will transform the way we analyze information. We are empowering the user to visualize complex information in a simple way. — David Townsend, Design Director, IBM Data and AI

What is IBM Immersive Data?

IBM Immersive Data is a data exploration tool that applies AR technology to data exploration and communication, pushing these areas of data science to new levels. Users are able to view their data in 3D using an AR headset, and within this view are able to work with and manipulate their data. This creates opportunities for users to make findings and correlations that they would not necessarily have had with 2D visuals or traditional tools. Additionally, it also allows users to identify patterns, relationships, and outliers in a much shorter amount of time. Multiple users are able to use this tool at once, allowing for more collaboration between data scientists.

The project was initially designed with data scientists in mind, however it has all kinds of potential for business uses, and can benefit business leaders and executives, analysts, and many other types of users. Overall, IBM Immersive Insights enhances the workflow of data scientists and creates a more interactive way to communicate data.

The AR/VR design space

The IBM Immersive Data project is among the first to explore the space of UX design for AR or VR in the enterprise. Augmented Reality is a unique challenge as this young technology is fast evolving, and there are very few well-established UX patterns for AR scenarios. So how do we bring data and insights to life?

One of the most interesting and novel aspects about designing for AR/VR is that designers need to take into consideration multidimensionality as part of their design. Designing for data visualization is not a walk in the park, but when designing 3D objects instead of 2D, designers have a much larger range of physical attributes to consider. Just the shift from designing for screens to designing an actual 3D environment is a journey and challenge for the designers to overcome.

(Video) What is Virtual Reality (VR) and how is it used in business

The application of AR and VR in business (2)

The challenge comes in figuring out how to humanize a world that is a blend of physical and virtual reality in order to create a truly engaging user experience. To do this, designers need to learn about the physical objects, 3D environments, sound and audio applications, haptic feedback, interactions and user goals involved in the product, and how to realistically render that in the technology.

As someone with experience in Industrial Design, I believe that designing for AR/VR is blending UX with Industrial Design. We are not just taking into consideration the interaction and animations, we also need to take into consideration materials and how our designs will blend in an organic way with our environment. — Alfredo Ruiz, IBM Immersive Data Design Lead

(Video) Empowering Human Place and Business Through AR and VR

Another thing to take into consideration is that these technologies are relatively new, and there is not much precedent for designing in this space. Immersive Insight designers had to work from scratch and create their own guidelines, which involved a diligent process of user research and exploring design options. The stakes are high to create a compelling piece of design work as this technology is sure to generate a big change in many industries.

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Where is AR/VR going?

As we see AR/VR technologies evolving and more vendors contributing to this space, we expect to see the applications of this technology shifting from entertainment to the types of enterprise solutions demonstrated by IBM Immersive Insights. These applications will have enormous impact on the workflows and business operations of all kinds of industries. AR/VR will build upon and enhance current industry tools and practices, and open up new possibilities in the way we work.

IBM Immersive Insights gives us a peek into how technology like this can have an impact on different industries. Looking at data science as an example, the power of AR in IBM Immersive Insights could transform how data scientists process information and perform complex data analysis operations.

“When making recommendations to the Major League Baseball, I need to consider many factors including whether pitchers are left handed or right, if there’s a prior injury, innings played, salary expectations, and predicted performance. By comparing across all of these dimensions in a single visualization, I can make better, faster judgments.” — Ari Kaplan, sports data analyst and user of IBM Immersive Insights

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We at IBM Design are excited to be sharing this sneak peak into the potential future of AR and seeing where this technology can take us. It’s exciting to see how the field of UX will evolve with this technology, and how designers will handle and adapt to this multi-dimensional landscape. Our global IBM Cloud design team has taken up this challenge, and we hope to bring in many more innovations that solve real business problems through effective application of AR and VR technologies.

Thank you to Alfredo Ruiz and David Townsend for leading the mission and sharing insights from the IBM Immersive Data design team.

(Video) Business Implications of Extended Reality (XR): Harnessing the Value of AR, VR, Metaverse, and More

Arin Bhowmick (@arinbhowmick) is Vice President, Design at IBM based in San Francisco, California. The above article is personal and does not necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.


How is AR and VR used in business? ›

By using AR/VR, businesses can create a virtual environment that allows customer service representatives to interact with customers in real-time, regardless of location. This doesn't just reduce costs, but also provides a better customer experience by allowing customers to get the help they need quickly and easily.

What are some applications of AR and VR? ›

VR Applications: 23 Industries using Virtual Reality
  • Automotive industry. VR allows engineers and designers to experiment easily with the look and build of a vehicle before commissioning expensive prototypes. ...
  • Healthcare. ...
  • Retail. ...
  • Tourism. ...
  • Real estate. ...
  • Learning and development. ...
  • Education. ...
  • Art and design.
1 Mar 2022

What is an application of augmented reality AR for business applications? ›

AR allows companies to develop training that's consistent for each employee and enables the employee to develop competence and confidence in their role. Example: A company could develop an AR application to onboard employees, training them quickly with minimal risk to the employee or to workplace operations.

What is the application of AR VR and Mr? ›

Typical examples that use VR are games and flight simulators. Because of their nature, AR, MR and VR are also called as immersive technologies. The key difference between them is the degree of immersion. In VR, the user is completely immersed in the virtual world while in AR the user is only partially immersed.

How AR & VR can change the business operations explain with suitable examples? ›

AR and VR can speed the onboarding of new workers and improve worker productivity by offering more immersive on-the-job training. AR smart glasses that project video, graphics and text can visually guide a worker, step by step, through assembly or maintenance tasks.

Why VR AR are important in business? ›

Both technologies have several use cases for almost all businesses. These technologies dramatically improve human performance, increase productivity, lower costs, reduce project and operational durations and ensure greater engagement of employees on their assigned tasks.

Why are VR and AR useful tools in the workplace? ›

The technology can help recent hires learn about their new environment and get up to speed more quickly. For example, a new hire could use an AR app to tour the company and get the lay of the land during their first few weeks on board.

How can VR be used in business? ›

VR technology enables sales teams to immerse their clients in environments where they can interact with a product. For instance, Premise LED, an LED manufacturer for commercial and industrial companies, uses VR to illustrate differences in areas before and after lighting to help customers make choices.

What is good about AR and VR? ›

VR creates an immersive virtual environment, while AR augments a real-world scene. VR is 75 percent virtual, while AR is only 25 percent virtual. VR requires a headset device, while AR does not. VR users move in a completely fictional world, while AR users are in contact with the real world.

How can AR help businesses gain a competitive advantage? ›

Augmented reality helps retailers to gain a competitive edge over their competitors by giving an improved customer purchase experience to their customers by bridging a gap between in-store shopping and virtual shopping experience.

What kind of applications are AR used on? ›

AR software is used for training, work and consumer applications in many industries including healthcare, public safety, gas and oil, tourism and marketing. Augmented reality gaming software is probably the most common type of AR app, in particular since the popularity of the Pokémon GO game for smartphones.

What are the best practices for using augmented reality to increase business value? ›

Here are a few benefits of using augmented reality in your marketing strategy.
  • Promote The Brand Effectively. ...
  • Widen Market Reach. ...
  • Create Buzz Around The Brand. ...
  • Deliver Immersive, Interactive Experiences. ...
  • Guide Purchase Decisions. ...
  • Save On Marketing Costs. ...
  • Boost Sales. ...
  • Reduce Returns.

What are the four benefits of using AR and VR in healthcare? ›

How VR and AR are empowering healthcare industry
  • Facilitating medical learning and healthcare training. ...
  • Realistic 3D visualisation. ...
  • Skills development training. ...
  • Advanced learning. ...
  • Enhanced patient care and education. ...
  • Improved patient education. ...
  • Virtual assistance in medical facilities. ...
  • Pain management through VR.
18 Jan 2020

How important the role of AR and VR will be for retailers? ›

Why Should AR and VR Be Used With Retail Training? In the retail industry, time is not only of the essence but time is also money! Companies need to train employees in a way that maximizes the use of their time and minimizes the number of mistakes made on the sales floor.

What are the benefits using AR and VR in education? ›

So, in summary virtual reality helps education by creating immersive lessons that are engaging, memorable and impactful for students. These VR experiences improve learning outcomes and help students build important interpersonal skills such as empathy, collaboration, and social skills needed for the future.

How AR and VR are transforming the future of businesses? ›

If your work requires hands-on skills, AR and VR can help you with better safety and fewer mistakes. Both technologies will allow you to develop training programs consistent with each employee if you own a business. As a result, they can gain confidence and competence in their profession.

What are good examples of augmented virtual and mixed reality with its application? ›

AR can help you see or display a virtual object in a physical world through the camera of your smartphone, tablet, or even a digital mirror in a shopping center. Snapchat filters, virtual makeup, and furniture fitting are good examples of mixed reality usage.

Should all business use virtual reality? ›

VR can impact every field of business

Just about any process that can be carried out in the physical world – and in business that would range from customer services to marketing, finance, HR and production – can be simulated in VR.

What does AR and VR means? ›

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have exciting potential in the future of gaming, marketing, e-commerce, education, and many other fields. Both technologies are known for their enriched experience that brings together a virtual world and the real one with enhanced, 3-D visuals.

How does AR improve sales and marketing? ›

This can make or break a sale, and augmented reality can help drive those conversions by offering a valuable compromise. Each AR experience that can be offered to shoppers can help enhance their shopping experience. It also increases customer engagement, leading to repeat sales and confidence in the brand.

How can AR be used in the workplace? ›

AR apps and smart glasses can walk employees through tasks like changing machine parts or installing new software. Companies can also create apps to overlay information in their field of view (FoV), allowing workers to train visually while upskilling.

How does AR benefit the consumer? ›

AR reduces product returns

Augmented reality deeply affects decision-making by reducing confusion, frustrations, and subsequent good returns. When customers can see how a product will look in their homes or bodies before making a purchase, they are more likely to be satisfied with the product.

What is AR explain its application? ›

Augmented reality (AR) is an enhanced version of the real physical world that is achieved through the use of digital visual elements, sound, or other sensory stimuli and delivered via technology. It is a growing trend among companies involved in mobile computing and business applications in particular.

How AR is being used today? ›

Today, augmented reality is an effective business tool. Across a number of different industries like retail, business, gaming, healthcare, and even the military, augmented reality is used for solving various business challenges. It's important to keep an eye on these technologies to know where the industry is heading.

What is the purpose of AR? ›

Augmented reality is used to either visually change natural environments in some way or to provide additional information to users. The primary benefit of AR is that it manages to blend digital and three-dimensional (3D) components with an individual's perception of the real world.

How does AR and VR affect society? ›

As AR and VR are becoming more affordable and accessible, their ability to have a positive impact is growing. The platforms are helping to find the right candidates for jobs and can be used to train them safely. There is also increasing scope as a tool for social and health rehabilitation.

How AR and VR can be used in healthcare? ›

Most notably, AR and VR have the potential to enable a variety of new modalities in healthcare, ranging from how physicians and other medical professionals are trained, to augmenting their ability to practice medicine via telehealth and telemedicine.

Why virtual reality is important? ›

By suspending disbelief the same way we do when we read a novel or watch a movie, an artificial reality can be designed to enable experiential learning, scenario-based learning, social learning, workplace training, and more.

What are the knowledge and skills required to implement AR and VR? ›

Some of the technical skills that an AR, VR and gaming professional should possess include: Proficiency in programming languages such as C++, JAVA and C# Ability to use 3D tools like 3D MAX and Autodesk 3D. Video/sound production skills.

How is VR being used in business? ›

VR technology enables sales teams to immerse their clients in environments where they can interact with a product. For instance, Premise LED, an LED manufacturer for commercial and industrial companies, uses VR to illustrate differences in areas before and after lighting to help customers make choices.

How does VR benefit businesses? ›

Advantages of Virtual Reality in Business

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of VR experiences for business is that it can provide employees, stakeholders, and collaborators an immersive experience of a real-world environment in real time. This can help to improve safety procedures and increase productivity.

Should all businesses use virtual reality Why or why not? ›

VR offers every business the chance to rethink how they present to and engage with, their customers. As both marketing and customer service tools, VR opens new possibilities for showcasing products and services. Further down the line, it is likely to become a uniquely useful source of information on customer behaviour.

What are the four benefits of using AR and VR in Healthcare? ›

How VR and AR are empowering healthcare industry
  • Facilitating medical learning and healthcare training. ...
  • Realistic 3D visualisation. ...
  • Skills development training. ...
  • Advanced learning. ...
  • Enhanced patient care and education. ...
  • Improved patient education. ...
  • Virtual assistance in medical facilities. ...
  • Pain management through VR.
18 Jan 2020


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