IoT and Augmented Reality and are a Dynamic Duo
It’s easy to view the Internet of Things as a discreet entity that merely connects systems and devices. But the true power of the IoT lies in developing new ways to do things. And nowhere is this more apparent than within the augmented reality (AR) space.
Although virtual reality is the shiny object that produces heaps of hype, AR is currently producing real-world results for businesses. Over the last couple of years, AR technology has advanced extraordinarily fast. For example, it’s now allowing consumers to try on clothes and makeup virtually, and businesses to aid technicians in installing and servicing products.
Numerous applications are possible across a wide swath of industries, including medicine, financial services, retail, and manufacturing. Tying into analytics, AI, and other emerging technologies, it’s possible to take features, functions, and processes where they have never gone before. In fact, the market for AR and the IoT could reach $7 trillion by 2027, according to ReportsnReports.
A New View
AR allows organizations to “take advantage of the torrent of information and insights produced by millions of smart, connected products worldwide,” according to a 2017 Harvard Business Review article by Michael E. Porter and James E. Heppelmann. It can be used on smartphones, smart mirrors, goggles, and glasses, in an automobile, and on other screens. The connection points are limited only by the application and the ingenuity of those engineering it.
AR is a fit with The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which assembles emerging tech and AI in new and explosive ways. Using the IoT and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), it’s possible to tap into increasingly sophisticated computing systems and data frameworks, including digital twins. These advanced simulations allow a business to view digital systems that represent real-world systems, spurring innovation, boosting productivity, and trimming costs.
Putting AR to Work
IT integrators can benefit from focusing on AR as a practice area. Already, industry leaders like Boeing, Volvo, Siemens, GE, and Microsoft are putting the technology to work in big ways.
Still, connected devices also pose cybersecurity challenges. As hardware and data accumulate over cloud, edge, fog, and Wi-Fi networks, data integrity cannot take a back seat. It’s critical that all components—including wearables—have strong security protections built-in. This touches everything from authentication to encryption; malware protection to firmware; and OS to software patches and updates.
AR takes both the opportunities and challenges related to the IoT to a new level, especially as it is deployed onto more devices, machines, and systems. Wise integrators will now respond accordingly.
Samuel Greengard is a business and technology writer based in West Linn, Ore. He is the author of The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).