Dhaka, Bangladesh
Moving into AR times

Moving into AR times

Augmented reality (AR) is not a new phenomenon for geeks, but certainly a novel experience for the masses as they are now witnessing the technologies moving from tactical to practical application. The very application of augmented reality technology is an enriching experience and very soon we will witness people walking around in malls, on roads and in factories wearing VR headsets. The landscape has been radically altered with Pokemon Go, and its acceptability across the young population has expedited the oncoming wave of e-transformation. The integration of virtual reality with brick and mortar businesses is now nearing fulfilment. Digital business, or rather marketing, would now have a new meaning and we will certainly see many new phraseologies being deployed by marketers. Augmented reality, currently being deployed in gaming, will bring in new marketing formats, starting with the retail industry and then moving into other sectors in the B2C domain. The core reason for this is generic formats that can be tweaked a little to suit each and every player. It will take some time for the technology to reach the B2B domains as deployments of tailored solutions are developed. E-commerce and m-commerce will now witness a radical change in thought and actionables, and, in one year's time, we will see online retailers deploying e-tools enabled with augmented reality features. Future prospects Gamification of the elements for product and process will take off and live demos will certainly be a holistic immersing experience. The oncoming concepts are mesmerising. There are a few good startups in India that are into the development, sale and manufacture of VR headsets. This market is likely to boom in the next three years, and hence, these companies now need to develop good products and move up the value chain from the beta versions that they now have in the market. They need to have VR headsets that no longer cause eye fatigue and can be worn for longer periods of time. Students in engineering colleges and technical courses can certainly chip in with startups to cash in on the huge opportunity that is coming in. By the next year, technology business incubators will have a few startup companies with business models offering services, hardware and software for the VR world. Gaming technologies and software will now be actively used to build interactive/ augmented reality solutions for businesses and a lot of money will flow into this sector. It will also provide computer science students with a new high-paying segment to fall back upon and many regular apps and games will be transformed into augmented reality GUI's (graphical user interface). Mobile phones will have much bigger batteries and 6 to 8 GB of RAM as standard configuration. A simple example is an e-shop where you can walk around with mobiles and VR headsets pointed at display racks and the business offering targeted discounts/offers to each customer. The price model would be tailored to suit each buyer rather than having a bold universally applicable 50 per cent off sale tag. While visiting the Taj Mahal, one could actually walk with Shah Jahan as he takes a stroll on the lawns of the Taj or attend Akbar's Diwan-e-Am or Diwan-e-Khas while on a visit to the Red Fort. One could even decide to fight in the Battle of Plassey or walk with Mahatma Gandhi on his Dandi March from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi and live the experience. History will no longer be a theoretical subject. 3D imaging will now get a new lease of life as content will have to be developed to offer a completely immersive experience. You could walk up Mount Everest with a virtual climbing expedition whose real climb has been documented using 3D cameras. While learning engineering, you could participate in building a car at the Maruti plant or grow trees in real-time while playing farming-related games rather than just clicks - which the current gaming platforms deploy. Students with ADHD or learning disabilities, or even slow learners, would now be able to better relate to the practical aspects of learning and their retention would certainly be much higher, thereby giving us a much better and competitive workforce. We may also see Facebook radically changing the home page and bringing in Augmented reality elements within the next one year. Career opportunities for students with creative skills are now opening up and those possessing knowledge of essential IT tools have bright prospects in the next five years.

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