AR Bridges Physical and Digital Worlds

Augmented reality (AR) technology is here now, and companies of all shapes and sizes are utilizing it to change the way work gets done and to drive better outcomes for themselves and their clients. IDC believes that organizations should be among the first to embrace this new technology or they could face near-term disruption of their business. IDC also see strong interest in AR inside of companies that have specific needs around knowledge transfer and training, sales and marketing, and manufacturing. When you sum these major groups together, the result is that a huge number of companies are already using AR.

According to IDC’s recent Worldwide Augmented and Virtual Reality Spending Guide, companies spent more than $3.6 billion worldwide on AR hardware, software, and services, and that number is set to grow to more than $8 billion in 2018. IDC recently completed a custom project for PTC in the United States and surveyed a mix of IT decision makers, enterprise executives, and line-of-business managers and found that 77% of companies were already experimenting with AR. While most companies were still in the early stages of testing, a surprisingly large number of them were already moving from proof of concept into pilots, from pilots into the early stage of deployment, or from early stage deployments into late-stage deployments. Another 6% said they expected to begin testing AR in the next 6–12 months. Less than one-fifth of respondents said their company had no immediate plans around AR. More than 76% of respondents from manufacturing agree AR is driving a measurable ROI for manufacturing.

AR technology is exciting because it brings real-world benefits to organizations left out of the digital transformation wave. Why? Because in many cases, the job to be done, the process to be revised, or the knowledge to be transferred requires at least one foot in the physical world and one foot in the digital world. AR helps bridge this gap by bringing digital assets into the real world – content viewable on mobile devices such as smartphones as well as using headsets that let workers engage with the content hands free. The result is that in the space of a few years, companies stuck with using paperbased processes, that are dealing with aging expert populations, or that have been looking for ways to iterate more rapidly in manufacturing have found the tools they need to move into the 21st century.

Today is an exciting time for such firms, but it also means companies in these industries that are slow to adopt these new technologies, that take a “wait and see” approach, may find themselves quickly falling behind. In a white paper IDC dive deep into some of the primary use cases of ARs, knowledge transfer and training, sales and marketing, and manufacturing. It also includes insights from individuals at companies who have already started their AR journey.

Download the IDC white paper.