Augmented Reality is confidently making its way in the business world and in the world around us. One of the ways it found its practical application is in navigation and maps.
There are numerous mobile map applications out there, but let's see what are the benefits of implementing AR solutions for effective geolocation.
One of the biggest challenges with implementing AR solutions to the already established business models is proving its necessity.
In the majority of the cases, AR solutions are a great addition but it's rarely a necessity for the customer experience.
However, in the case of routing and navigation systems, things are a little bit different. This field of application offers a very diverse and multi-layered target audience as well as a multitude of use cases.
Use cases and people who can use AR navigation:
- Those who may use AR routing application casually once in a while to find restaurants in the vicinity, for example
- Tourists who are not familiar with the whereabouts of anything in particular, for whom it would be helpful to walk distinct routes without trying to reorient oneself on the map constantly
- Creative use of routing such as in cases of quests where players need to use such tools in order to progress in the game
- Emergency cases when AR extension may be helpful to find the quickest route or direction towards the hospital or something else
These are just scratching the surface — there are many more uses of AR navigation apps opportunities.
In this article, we are going to take a look at the way AR Navigation solutions are used in various industries.
If anything, it is always a good thing to know where are you going especially in a place you are not familiar with. Getting lost is one of the most common problems that occur with any traveler or tourist once in a while. While maps and geolocation apps can definitely help, their accessibility is limited in comparison with an Augmented Reality solution.
Here’s why. In the case of basic geolocation, you have your location and a map with all the information. However, your movement options are limited due to lack of knowledge of the territory. It's not a deal-breaker, but there is a chance of getting into trouble which is a headache abroad. How can AR make getting to your destination simpler?
Well, it can literally show you where to go. AR geolocation shows you exactly where you are and where to go. AR map can be a powerful addition to the travel experience since it will be basically a video game head-up display. But it is just one of the options. At the moment, several travel companies are trying out emergency routing apps which can be activated in any emergency situations.
Such applications have a set of routes to such locations as hotels, hospitals, and foreign embassies. Augmented Reality Routing is most commonly in the Travel & Tourism Industry.
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- Locations of interest (restaurants, cafes, and other points of interest) on the map and in Augmented Reality mode
- Information about restaurants, art galleries, parks, and more
- Navigation and direction to the points of interest
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On the other hand, AR opens an entirely new dimension for a guided tour. Finding a qualified guide to make an engaging and memorable tour is a challenge. It is rarely a truly personalized experience and usually, a lot of stuff slips through cracks because of tour's limited time.
How can augmented reality navigation fit into guided tours? First of all, AR guide is available whenever and wherever you want. In this case, it is a matter of availability of the content. Customization comes next. Not only you can adjust the tour according to your interest — you can build the whole sequence of stops on your own and move from point-to-point at your own pace.
Virtual Reality can also be useful for navigation. While its practical value is lesser than AR (because you usually need to be aware of the physical reality you're in) — there is a way it can be applied, namely in sort of precognitive way.
For example, you need to visit a place you’ve never been to before. It is natural to check out how it looks like and how you can get in and out of there. That’s where VR solution can fit in. In a way, such apps can be considered as a variation of “Try before you buy” concept but in a more “Try before you go”-way.
Museums often experience the overflow of visitors and overstretched guided groups. It is especially felt in the popular museums such as MOMA and Louvre. In the smaller museums, the situation is almost the opposite but they also struggle with not having enough resources to have their own fully prepared qualified guides. Both of these challenges can be solved with an addition of Augmented Reality Solutions.
Basically, Museum AR guide is one of the more elaborate navigating application due to the sheer quantity of content it needs to have. Not only you need to build a route, adapt it to the relevant exposition but also fill it with the important information in an engaging presentation. That’s a lot of work.
From a practical standpoint, however, it can help to deal with the large flow of visitors and keep them all well-informed about the art collection and the peculiarities of the particular works of art. Especially if you include some sort of AI into the algorithms so that your app would build the route in a way that would distribute the people equally between the locations. (Far-fetched, but hey, it would be a great addition and everyone will have a decent chance to admire a painting without struggling to breathe among the multitudes of Mona Lisa fans.)
You can read about other VR Travel in our recent article.
Healthcare system was one of the pioneers in implementing AR and VR solutions, especially for educational purposes. In the case of navigation, there are several ways vr/ar healthcare apps can apply routing features.
First and foremost, routing can be used in finding the closest hospital for the foreigners and guiding them to it. While its practicality is still limited, it is an option that can potentially save someone’s life and that is always important.
On the other hand, routing can be used by patients to navigate in large hospital structures in order to find where their doctors are situated or how to get to a place where their procedure will take place. While it may seem unnecessary and somewhat overly lazy — it is an option that may come in handy in some cases.
The military industrial complex is always one step ahead of everyone. It is no different in case of creative use of Augmented reality for routing.
Here’s a use case. There are many former and frozen war zones littered with mines and other dangerous things that were left undetonated or unspotted. People often get blown up even on a known minefield due to inability to spot the danger properly. Enter AR.
Augmented reality GPS-based routing of the safe route over minefields or other dangerous places can be a solution for civilians who are still living in war zones. It is not a saving grace, but it can definitely help.
If you add drone assistance to an equation — you get fully loaded monitoring system that can be used in emergency situations.
Another field where AR Routing can be effectively implemented is the transportation industry. On a surface, it seems like a no-brainer. There are numerous sci-fi works that describe smart screens and head-up display (AR HUD) with lots of data and stats. Just think of the Iron Man's costume.
Such things can be useful when you are driving and AR can greatly improve user experience by streamlining the interface and implementing visual prioritizing.
At the moment, some of the biggest car manufacturers are trying to figure out a smart screen solution for the vehicle's windscreen so that it would include an interface with all the critical stats right before the driver’s eyes. But while smart screens are things of relatively distant future, similar approaches can be used with smart glass. Combined with automated speed control this can revolutionize the whole concept of transportation.
However, it should be noted that there is a significant challenge with the implementation of AR into driving experience and it is the driver’s themselves. Driving needs concentration and information popping up right before the driver's eyes can be distracting and potentially dangerous, so that issue should definitely be taken into account.
The in-store experience is one of the foundational elements of a traditional retail industry. Retailers all over the world are trying to make it as engaging as possible. However, the marketplaces are often too big and overwhelming for a person. Enter AR.
Augmented Reality Navigation features seem to be tailor-made (pun intended) for retail in so many ways. Navigation is one the most exciting parts of retail where it can be easily implemented.
Here’s how it works — AR routing can show where is situated something customer wants to find. Also, AR routing can be applied to compose an optimized shopping route which is a blessing for those who dig it.
Another really interesting vr retail routing solution involves gamification of the customer experience. In this case, the route leads not only to the product but for some gifts or discounts or other pleasant surprises.
Navigating through the sea of events on various summits and conventions is always a challenge (have you ever been to the Web Summit's Night Summit???) However, a simple AR solution can streamline indoor navigation through a pavilion and make it a walk in a park instead of run through the jungle.
There are several ways routing can be implemented.
The most obvious is a combination of an event augmented reality app with a routing feature that can show how to walk to a particular area. It is nice and simple and never going to go out of fashion.
The other way AR can greatly improve visitor experience involves presentation. In cases of presenting an architecture project or other proofs of concept stretched over multiple areas — Augmented Reality may come in handy to keep the sequence intact. As a variation of a guided tour, it can be more convincing to the visitors than a random wandering.
Navigation and routing seem to be the easiest way of implementing AR Solutions without disrupting the natural state of things i.e. the established business models. It can also greatly expand customer experience and open up new possibilities within a well-developed field.
The process of creating the solutions isn't without its challenges, but let’s hope that in a not so distant future AR will be just another part of our daily lives.