Augmented Reality (AR) is an exciting new field that is opening up today. If you had asked anyone a few years back what AR was, chances are that very few people would have been able to tell you, and even then their information would be very limited and theoretical in nature. However, AR has now really come into its own. Still it has only been possible in the last few years, which is why businesses are still not sure what to do with it. What they don’t know is that AR can have a variety of uses which can help a business really make a name for itself as being cutting edge. Who wouldn’t be impressed with a company who is ahead of the curve; who has already implement AR while most of their competitors are only just now starting to think that they can do something with AR to begin with.

AR is already growing popular within the industry, in fact Statista estimates that the total number of active AR and VR users is forecasted to reach 171 million by 2018. It is also expected that the global augmented reality market is expected to grow to about 90 billion U.S. dollars by 2020. Hence, utilizing AR can really cement a business’s place in the customer’s mind, not to mention it can really be a great marketing strategy.

Following are the ways for implementing Augmented Reality in Business:

1. Gaming

This is one of the most obvious uses of AR. In fact, when one says AR, it is likely that this is what most people think of. It was the gaming industry who has been at the forefront of the development of AR. Though the implementation has been slightly slow, the industry is still one of the primary adopters of AR. A number of mobile gaming companies have been developing apps based on AR. Disney recently released an AR game for the promotion of its movie, Infinity War. In the game, the player gets to put on an Iron Man like helmet whose screen projects Thanos and his army. The player can then use the accompanied blasters to fight Thanos and defeat his army, if they can. This is just of the many examples of AR gaming, the most famous of which is of course Pokemon Go.

2. Sports

Sports fans tend to get very engrossed in the game. Just watching the game is not enough they need to pour over the details of the play, player statistics, probability scores, etc. With AR this can be possible. Users would be able to watch the match in person, but the AR technology can provide a constant stream of information while the game is still going on, so that the user can still continue to watch without having to miss anything.

3. Marketing

Marketing has a lot of potential to be used with AR. A number of people today prefer to shop online, because you can see a ton of information on the product pages, information that may or may not be available in a physical store. However, the limitation of this is that the buyer cannot see or touch the real product before buying. AR has the ability to offer the best of both worlds. Imagine being able to walk into a store to see and feel a product, while also using your AR enabled phone to see all the information about the product right there, such as the price, product characteristics, as well as any offers or discounts on the product.

4. Home Design and Décor

AR is already being implemented to help make home décor and design easy. If you love a product, such as a bookshelf or a new sofa, there is no exact way of knowing how it will look in your house before you buy it. Will it fit? Will it match the rest of the décor? However, this is where AR comes in. AR allows you to see how that particular product will look in your space with all your other items already there with only the help of a smartphone or tablet. There are a number of apps already available where people can change the decor of their home for the fun of it. Companies like Ikea allow customers to see how anything from their online catalogue will look in their homes before buying it, and all from the comfort of their home.

5. Healthcare

Believe it or not, AR can play a huge role in helping improve healthcare and manage patients. Doctors and healthcare professionals can use AR to immediately check a person’s history and cross reference it with their symptoms to better diagnose them, even as they walk through their door. It can also show the doctor results from the patient’s tests even as they are speaking to the patient or examining them. AR can also be used to keep track of insurance information or any other information that the doctor or medical professionals may need.

6. Maps and Navigation

Maps and navigation have already made things easier for an everyday person. No more stopping to ask for directions, hoping that someone has heard of the store or the street address. One can simply plug in the address into a map application and it will guide you as well as tell you what is in the area. AR can improve this process. One company has already built an AR augmented car windshield which shows the navigation directly onto the windshield as the user is driving. This is still experimental and not available commercially, but that is just the beginning. This technology can also be implemented inside large building and structures, such as in malls or museums where they can guide customers to where they want to go.

7. Education and Data Visualization

Another handy implementation for AR can be in education and information. Imagine how cool it would be if you could point your smartphone at an illustration in a boring textbook, and that illustration came to life, allowing you to visualize and study it in a 3D environment. Same can be said for charts and graphs for data visualization. This will really help make things easy for students and scientists alike, allowing them to visualize, interpret, and modify data easily.

These are just some ways in which AR can be implemented. There are thousands more, literally the sky is the limit. If someone can think it, chances are they are use AR to implement it. Furthermore as the technology improves over the next couple of years, we are bound to see more innovative ways in which AR will be implemented. However, you do not want to get left behind on the curve so it is better to start thinking of ways in which AR can help you.