Augmented Reality is nothing new. In fact, it’s over sixty years old, having been invented by Morton Heilig during the 1950’s in Chicago. Known as the ‘father of virtual reality’ he devised an ‘experience theatre’ which used photographs, fans and vibrations to add additional dimensions to the cinema experience. Unfortunately, the experience never took off, proving too costly for theatres to adopt.

Fast forward to 2016, and a new craze is sweeping the planet: Pokémon GO. The App, which is now a worldwide sensation, having amassed a revenue of $200 million in its first month, challenges users to find fictional creatures in the real world. The App uses Augmented Reality to overlay composite videos, images, and animation over real world locations as they are viewed thought a smart device.

The potential of Augmented Reality reaches far beyond gaming. RTS Group has been using and developing the technology in the automotive industry for over ten years. Our most recent project allows customers to use their smartphone to find out more information about certain maintenance methods and features. Due to the busy lives of the average car buying consumer, there was a clear need to introduce clear, convenient and innovative methods for providing this learning. The solution we picked for this was Augmented Reality.

To enable the learning, we placed ten trigger points in and around a vehicle, which were then brought to life with a 3D chroma keyed service advisor, who popped up when viewed through a smart device.

Tracey, one of the first customers to use the App said, ‘I find it such a pain to dig out and refer to when I need to check tyre pressures or check where the washer fluid goes. This is a great replacement for the instruction manual.’

One of the primary reasons we use Augmented Reality as part of our L&D programmes is because it allows us to give people experiences which they would otherwise never get to experience, in an informal manner, at a time and a place to suit them. It also puts the user in control on the experience, meaning they can interact with as much of the content as they desire.

John, a salesman at our local dealership who was one of the first to experience the App added, ‘Customers like the ability to take control of the iPad and find out information for themselves – in their own time, and without the pressure of being in the company of a salesman! They like to see information presented in a way they can understand, and absorb.’

The future of Augmented Reality is only going to keep progressing forward, as the world craves more and more aesthetically stimulating and exciting projects. One thing is definitely for sure though, the best is still yet to come!

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