Internet of Things (IoT) is all about making the world around us smarter.
It is about gathering information through a network of connected devices and converting it into real-time data. IoT is already making waves across the world by connecting users and their devices to everyday household items such as refrigerators, light bulbs, thermostats etc.
By 2020, it is predicted that there will be more than 25 billion internet-connected devices from self-driving cars, factory floor equipment to home appliances.
Imagine, the amount of data coming from these connected devices which can be useful for companies for analyzing and mining so that they can make better decisions. But the big question is whether the data deluge coming from the connected devices would be used optimally or not?
Optimal usage of the data from connected devices is what brings Augmented Reality (AR) into the picture. AR, the technology that overlays digital information onto a user’s view can help in providing the user with real-time data from the IoT devices at the right time and in the right context. Convergence of the technology that creates immersive experiences and the technology that facilitates inter-connection of devices will make for an interesting match.
Let’s check out some scenarios where their convergence can be used to address a range of real-world problems:
Helps to Provide Smarter Service
The unification of AR and IoT allows business to provide smarter service to their customers. In this scenario, smarter service is about displaying interactive instructions when the customer comes in contact with the product. For instance, AR helps to display data from the sensor devices that helps to fix small breakdowns in a rented commercial generator thus having a positive effect on the customer.
Aids Firefighters in Rescue Operations
Data plays a crucial role in every area more so in case of emergency services. The data collected in the aftermath of a fire incident can be useful in training the firefighters for any such future events. But, obtaining actionable intelligence on the spot will enhance the situational awareness thereby increasing the effectiveness and safety of the firefighter during the incident. The intersection of AR and IoT can make this possible with the visual and location-based aspect of AR providing a real-time interface for pumping out data from the IoT devices.
Smart Cities become smarter
Smart city initiatives have started to gain favor across the world. The development of smart cities requires usage of information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency, improve quality of the services of the government and for citizen welfare. IoT devices help to gather the required data for managing a smart city and AR helps to sort through the data deluge and helps the government to envision and engage depending on the context.
IoT together with AR can increase the productivity and efficiency of the staff working in an industrial set-up by extracting data from the connected devices and displaying them in a user-friendly and efficient manner depending on the context. The culmination of these two technologies also aids in diagnosing technical problems. For instance, when the inspection of factory floor devices is undertaken, real-time data from the sensors help to identify the devices that need to be replaced or whose components need to be changed.
Aids the farmer in making smart decisions
The culmination of AR and IoT can aid the farmers in crop monitoring and maintenance of farm vehicles. The sensors in the soil provide data about the conditions in the soil whether they are conducive to crop growth or not. AR helps to display this data at the right time to the farmer as he strolls through the farm. Understanding the moisture level of soil can help the farmers especially in the drought areas to know when watering is required. The farmers can fix small breakdowns in the farm vehicles all by themselves from the instructions provided by the IoT devices through AR display.
AR can be used complementarily with IoT in all areas wherever there is a requirement for real-time data from the sensor devices which has to be used in real-time. AR will act as a visualization tool providing an interface for displaying the information from the IoT devices. Hence we believe that AR will be to IoT, what the browser was to the Internet. One could not experience the Internet without a browser. Similarly, AR will become the front end for IoT and help visualize all the data deluge coming from millions of connected devices.