Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and the 'Magpie Effect'

Google Glass was first made available for sale in 2013 and brought with it the promise of a new way of viewing the world with added information and personalised views, if you could afford the hefty price tag of course. At the same time Virtual Reality stormed into our awareness with the Oculus Rift, a completely immersive, yet still admittedly basic, gaming head set. Virtual Reality, a failure from the early 90’s was now the new kid on the block and very much became the place where developers and entrepreneurs wanted to be.

Now in 2017, Virtual Reality seems to be steaming ahead, with PlayStation VR, Samsung Gear, Google Cardboard and many other headsets on the market. You can even pick them up from petrol stations now as you fill up your car. I think it’s fair to say that VR is definitely getting all the attention these days. It’s part of what I call the magpie effect. It’s shiny and exciting so it draws people in. Just like a magpie is attracted to shiny metal we as humans are attracted to innovation and exciting new toys.

Publicly, Augmented Reality really struggled to overcome the negative press from the early adopters. It was a bit clunky, hard to use and the everyday applications just didn’t really meet a genuine need. But behind the scenes, Augmented Reality has been quietly developing and I think it’s time that we shined a light on what this really cool tech can do!

Harvard Business Review published an article showcasing an AR solution for wind turbine wiring and how the engineer is 34% quicker using Augmented Reality to assist in the process verses a traditional paper based manual. Check it out here:

Productivity or lack of has been a recent focus in Europe and the US. Since the global financial crisis productivity levels have remained low, they show signs of recovering but have quite a way to go. The video of the GE technician shows how we can start to tackle the productivity issue, and how Augmented Reality can help with some very complicated processes. Instead of carting manuals around, now you just need a pair of glasses. It seems the technology is now reaching an important stage where it is good enough to really start exploring and I have no doubt we will see many other worthwhile and valuable applications of Augmented Reality very shortly!