Though it’s currently in its infancy, augmented reality (AR) technology will change how we work. Our ability to integrate AR apps into our everyday business situations is driving not only a new workplace, but a new employee mindset. It is completely revolutionizing how we collaborate and access data.

So what is augmented reality and how will it impact business to#BeFutureReady?

In his report “Innovation Insight: Augmented Reality Will Become an Important Workplace Tool,” Tuong Huy Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner, defined augmented reality as “the real-time use of information in the form of text, graphics, audio and other virtual enhancements integrated with real-world objects.”

“AR leverages and optimizes the use of other technologies such as mobility, location, 3-D content management and imaging and recognition,” he wrote. “It is especially useful in the mobile environment because it enhances the user’s senses via digital instruments to allow faster responses or decision-making.”

Many companies have already tested the viability of AR devices. One of the early adopters is Bloomberg, the New York-based financial software, data and media company. Its Bloomberg Terminal is a data monitoring and analyzing platform built for financial professionals. Even with six screens displaying streams of information, news tickers, analysis windows, emails and alerts, users don’t have a full view of all the data.

To address this problem, the company connected a prototype terminal toOculus Rift, the virtual reality headset by Oculus VR, which was acquired by Facebook. The headset gives users a 365-degree view, allowing for much greater visibility.

Another use of augmented reality is Microsoft’s much-hypedHoloLensAccording to Microsoft, the HoloLens will transform the workplace. “With the ability to design and shape holograms, you’ll have a new medium to express your creativity, a more efficient way to teach and learn, and a more effective way to visualize your work and share ideas,” the company says.

Because HoloLens is not commercially available yet, there is no way to know whether it will live up to the hype.

However, smart glasses do have the legs to bring change. With their ability to streamline the workflow, lessen decision-making time and enable seamless communication, smart wearables are already making waves in the business. For instance, SAP has recently launched two Vuzix smart glasses-supported business applications to offer a hands-free experience to warehouse workers and field technicians.

Additionally, AR can allow for greater workplace collaboration. Ever since the MIT Media Lab demonstrated the power of 3-D holographic presence, holographic telepresence has been in the works.

Right Management’s The Flux Report 2014 showed that 49 percent of human resource decision makers predict that holographic telepresence meetings will be one of the most striking workplace changes over the next five years.

It’s only a matter of time before we start seeing AR used more widely in the workplace.

This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies.

Image: Creative Commons 

Daniel Newman
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Daniel Newman

Founder and President at Broadsuite, Inc.
After 12 years of running technology companies including a CEO appointment at the age of 28, I traded the corner office for a chance to drive the discussion on how the digital economy is going to forever change the way business is done. I'm an MBA, adjunct business professor and 4x author of best-selling business books including "The Millennial CEO" and "The New Rules of Customer Engagement." Pianist, soccer fan, husband and father, not in that order. Oh and for work...I'm the co-founder of V3B [Broadsuite], a marketing firm specializing in the digital space, helping companies be found, seen and heard in a cluttered digital world.
Daniel Newman
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