Business prepares for an augmented reality revolution

Signal of change / Business prepares for an augmented reality revolution

By Futures Centre / 01 Feb 2015

In our topic hub on the future of shipping, we're asking who the future captains of the sea will be, as augmented reality brings new possibilities for control. 

In early 2014, Rolls Royce, together with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, released a concept video visualising what might be possible in a future where virtual reality bridges replace traditional seafaring controls.

The technology even has the potential to improve upon the “real life” experience, increasing a captain’s situational awareness through visual augmentation that allows them to “see through objects on the deck for an unobscured view at the surrounds”.

DHL released a report “Augmented Reality in Logistics” later in the year, which predicted that the Augmented Reality (AR) market will grow to $5.2 billion by 2017, up from a mere $181 million in 2011. Already the company is thinking of implementing wearable headsets that could optimise the picking process in warehouses. As the first generations of augmented reality are installed and tested, experts believe that sophisticated versions will appear within the next 15 years.

Image credit: Misguided_photo / Flickr  

So what?

Augmented reality (AR) could be used to optimise operating systems and decision-making, introducing efficiencies in both human resources and energy use.

In the short-term, AR technology can be used to train ship captains and operators. In the long-run, it will change the human resources needs for the industry, reducing physical ship crew numbers while increasing the need for engineers and maintenance capabilities to set up and maintain the systems.

The development of AR technology will sit closely alongside the design of autonomous vessels, and face a similar set of socio-ethical concerns.


What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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