In a tweet today Forrester analyst James Kobielus asked when business intelligence vendors will leverage augmented reality to overlay 3D analytics. Kobielus was responding to an article from Smarter Technology called "Augmented Reality: From Zero to Billions in No Time," which looks at the emerging AR market, how the technology is being used and how it could be used in future. The article notes some business-to-business uses, such as equipment vendors embedding specifications directly into products, but is mostly focused on consumer tech.

We've looked at some proof-of-concept materials for enterprise AR from SAP before, and this video from Blogtronix and TAT demonstrate some ideas about how AR could be used in business as well. I've long thought that AR technology will be best applied not to consumers but to specific work-related tasks. I think proponents have overestimated the value of visual overlays for consumer experiences, especially when overlays add little to the experience of using a location-aware application on a mobile phone. However, there are many situations where having information overlays could be quite valuable.

One of the first things that comes to mind is carpentry and other skilled trades. What sorts of spatial data, such as measurements, could be useful here? What about real estate appraisers, interior decorators, merchandisers or insurance investigators?

Do you think there are instances where AR would be useful in your workplace?

Photo by Shereen M