How Pokemon Go may help AR's business case

Pokemon Go is making augmented reality a household technology. That reality can only help enterprises dabbling in the technology.

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Before Pokemon Go launched to become a technology phenomenon, 38 percent of companies were very familiar with augmented reality technology. Now that employees everywhere will be losing corporate productivity playing, Pokemon Go any stragglers on augmented reality are about to catch up.

We recently did a special report on the use of virtual and augmented reality in the enterprise. What a Tech Pro Research survey found was a lot of interest in augmented reality.

But let's get real: Augmented reality (AR), which was talked up by Microsoft with its HoloLens, had a lot of potential, but was a bit wonky. There were good-use cases in manufacturing, employee training, and supply chain to name just a few. However, the average employee wasn't going to be on board with AR out of the gate.

Also: Ten industries using augmented reality and virtual reality | Executive's guide to the business value of VR and AR (free ebook) | Five ways augmented reality will transform your business | CNET: Pokemon Go: Gyms, candy, pokeballs and everything else you need to know

Now AR is going to become a household acronym as the buzz-o-meter goes crazy and even Nintendo shares get a lift. I can't say I saw that development happening. As AR becomes the technology of Pikachu, those business-use cases will accelerate.

First, enterprise developers will be able to describe their apps as something akin to Pokemon Go. Employees will get it and training costs will come down. Toss in some analytics into the AR environment, and suddenly, there's a return.

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Just saying an enterprise app will rhyme with a popular consumer one will boost awareness. Put Pikachu in a warehouse to help you find inventory -- and you get a double bonus.

Meanwhile, the use of AR will help corporate wellness apps everywhere. One wacky side effect is that Pokemon Go actually has people walking and active. Pokemon Go did wonders for step counts over the weekend.

What Pokemon Go ultimately accomplishes remains to be seen. For now, AR-use cases for business are going to solidify. Pokemon Go has made placing virtual objects in the real world commonplace and fun. That move will make it easier for enterprises to accelerate AR for visualization, remote training, collaboration, and training.