Augmenting the Reality of Everything

Imagine the following scenario from a not-too-distant future: It’s morning – time to get up and go to work. You put on your spectacles, just like millions have done since Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals generations ago. But yours are no ordinary eyeglasses. They’re a gateway into all the journeys you’ll take throughout the day – big and little, personal and work, and everything in between.

And when your work is done, it’s also fun to leave some time for chasing phantom zombies around the neighborhood.

Welcome to the coming world of augmented reality, a technological watershed preceded by years of trial and error, goofy-looking headgear, brawls with “glassholes” and sci-fi detours into isolated realms of virtual reality. Those who write off AR as “just a game thing” do so at their own peril. AR will remake experiences in our work and personal lives in important – and yes, fun – ways.


The Center for the Future of Work just published a widened aperture of the long game on augmented reality. Organizations across industries need to begin weaving immersive technologies into customer, employee, supplier and partner interactions – or risk irrelevance in the years to come.

Many leading companies – from film, travel, healthcare, retail, automotive, education and heavy equipment industries – have moved beyond pilot phases and are deriving real results from early initiatives applying this profound visualization tool. Whether it’s used to help electric utilities install and optimize wind turbines, bring smiles to the elderly in dreary nursing homes, enhance factory floor safety for industrial workers, design a new skyscraper (or even place your next tattoo!), early adopters are using AR to orchestrate the future of work – and play – experiences.

Advancements in immersive technologies such as AR, VR and the mash-up of the two known as mixed reality (MR) suggest a future of limitless possibility. Important early signposts include:

  • Massive bets have been placed on AR and VR by technology visionaries. Just since 2014, Facebook paid an estimated $2 billion (some say $3 billion) for Oculus, Magic Leap has reportedly raised nearly $1.4 billion in funding, Microsoft bought Osterhout Design Group’s patents for a reported $150 million, Apple bought Metaio, and Google, Facebook, Intel and Snapchat have each acquired multiple component makers and solution providers.
  • It’s not just for gaming – business processes will also become AR-enhanced “journeys.” Just as most new technology today starts in the consumer space and moves to the enterprise, AR will catalyze advances in gaming – but it won’t stop there. It will meld people, places, time, space, things, changes of events, A/B choices and next-best-actions into a fusion and flow we call a journey.
  • Consumer behaviors have turned time (and our attention spans) into a ready canvas for AR. Augmented with immersive technologies, captive moments present latent opportunities to close information gaps and capture our attention.
  • The “services economy” is giving way to the “experience economy.” Frictionless AR will personalize the next generation of storytelling and serve as the midwife for the so-called experience economy, with a massive and profound impact on processes – and business models.

This new research provides an in-depth perspective into the impact of AR on the future of tasks, business processes and personal experiences. Practical actions from progressive adopters show how AR can lead to value generation, quickly.

Whether you’re a senior operations executive or in the AR lab experimenting on the cutting edge, you’ll soon see processes morph, influenced by gaming, design, storytelling, deep analytics and online commerce – using augmented reality as the catalyst.

The new whitepaper from the Center for the Future of Work is entitled: “Augmenting the Reality of Everything”. It can be downloaded at: https://www.cognizant.com/whitepapers/augmenting-the-reality-of-everything-codex3050.pdf