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HUMAN RESOURCES- Augmented Reality: How the HR Industry Benefits

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

The craze of “Pokemon Go” swept people around the world in 2016. One of the most downloaded mobile gaming apps, it brought the potential of Augmented Reality (AR) right into the limelight. The seamless integration of the two worlds, virtual and real, emphasized on the scope that AR offers, and introduced the world to the potential of this rather unknown and unheard term.

What is Augmented Reality?

Wikipedia defines AR as a ‘Live, direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose fundamentals are augmented by digitally-generated sensory inputs like graphics, sound, video or GPS data.’ AR enriches the natural information we receive through our five senses in real time, creating an enriching and interactive experience. Contrary to virtual reality, augmented reality is partially immersive. It places the elements in a user’s world without actually separating him from the real world.

AR aids collaboration simplifies cross-selling and enables on-the-job training. It provides a hands-free immersive approach with accessible platforms and eyewear, on which digital images or data can be superimposed in the real world. AR is fast becoming a game changer with its increasing usage, not only in games and apps but also in navigation, field jobs, interactive learning, training, design and development, advertisement and promotional campaigns, etc., narrowing the gap between the digital and real world.

How can Augmented Reality benefit HR?

Talent acquisition and retention, human capital management, and employee engagement are some of the most significant challenges for a CHRO. However, with the availability of new technological tools, and workplaces now transiting from traditional environments to digitally driven environments, HR leaders are in a better position to acquire and manage talent. These technological advancements of AR can establish a smart and augmented work environment, providing an open, flexible and fluidic approach.

There are various use cases of AR – it can be used to allow field workers to access manuals, ensure high-quality training, save costs and time and increase productivity. High precision training can be acquired by implementing AR in real life work scenarios that are difficult, and sometimes dangerous, to be better prepared. AR is also beneficial for workers operating in repairs/maintenance through access to this hands-free visual data and remote guidance.

Another area where augmented reality can make a massive difference is employee engagement. In today’s day-and-age of smartphones and apps, working with a suitable interface can minimize the gap between the employee and the HR. Devising customized benefits and competitive compensations apart, AR offers the luxury of superimposing data on physical surfaces and distribution through wearables.

Brands and AR

The next big question is how brands around the world are adopting the AR technology to improve businesses and strengthen Employee Value Proposition?

Brands like Sodexo are incorporating latest digital technologies while engaging with relevant partners to accelerate one-on-one interactions. Sodexo used the hi-tech MultiTaction in 2017, allowing HR Leaders to discover their leadership styles in a fun and unique way. The CHROs were asked to customize meals through this table, which provided insights into their leadership styles. If merely customizing a meal can render so much information, imagine the ocean of opportunities that can be capitalized, using AR and analytics in sync.

The omnipresence of augmented reality technology, be it in carrying out simulations to test the effectiveness of solutions, the projection of results of work in progress, improving the user experience for data analytics, brand marketing or engaging the employee, has the potential to revolutionize and restructure businesses across industries and sectors.

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