How Augmented Reality Can Improve the IoT Product Design

August 11, 2019

Athar Majeed

The development of IoT (Internet of Things) has made possible a variety of scenarios that only seemed fiction 10 years ago. The ability to connect various devices, such as household items, garage doors and smartphones through the internet is one of the most important achievements in the future of technology, and predictions show that, by 2020, there will be more than 26 billion connected devices. Throughout the years, IoT has opened up vital uses for technologies that had, at first, limited usage possibilities. Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the multiple technologies that benefit from this. IoT has the possibility to make AR a practical tool, especially in industries that depend on complex interactions of users and data.

Breaking the barriers

One of the major accomplishments of the evolution of technology is breaking the boundaries between people from all over the world, be them physical or intellectual. It has become a tool for erasing geographical and cultural differences and bringing people closer.

A constant connection between everything in the physical world through the internet uncovers unlimited potential. From connected cars that communicate with each other to prevent crashes and increase safety, to fridges that send a notification when you are out of milk. These technologies can all be improved with a touch of augmented reality.

Today, we can watch people play online games, comment on someone’s outfit and work on projects together, even though people are miles apart. Augmented reality is, step-by-step, integrated into these collaboration tools, to offer people a more real experience.

Creating smart services

By using AR dashboards, for example, line operators can see real-time temperatures of metal pieces or display instructions regarding how to disassemble certain machinery. In simple words, AR gives the possibility of seeing inside a product without needing to actually pull the pieces apart. This could, for example, allow customer service employees to see what the issue with a certain product that is connected to IoT is and instruct the customer on how to operate or inspect it. This saves time and offers the possibility to provide more effective instructions. In this case, IoT serves as the link, the analytics component, while AR provides user-experience.

Improving design

Augmented reality offers designers and product developers a way to bring their projects into the real world. They can take the 3D model of a product and project it into the real world. For example, when designing a car, AR offers the possibility to enter the car, move around and see how it would react in the real world. This can help discover issues that may not be visible before production, thus improving the quality of the product.

Read Also: Tips to Improve Design Thinking

Object recognition, the newest development in AR, offers the possibility to determine what products you want the AR app to recognize and interact with them. “This opens the possibility to combine the real and virtual world by allowing designers and developers to see how even the smallest change or update can affect the product and make effective improvements,” says David Fletcher form Trust My Paper.

Architecture and Interior designs are other fields that benefit from the AR and IoT symbiosis. Architects could now have the proper tools to see how constructions and renovations can affect a building and its surroundings. At the same time, interior designers can provide real-time renders of a room and work with the client to reach the final product.

Maximizing safety and health

Receiving real-life vital information regarding the environment could often save lives. One example of this combination of AR and IoT are “Head-up displays” in the automotive industry. The small transparent screens help users be aware of their surroundings and show speed and lane data on top of the actual road.

Safety helmets that use AR can detect falling objects, display temperature, toxicity and other biometric sensors. This could be extremely helpful for dangerous work environments, helping construction works, firefighters or chemists do their job with more insight.

Through AR, medical students can visualize the internal anatomical system and perform dissections in the same way they would on real organs. Other applications can help nurses locate the veins of the patients for different procedures. Doctors could also use AR to more precisely locate the pain in a patient’s body, without the need for x-rays or other scans, by simply visualizing temperature changes and inflammations.

Remote assistance

This becomes more and more necessary in the fast-paced world that we live in. AR could be the answer to more effective and time-efficient customer service experiences. An AR-driven app makes possible for remote experts to get in touch with customers or technicians when they face an issue regarding a product. By being able to visualize and identify problems from a distance, experts can plan the intervention ahead, minimizing costs and time investments.

Users can also place annotations on 3D models, which they can share with technicians, eliminating confusion and giving context to the issue.


Augmented reality can also help enterprises streamline the production process. Both small and big enterprises are benefiting from the help of AR and IoT. It can help employees see how materials are combined to create the final product and displays step-by-step guides on how to assemble and disassemble components. Factories are using text, barcode and 2D image recognition in their production process. So far, only the retail and manufacturing industries are investing in AR solutions, but there is more to be expected in the years to come.

Object Recognition (OR) technology can help track and understand the line of production, along with its components. Supervisors would also have a way to monitor information from all sensors, controllers and other hardware and verify if the job has been done correctly. Workers that use OR technology can take advantage of 3D instructions to help with the repair, assembly and maintenance tasks.

AR can help in storage and distribution warehouses, especially when talking about big storage facilities, where machinery and stored goods can be hard to find. AR can add value to indoor search, by using navigation systems and assist employees in their search. Instead of manually counting and analyzing goods, AR can help scan and give information about the number of products and their quality.

Finally, with so much to look forward regarding technology advancements and the use of Augmented Reality for IoT product design, we can expect this match made in heaven to penetrate the mass market even more. Object Recognition can help multiple industries and streamline production, design and maintenance processes, to make the entire development of a product more time and cost-effective. But while production industries are the first to benefit from AR and IoT developments, one can only expect that every other aspect of society will catch on in a matter of time. From healthcare to households, AR will make its way into the life of humans everywhere. 


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