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Term of the Week: Augmented Reality

What is it?

Both the suite of enabling technologies and the resulting experience of a user when highly contextual digital information (text, images, animations, video, 3D model, sound, or haptic stimuli) is presented in a manner that’s synchronized in real time with, and appears attached to, physical world people, places, or objects.

Why is it important?

By offering digital information (content) in context and providing interactivity with the content without leaving the physical world, augmented reality profoundly changes how people learn, live, and perform tasks in both physical and digital worlds.

Why does a technical communicator need to know this?

Augmented reality is emerging as the next user interface for presenting and capturing information that pertains to the physical world in context with the user’s focus of attention. More than just a novelty or amusement, augmented reality permits users to perceive beyond the superficial and to perform rare and complex tasks with assistance, reducing training and performance times and error rates.

This new approach to presenting, capturing, and interacting with information enables organizations to tap other emerging technology trends such as the Internet of Things, cloud computing, high performance and lightweight displays, and high-speed networks to their full potential.

As more people begin to use augmented reality, the role of technical communication professionals will expand with the growing need for information integration into the physical world. The existing professional roles will adapt information authoring, storage, and delivery processes. There will also be new roles created to support the gradual integration of augmented reality software and hardware with connected devices in a variety of different platforms and workflows.

Augmented reality technologies, and the new practices necessary to gracefully deliver and present digital information in context with the physical world, are profoundly changing the human experience.

About Christine Perey

Photo of Christine Perey

Christine Perey is a senior industry analyst and active leader of new technology industry initiatives. In 1991 she saw that it would be possible to improve human communication on personal computing devices with audio and video. She became the editor and publisher of the QuickTime Forum, the first publication for QuickTime developers. She worked as a consultant to the videoconferencing and streaming media industries for over a decade until, in 2006, she realized that the future would lead to augmented reality. She has started and led many communities of interest and currently serves as executive director of the AR for Enterprise Alliance (AREA), the only global member-based organization accelerating AR adoption in the enterprise.

Term: Augmented Reality



Twitter: @cperey