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How AR and VR technology can enhance IoT applications

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The Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), while serving a wide variety of different purposes, have come together in recent years to push technological advancements even further than they’ve been before. Separately, these three concepts can be defined as:

  • The Internet of Things is comprised of connected electronic devices designed to make life easier for consumers across a wide technological landscape. Things like smart devices in the home that communicate with one another, the cloud and cloud storage that can be accessed by multiple devices, as well as smart home digital voice assistants, are all examples of these interconnected devices.
  • Virtual reality is a digital world with simulated visual, auditory, and tactile content that departs completely from the real world in which you’re standing. Many VR applications require the use of VR headsets and similar tools, such as haptic gloves, for full immersion.
  • Augmented reality manipulates a real-world environment, combining it with digital tools, graphics, and other applications where digital meets reality. Examples include real estate walkthroughs, and popular AR-based games like Pokemon GO; AR comes in a variety of forms including phone apps.

But how can these tools come together to benefit IoT applications, specifically when it comes to taking advantage of the strengths of VR and AR? Not only can small businesses benefit, but even individual consumers can find value in the marriage of these two applications in myriad ways, some of which they may already be familiar with without even realizing it.

Remote work

In a world where 74% of professionals expect remote work to become standard practice, it makes sense to implement new technology to improve it. For example, while many companies may choose to take advantage of remote work, there are still instances where meeting in-person to build better connections is going to be invaluable. This is where VR comes in.

Forbes goes into detail about some of VR’s potential advantages, saying, “As you strive to connect and inspire your teams in a hybrid work environment, VR is a uniquely capable tool to provide life-like experiences to help teams unite and thrive together.” 

VR and AR could eventually evolve enough to “where participants could appear as holograms in 3D space, so everyone can make eye contact with whoever is speaking.” From there, connecting these tech-based meetings to the IoT to collect, save, and share information, only furthers the capabilities of remote work tech. 

With an ever-growing desire to draw diverse talent into the workforce, offering such accommodations also allows companies to find a wider range of people searching for fitting careers. Of course, the accessibility of these opportunities depends in no small part on people having access to higher quality internet connections, which is an ongoing project around the world.

Data modeling

In many industries, data visualization is an important factor if you want to make sense of huge amounts of information being gathered, as well as figure out how it can be applied most productively and efficiently. 

VR, combined with the power of the IoT, provides avenues for this visualization in the form of data modeling. ZDNET describes the value of this process: “​​Coming on the heels of the big data revolution, 3D visualizations in mixed reality are the right tool at the right time to help decision-makers understand and glean insights from huge data sets.”

Digital twins

“Digital twins” can be defined as “virtual replicas of objects, buildings or systems connected to their physical counterparts through real-time information feeds.” These replicas are used for myriad applications, such as security monitoring, construction mapping, and systems prototype development. Combined with the power of the IoT, digital twins further help organizations track and map data they’ve already gathered or predicted, as well as determine potential safety concerns.

Especially when combined with the IoT and AR/VR, digital twins don’t just enable people to make smarter decisions while investing their money — they can also build projects more efficiently, finding and addressing safety issues before sinking a large amount of money into a project.

Smart cameras

There are several widespread applications when it comes to smart cameras and the IoT. Applications include the tracking of waste in trash receptacles to monitoring traffic on busy streets to surveil accidents, closures, or even if construction needs to be done to fill a gap.

Smart cameras are valuable for more than just a bird’s-eye view of data gathering, however — they also make for intelligent security systems, particularly in homes or businesses. When combined with VR, these opportunities only improve, especially when it comes to anticipating crime and safety concerns either privately or publicly.

According to Security Magazine, “These IP-based cameras use built-in analytics and machine learning to power motion search and motion recap capabilities, making it much easier to find the footage your customers need.” Whether you use this footage for tracking down a lost item, determining the origin of an error, or even anticipating a safety hazard, smart cameras mean less manual time scrolling through video archives in search of one specific detail in question.

Remote monitoring

Similar to the benefits of smart cameras for improving safety, remote monitoring allows for real-time response to potential dangers and other safety concerns, both publicly and privately. This level of monitoring is also highly valuable in terms of consumer protections and ensuring safety in manufacturing plants and other industries where there is a high risk of injury. Remote monitoring has also been used in the healthcare field for monitoring patient health through the use of VR and other related tools.

Further, remote monitoring can be applied to things like data security, financial security, and other applications that contain sensitive information hackers may be interested in stealing.

This type of monitoring, when combined with hands-on awareness by consumers, allows for superior customer account security, protecting consumers from having data or other sensitive information stolen. Through the efforts of similar kinds of monitoring, companies are also better equipped to establish a solid privacy policy to share the safety measures taken behind the scenes.

When it comes to IoT applications, white-hat hackers can replicate potential breaches to determine where weaknesses may lie, therefore helping to shine a light on areas where both individuals and businesses can best protect themselves. Similar testing could potentially be done via VR, where systems are checked and battered for weaknesses without putting any actual information at risk of being lost.


Biometrics is a broad term used for any application that combines physical stimuli with technological or digital applications.

For example, individuals’ unique physical traits can be used to secure sensitive information, such as through fingerprinting, retina scans and voice commands. Because all of these traits are unique to every individual, biometrics allow for improved security, and as such cannot be easily faked by hackers and other bad-faith actors in search of valuable information.

Biometrics are also a staple in many new advances in health technology. These include health tracking, VR-based exercise regimens, and anything else that utilizes physical inputs such as heart rate, motion, and even body temperature to track and record users’ actions. Through health-focused biometrics, users and their doctors have even more opportunities to track and anticipate disease and other health complications.