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How fiber supports Augmented Reality (AR) in business

More than a buzzword,
here's how to make AR
matter.

Augmented reality (AR) might seem far removed from your daily work routine but the technology (which superimposes computer-generated images onto real-world imagery) is increasingly relevant to businesses of all sizes. If you’re currently uploading photos to your website to showcase inventory or live-streaming Q&As with customers to market your business, you’re already dabbling in AR.

 


Social media is a good example of AR’s basic functionality. When you use face filters on Snapchat® or Instagram®, facial recognition software creates a target image of your face and projects digital information onto it, creating a photo of you with cute puppy dog ears or a crown of butterflies.

Many e-commerce retailers are taking a similar approach to improve customer experiences, using cameras and filters to let people try on virtual outfits and accessories before they buy. AR can help customers make decisions without having to rely on paper mockups, product samples or their own imagination. See a sofa you like online? Order a fabric swatch to see how it feels. Use an app to arrange it virtually in your living room.

AR has practical implications for industries beyond retail. Consider a pop-and-son plumbing company. They’ve been around for decades and know they need to change with the times. The son recommends they use an AR headset to make the most of their limited resources. With AR, they can measure, video chat with homeowners and diagnose problems without scheduling multiple in-person appointments. To pull this off, they need the ability to quickly upload video in real time—that’s where symmetrical speeds come in.

Uploading is the somewhat lesser known flipside to downloading. When combined, upload and download speeds are called “symmetrical speeds.” Picture an escalator at the airport or shopping mall. The down escalator is moving at a rapid pace while the up escalator is so slow, you might as well take the stairs. This stark contrast of up vs down is just as frustrating when applied to internet speeds. Up should be just as fast as down.

If your current internet provider only offers nonsymmetrical speeds, you'll notice—especially when you’re uploading large images and files to the cloud. Fast upload speeds make it possible to enhance customer experiences, evolve with the times and even protect critical investments. Many businesses use video surveillance to keep their stores safe from intruders and shoplifters. Video footage has to be uploaded in real time so owners can get immediate notifications about suspicious activity. That’s where bandwidth consumption and upstream speeds make a real difference.

Fiber internet uses fiber-optic wiring—tiny strands of plastic or glass—to transmit signals using light, which is a faster way to send data. It’s also more reliable. Unlike traditional cable internet, the glass or plastic used in fiber doesn’t conduct electricity, so it’s not susceptible to electromagnetic interference. That means nearby power lines or high-voltage electrical equipment won’t hamper the signal. One downside to fiber internet: It’s not currently available everywhere. If you can’t access fiber in your area, you can still take steps to ensure your internet connection is fast, secure and reliable enough to incorporate AR into your business strategy.

 

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