Augmented Reality and The Business Traveler


We are at the early stages of seeing some very cool augmented reality apps hitting the mainstream. In my opinion, here are a few of the more exciting applications that will ultimately make life much easier for business travelers venturing into foreign lands.

A new iPhone app called “Word Lens” gives users the ability to capture foreign language text via their smartphone’s camera.  Within seconds, the text is translated into English.

Whether it’s a street sign, a restaurant menu or a foreigner’s business card, life just got a lot easier for international road warriors.  At time of publishing this article, this particular app is only available in English and Spanish. However, considering the rate at which augmented reality is catching on, “Word Lens” will soon be available in many languages.

Other forms of augmented reality technology can also help travelers get oriented in a foreign city, enable them to see “specials of the day” by pointing their smartphone at the facade of a restaurant or help them navigate their way to the nearest subway station.

Let’s say you only speak Japanese and you’re walking through the streets of Paris.  Imagine being able to point your smartphone at a crowd of people, and magically… a virtual Japanese flag appears above those individuals that happen to speak Japanese. Inconceivable, you say? Not so fast. Companies are working on facial (and other forms of) recognition technology that will make this a reality within the next few years. I predict that, eventually, spectacles will contain embedded virtual reality sensors that will give you a heads up display that is out of this world.

Please add your comments to this blog post if you can think of any other business travel-related situations that you believe could improved with augmented reality.

~ Theo Szymanski

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