Posted by: Katherine Raleigh
Programme Manager on Thu 29 Jun

Welcome to the latest in a series of brief interviews with guest experts from KnowledgeBrief’s Innovation Programmes, providing a window into the experts’ latest ideas and new advice for executives.

Following the Innovation Day in June, Jeanne Meinholt, Senior Researcher at KnowledgeBrief (KB), interviewed Prof. Mark Anderson (MA), Edge Hill University, to discuss the opportunities Augmented Reality can provide to engage with users in innovative ways.

KB: What’s the key business challenge that organisations need to address, that your research tackles?

MA: As the technology advances and increases in maturity, the complexities that used to surround the development of Augmented Reality applications is reducing significantly.  What remains, however, is the application of the technology in such a way that it is meaningful and usable.  Should the deployment of AR be riddled with errors or issues, or that it appears as a promotional novelty, then the user experience and opinion will be diminished.  The challenge to be addressed, therefore, lies in the identification of appropriate usage scenarios with accessible interactions for users immersed in the AR environment.  We are exploring the ways in which users can manipulate augmentations in an environment to define a best practice taxonomy that will aid organisations design usage scenarios. 

KB: What advice would you give to executives, based on your findings?

MA: Whilst the technology is currently most widely utilised in the education and gaming sectors, it offers significant opportunities to engage users in innovative ways.  My advice would be to start considering the technology as a realistic alternative to the current mainstream means of publishing data and engaging users.  Doing so at this point will allow businesses to plan for more mainstream adoption, and be prepared to deploy the technology in useful ways that will readily gain acceptance amongst user communities.

KB: How does your latest research approach this? What do the results indicate?

MA: We are re-engineering software applications that have been designed for use with a keyboard and mouse to run in immersive environments; specifically, in Virtual and Augmented Reality.  In taking this approach, we can systematically explore the mechanisms available for users to interact with software systems and then develop an understanding of how these might be mapped to the richer and more natural possibilities that Augmented Reality affords.  To date, we have found that AR enables domain experts to interact with multivariate data sets without the need to learn complex screen-based user interfaces.

KB: What did you learn or take away from meeting with the executives in the KnowledgeBrief Innovation Programmes?

MA: I really enjoyed the meeting arranged through KnowledgeBrief.  The delegates and I had a lively discussion and there were very innovative ideas coming out of the session.  There was a genuine interest and curiosity in the subject area and both groups that I talked to were identifying potential applications within their own organisations.  I would really like to thank all of the delegates and the team from KnowledgeBrief for organising this event.  It truly has led to insight that will be fed into my own research. 

With thanks to Prof. Mark Anderson, Professor in Computing and Information Systems, Edge Hill University.

Next month, we will be talking to Dawn Holmes, Manchester Business School, on how organisations can create value from Big Data. Find out more here.

Part of a series of brief interviews with expert guests from our Innovation Programmes, we cover insights from the latest research and key advice for executives to stay ahead in management and innovation.

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