Whether it’s April 22 (Earth Day) or November 22, topics such as carbon footprints, social involvement and protecting the environment should be on everyone’s mind. According to data collected by NASA and the California Institute of Technology, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fell by 5.4% in 2020 while the world was in quarantine.

This temporary dip in CO2 is attributed to factors like fewer commutes to work and momentary pauses of global transportation, but with a little effort, the same results could be achieved through other means.

Thanks to Augmented Reality (AR), Seek is doing its part to protect the Earth by providing sustainability through optimal balance between the people, the planet and their profit. Augmented reality (AR) technology overlays real images or 3D models onto the real world, allowing the user new online experiences – viewing items without having to leave the comfort of their own home or produce more CO2.

The Three Ps of Sustainability

Often referred to as the Triple Bottom Line (TBL), the three Ps is a concept used by corporations to find a sustainable balance between people, planet and profit. When implemented properly, sustainability protects and maximizes the effects of the three Ps, ultimately highlighting a balanced approach between doing business and going green.

Unfortunately, far too many companies rarely measure the social and environmental impact of their business, making the TBL subjective and ineffective.

Here are the three Ps corporations can measure through Augmented Reality in order to protect the Earth and maintain sustainability:

  • People: AR assists people in making meaningful connections and decisions in the virtual world rather than in the real world (customers can visualize a product in their own home before they buy it)
  • Planet: AR lowers the environmental impact of online shopping by reducing shipping volume of products back and forth (customers can see the products ahead of time to make a final decision)
  • Profit: AR lowers costs and improves profits (there are fewer shipments, returns, trucks on road, containers on ships and lower waste due to damage or lost shipments)

With Augmented Reality, customers are left satisfied, the planet has begun to heal and company profits increase due to less potential of human error.

Augmented Reality for the Earth

AR from Seek provides sustainability in a number of different ways, both for the good of the Earth and the people who live and work on it. Below are a few examples of how Augmented Reality is helping the planet heal.

Shopping

Augmented reality allows consumers to more confidently shop from home, reducing or removing the need to drive to and from the store. One of the primary reasons to venture to the store is to see what the product looks like in real life, but AR negates this step altogether.

Another prime example of how AR helps is through reducing returns. According to a data from Shopify, as of August 2021 20 percent of online purchases are returned. When consumers purchase an article of clothing online and it doesn’t fit, more transportation is needed to return and restock the product, and potentially ship a new one. Augmented reality helps consumers make better buying decisions by answering more questions about the product up front, thereby further reducing the carbon emissions produced by vehicles in the return process.

AR also reduces showroom size for stores. Furniture stores are a great example of this. These businesses only need to display one version of a couch and then provide the ability to scan a QR code to see all of the different options. As stores become more efficient, they can reduce their physical footprint, save money, and better serve their customers.

Wearables

As wearable technology advances, there will be less need to have TVs in the house, removing the carbon footprint of the production and sale of that TV as well as the electricity it consumes. Consumers will have their own personal 65″ screen with them anywhere they go. In the end, reducing screens in general will be a natural evolution of AR.

Along similar lines, wasteful user manuals can be eliminated. For example, buying a new table from IKEA will no longer be a stressor with Apple Glasses and simple step by step instructions that show a heads-up display (HUD) of how to put everything together. AR glasses will be able to scan objects and recognize what the next step is in the assembly process. Getting rid of physical manuals means less printed paper and more trees saved.

Manufacturing

Augmented reality can improve production efficiency by reducing production steps at every iteration of a product. Companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Ford are using augmented reality to speed up design and lessen the need for manufacturing entire vehicles or modules before identifying problems.

For example, when Boeing is designing a new cockpit, they can use a 3D model of the cockpit and have a pilot sit in a chair and virtually examine the design. If the window is too far forward for the pilot to comfortably see through, they can tell the engineer to make an adjustment before the plane prototype is ever physically manufactured.

Multiply this outcome by thousands of prototypes spread across thousands of companies around the world, and this adds up to a significantly reduced carbon footprint. Designers and manufacturers can engage stakeholders instantly and obtain feedback in a much tighter and more efficient loop.

Work

Telecommuting will become even more powerful with telepresence. Employees will be able to virtually sit at a conference table with colleagues from anywhere in the world and everyone will feel like they are in the same room. Less driving to office buildings and company meetings means less CO2 emissions and cleaner air to breathe.

Education

Half of the battle for protecting the planet is to help people understand that what they do affects the earth. Educational/informative content can be created to allow people to better visualize and understand the world they live in. AR can show what the planet will look like 30, 50 or 100 years from now if things don’t change, ultimately revealing harsh truths that are sometimes in translation.

Augmented reality can also allow people to participate in landscape and environmental surveys. Check out this GIF below. This app tells users where to go to take a picture, and then shows exactly which direction to point the camera. On a weekend hike, users can help gather critical data that scientists can use to better observe and analyze the planet.

There are many more ways in which AR can impact the planet. Leave comments below for Seek’s experts on ideas not listed in the article above.

While augmented reality is only a small piece of the puzzle, it will help move humanity a step closer to a world where everyone takes better care of our planet. Here at Seek, we are actively building better solutions that will help everything in this post become a reality. Book a demo today at https://seekxr.com/contact.

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