Augmented Reality — The Physical Access Control Game Changer

What is it?

Wikipedia defines Augmented Reality (AR) as, “an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real-world are ‘augmented’ by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory, and olfactory.”

More simply put, AR technology superimposes a computer-generated image onto a user's view of the real world using cameras and screens such as those built into your mobile phone or tablet.

AR is different from Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR). VR is a completely computer-generated environment that is a full simulation of an imaginary world. Whereas, an AR system supplements the appearance of the real world by adding digital objects to the environment. Mixed Reality (MR) takes the AR concept one step further and overlays a digital image, called a hologram, on top of an existing real-world object.

How does it work?

Using a camera, computer and software, AR expands a viewer’s perception of the real-world by placing additional digital three-dimensional objects within their perspective.

The four major components of AR systems are:

  • Microprocessor
  • Camera
  • Display screen
  • AR software

Augmented Reality is most commonly delivered via a mobile phone, tablet or AR capable glasses/goggles.

AR in Gaming

Many people are fans of the very popular AR game, Pokémon GO. Primarily for entertainment, this pop culture phenomenon introduced the general population to the AR experience in our local neighborhoods as players used their mobile device to track Pokémon characters to earn points within the game. AR brought this once trading card game into the mobile world delivering developers and players an exciting experience that promises to deliver innovation for generations to come.

Image credit: Reuters/Sam Mircovich

AR in Retail

Augmented Reality in retail provides consumers with the ability to see the retail product in their home. According to, 33% of mobile users already use AR benefits in stores.

Lowe’s Home Improvement stores offer a “View In Your Space” app that enables customers to see the product in their house or garden before making a purchase. Customers love the try-before-you-buy benefit of this new technology.

Image credit: Lowe’s Open House Newsroom

AR and Physical Access Control

Physical access control environments are complex. There’s a vast combination of hardware and software that all need to communicate and work together. Higher security standards demand changes in the way the hardware environment is connected/wired together, and this poses challenges for installers, especially when it comes to best practices and standardization.

With augmented reality, we can take what are often complex and wordy installation/upgrade guides and distill those into a set of simple-to-follow, step-by-step visual experiences — greatly enhancing our customer’s experience.

HID Global® and AR

HID Global is utilizing this game-changing technology to improve the customer experience with more dynamic product descriptions, easier training guides and better service delivery.

Virtual 3D Displays of HID Access Control Products:

Users can experience a 360-degree view to fully appreciate the physical characteristics of a product.

HID Product Training: AR can be used to train both new installers and seasoned veterans to cope with new instructions quickly and easily, offering the following benefits:

  • Reducing the time of on-boarding new workers
  • Increasing quality levels of installation and wiring work
  • Minimizing onsite failures

HID Product Upgrades: AR can be used to ensure consistency in the way products are upgraded in the field.

We recently announced the HID AR Reader Tool — a new augmented reality mobile app that provides product installation and upgrade instructions on both Android and iOS devices. Experience it for yourself for Android or iOS

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