Augmented Reality Aided Governance
Augmented reality (AR) is best described as the interaction of graphics, audio, superimposed data and other sensory enhancements with real-world environment and displayed in real-time. For example, a real-world device like a route map can enable you to view live traffic with the help of augmented reality.
With the rollout of IoT and the increased penetration of high-speed internet services that have enabled the creation of smart infrastructure, there exist over 6.4 billion connected devices in the world, by 2017. This number is expected to go up exponentially by five to ten times in the next 4-5 years and generate a gargantuan amount of real-time data. This data explosion is set to have a massive impact on smart networks/solutions in public/private sector, where AR is looking to serve as a sort of visual portal for data, thus transforming into an actual public asset/resource.
AR has been hailed as the next big paradigm shift for computing by the World Economic Forum and is all set to have an overarching impact on governments and governance.
Potential Impact of Augmented Reality on Governance:
- Asset Management/Maintenance: Public assets such as streetlights, water hydrants etc. can be maintained with accuracy, their pictures being collected/viewed through AR devices. The added benefit of being connected with experts, who can offer advice on maintenance and repair over AR networks can also be availed.
- E-Governance: Government forms can be viewed/accessed using AR-enabled devices, thus providing a contextual experience. Similarly, documents related to various government divisions can be interacted with, via an AR environment; for example, public work plans can be viewed up close, making governance more transparent than before.
- Public Safety/Emergency Services: Technology like AR head-up windshields that can display route directions, can greatly benefit emergency services workers. Helmet-mounted AR devices/visors can see through rubble and smoke or location specific data for dangerous situations that can be accessed by law enforcement officers via smart AR glasses, are just some of the possibilities that AR can facilitate.
- Urban Mobility/Transportation: Highways, roadways, rail infrastructure etc. can be connected to on-demand/shared mobility services and also active transits like biking/walking. Access to customer needs, traffic incidents, route changes can be provided to vehicle operators, which can help them provide better public service.
- Public Health/Wellness: Communities with an interest in healthy/sustainable living can connect to amenities such as farmer markets, parks and recreation facilities, healthy activities etc. AR, when combined with environmental sensors, can also aid environmental officials to make real-time decisions regarding public health and safety measures.
Borrowing a leaf out of developed countries that have already employed the use of AR friendly systems, India while still in the process of making a blueprint for its Smart-City initiatives, can look at the incorporation of the same. AR environments are not only educative for users, but can also help government officials make informed, quick decisions. When working in conjunction with IoT, possibilities with AR multiply significantly and can give proliferated access to enhanced reality.