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Augmented Reality and the 3D Document: A New Wrinkle in Records Management

3D Documents

Augmented reality. Heard of it? It’s basically overlaying something new or different on an image or video to achieve a particular effect. Like, the yellow first-down line on an American football broadcast. Or Pokemon Go.

As it happens, this very cool technology is making its way to documents today. The result essentially is a hologram that takes the information on the page and brings it to life as a 3D animation. My question to you is, have you ever managed a 3D document before? No, neither have I.

One thing that’s clear is that all the usual precepts of information governance still will apply because what’s being managed is, well, information. But the addition of that third dimension expands the context in which the information is consumed, and exposes more surface area, if you will, to tend to.

Take, for instance, Mercedes Benz’s augmented reality cards, which when flipped over and viewed on a smartphone shows a 3D rendition of how a part or subsystem works. Clever, right? Now imagine the same concept applied to repair documents stored at the wellhead in an oil field, and a piece of equipment breaks and threatens injury or environmental damage. How much faster and more convenient would it be to rush a deck of cards to the site vs. a bunch of CDs and a player, or binders full of paper drawings? Remember, someone’s safety or the company’s license to operate is at stake.

As information professionals, we still need to be concerned with all of our usual bugaboos, like content freshness and retention requirements. But this new variety of information to be managed means we also have to be aware of such things as the minimum resolution of the devices used to consume these 3D documents. If it’s not high enough to assure the image won’t be misinterpreted, then the anticipated gains will be wholly negated.

I’m not saying that the rise of 3D documents are going to disrupt the way we work, only that they will add a new dimension to what we do. I’m excited to see what the future brings in this regard, and keen to know what you think about it. So let me know in the comments below. Pokemons for everyone!

PS: Here’s another great example of what we’re talking about: a 3D business card from Aircards.

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