Technology assessment is used to project the connections and disconnections made by and through each technology. While projecting the future impact of technology is not full proof, it does allow for an evaluation that might assist individuals consider the short-term and long-term effects of each technology. Using this assessment, we are able to determine the impact of a technology called Augmented Reality Thermal Camera.
Using the de-tech-tive process outlined in Digital Community Digital Citizen by Jason Ohler, three steps are suggested to develop a better understanding of technology and it’s impact personally, socially and environmentally. The three steps include; investigation, analyze and evaluate/recommend.
The first step involves investigation. This product has the physical characteristics of a small video camera and is used to determine whether a person emits body heat in a certain area of a store. Body heat triggers an augmented reality display based on the location of an individual. The camera enhances customer satisfaction while diminishing the role of the employee. This technology could likely replace statistics built using a purchasing system however; an augmented reality thermal camera could be replaced with hologram technology. Storeowners and consumers could each benefit from its use. Storeowners would be able to track real time purchasing statistics while consumers would receive assistance immediately and expertly. The technology creates a hands-on shopping experience with items geared towards individual consumers. Likewise, brick-and-mortar stores are able to compete with online stores in both speed and advertising. Through this technology, storeowners can track sales in the same way online stores can track clicks or page views. This technology impacts the future of localism within the community.
While the investigative process yielded positive answers, it’s important to think or debate critically when determining the future success of a technology. As mentioned above, there are several beneficial uses to an augmented reality thermal camera but what if the camera was not well received in stores. There are consumers that shop without wanting to be bothered. When entering a store, they want to remain somewhat anonymous and unaffected. The idea of “big brother” watching could be an automatic turn off for some consumers. There may be a more succinct way to capture this information. Could the thermal camera be replaced with GPS embedded in phones? Is GPS reliable and/or available throughout the store?
After looking through the data, I believe that this technology could benefit from conditional acceptance. The technology has the ability to go forward, but needs more development. The development should come from a collaboration of storeowners and AR developers. While thermal plays an integral role, more information could prove its use ineffective. Schematics may show another technology more useful to track brick-and-mortar sales while optimizing marketing or advertising.
Ohler, J. (2010). Digital Community Digital Citizen. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.