- Allstate added a feature to its mobile app that uses augmented reality (AR) to help families plan how to evacuate their homes during a fire, according to an announcement. The "Escape Route" feature is part of the insurer's efforts to raise awareness about home safety during National Fire Prevention Week, the longest-running public health observance in the U.S.
- The app lets families use their smartphones to mark a starting point, trace a virtual route through their home and designate a meeting point at least 50 feet away from their house. Families can review and access their virtual plan at any time.
- "Escape Route" is available to Allstate policy owners who have downloaded the insurer's free app from Apple's App Store. The tool also connects users to the company's blog to access additional home safety information about testing smoke detectors and choosing fire extinguishers.
Allstate's "Escape Route" is an innovative use of AR technology that could drive policy owners to adopt and use the company's mobile app, and unlike applications for gaming and sales, it's a potentially life-saving use of the technology. U.S. fire departments respond to a home fire every 86 seconds, but only one-third of American households have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan, per the National Fire Protection Association. Now, Allstate is making it easier for tech-savvy families to plan and communicate an emergency plan with the help of mobile devices.
AR technology is becoming more common in safety training, especially in the workplace. Agco, an agricultural equipment manufacturer, for several years has provided workers with smart glasses to provide "informed reality, or digital overlays of information about factory components," according to the Society for Human Resource Management. AR can also help to simulate a live wire on the ground, a jet engine failure or an oil well blowout so workers can practice safety procedures.
Tech giants Apple and Google in the past year have introduced software kits to help developers working for brands and ad agencies more easily create apps that use this type of immersive technology. Global spending on AR/VR products and services is expected see a 92% increase year over year in 2018, growing to nearly $27 billion, the International Data Corporation predicts. Spending on AR/VR is forecast to see a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 72% between 2017 and 2022, the researcher estimated, highlighting that there's room to grow in the immersive technology space.