Virtual and Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR) are similar technologies, but there is a major difference between them and their applications vary widely. So, what are they really?
Virtual reality is a digital environment without the real world. It is able to bring the user someplace else with the use of goggles or a closed visor. The room is closed off to the user and their presence is elsewhere.
Virtual reality allows the user to do things like:
- Ride a roller-coaster
- Play video games
- Fly a plane
- Hang with friends in a virtual world
The virtual reality experience is completely imaginative and can usually be achieved through a pair of virtual reality goggles that are similar to Oculus Rift.
Augmented Reality is an artificial environment created through the combination of real-world and computer-generated data.
Augmented reality works by adding 2D and 3D layered content (virtual world) on top of the physical world you see around you, turning it into digital media. Some things you can do with augmented reality are:
- Connect to websites
- Watch videos
- Listen to music
- Play games
Most augmented reality is currently used on mobile devices and integrated into apps. So the mobile phone acts as the medium. An example of this is Ingress a location-based, augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic, a company spun off from Google.
Virtual reality and augmented reality are often confused with each other. Here are some differences between the two:
- Virtual reality helps create a new environment that is completely computer generated. Augmented reality just enhances the user experience by offering new virtual options embedded into the physical world by digital means.
- Virtual reality is completely immersive while augmented reality has a limited range of view.
- Virtual reality is demanding. You need a smartphone or tab and VR goggles to experience virtual reality. For augmented reality, all you need is a smartphone or tab.
- In virtual reality, the user is detached from the physical world. Augmented reality allows the user to be aware of their surroundings while actively engaged.
Benefits of AR and VR
How can businesses benefit from virtual reality?
Virtual reality can be implemented in workplaces to increase employee productivity. Here are a few ways:
- Training, Meetings, and Communication
Due to many businesses working with remote employers and conducting deals all over the world virtual reality can help connect more and more people in various locations saving time and travel expenses.
Virtual reality based meetings, trainings, and presentations also make the experience more lifelike and more impactful.
- Effective product testing in lifelike environment
For businesses that manufacture equipment that are too dangerous to test in real world situations, they can be tested in the virtual environment.
There are also medical environments that use virtual reality to teach how the body systems work without a scalpel. Digital cadavers can be a new way to learn.
- Sales Demos
Businesses can provide lifelike presentations to potential clients. Potential clients just need to put on the virtual goggles and they will experience the product and service you wish them to purchase.
Real estate companies have used virtual reality tours of houses to give a potential buyer the ability to view a home or apartment in another city without leaving their home or office.
Marriot hotels have recently used this technology to change the way customers make travel plans.
How can businesses benefit from augmented reality?
Augmented reality is something that can be operated through an app. Businesses can easily put this in the hands of their potential customers pretty easily. Here’s how businesses can benefit from augmented reality.
There are many retail stores that have implemented augmented reality kiosks in their stores to engage customers. This is essentially an AR based dressing room where the customer can try on the clothing items to see how it looks before they buy.
ModiFace offers what it calls a Mirror — essentially the user can look into a tablet and use the app to change eye color, makeup, and other things.
- Interactive Marketing
Augmented reality is opening a new realm of marketing opportunities to marketing professionals from interactive billboards to displays. The main goal to connect with the customer and bring the ad to life can be seen in the example below.
|courtesy of YouTube|
Augmented reality and virtual reality each have their own differences but businesses and individuals can each use them differently and to their advantages. I believe these are trends we should watch in the months to come.