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The Key Differences Between Virtual and Augmented Reality

AR Apps development

The term “augmented reality” immediately elicits images displayed in real time. Images to be interacted with. Perhaps for many, it still seems that augmented reality, or AR, should be part of a sci-fi movie. However, with today’s technology it’s a matter of combining audio, superimposed graphics and GPS data with a host of other sensory enhancements to create a display in real time. AR is a long way from realizing its full commercial potential, it is likely to change the way we see our world. Businesses who can get in on AR app development can begin to realize the benefits early on. AR is on course to change the way business is conducted as well as the way we connect with consumers, that doesn’t even take into consideration the potential impact it may have on the job market.

What’s The Difference Between VR And AR Apps?

Both augmented and virtual reality apps provide users an experience using 3-D high-def video and audio. But there is a huge difference between the two types of apps and user experience. Virtual reality immerses the user in an isolated reality. Augmented reality is only partially immersive.  The distinction between VR and AR is that AR offers a graphical enhancement to a physical, real environment. VR creates an entire new environment in which the user functions. The Wiki definition of AR is “a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are ‘augmented’ by computer-generated” data.

Types of AR Applications

AR app developers are making their mark on the business world as they continue to use technology to enhance engagement between businesses and consumers. AR has already begun changing the way many businesses engage with customers including the retail, fashion and travel industries. AR apps make sure of smart phone technology that already exists to give a better visual experience to users. Here are a few examples of AR app types and how they can be used.

Location Based AR Applications

Location based AR apps provide contextual data about the specific location of a mobile device. Marketers can use this type of app for location sensitive functions such as finding directions to a specific location in a city, locating a parked car or understanding constellation patterns.

Marker Based AR Applications

AR apps that are marker based use software for identifying patterns associated with things like a brand logo or a QR code. This is applicable used in combination with a compatible device, like a smartphone camera which can be used to overlay digital information in a real-world environment. A smartphone can be pointed at an object, so the user can see a virtual UI over the object. Images can also be animated or in 3D.

Creative Ways For Businesses To Use AR Applications

Ikea paved the way for AR technology in the retail arena when they used technology to allow users to see things like how a couch would look in their living room, or if a rug style or color would be complementary to their décor. This can easily be applied in the construction industry allowing users to see what a house will look like on a lot or how an addition or deck might affect the look of the house. Here are a few ways AR app development and its versatility may continue to change the way businesses operate.

Collaboration Remotely

AR may have an influence on the rapidly growing remotely working population. Remote workers often feel detached from a group, but with AR it will be as if everyone is present. Meetings become more engaging and discussion livelier. Collaborative efforts may become more effective because of eye contact and facial expressions.

Augmented Analytics

One of the data analytics buzzwords for 2018, augmented analytics refers to the approach automating insights by using machine learning and natural language generation. Augmented analytics will go all the way from augmenting data preparation to discovery. That will pave the way to the development of a virtual assistant with conversational analytics, enabling business users to explore their data, generate queries and get back insights using NLP (natural language processing). Online BI tools are already working with machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms generating smart insights on their own; augmented analytics is the next step.

Making Repairs

When repairs are needed, there may not be a need to call a repairman. A real-life application for AR technology can provide step-by-step instructions for repairing even the most complex machine. This offers an opportunity for even inexperienced workers to make repairs because they can literally see the components, how to access them and how to make repairs.

Education and Training

Liven up lectures or training sessions through AR technology which provides an interactive, immersive experience involving the senses. Layered graphics or screen instructions can offer complex processes, prompts, or instruction for completing a specific task. Augmented reality can expedite training time and add depth to the training process.

Maps and Tours

Create interactive and informative tours through a museum or a piece of real estate. A realtor may show   home to potential buyers, or show the home’s history of renovations. Museum visitors can see more in-depth information about artwork or artifacts. Delivery services can use graphical overlays for maps to help guide them without having to take their eyes off the road. Integrating icons into maps can help tourists find landmarks or interesting sights to see in a new location.

Showcase Products

E-commerce continues to rise and with it, opportunities. One hitch has been the inability to fully inspect a product prior to a purchase. With AR, online shoppers can completely inspect a product before making a choice. Consumers can view features and functions before purchasing. This can help minimize returns.

Office Spaces

Imagine being able to transform a room into any purpose. AR can realistically be able to transform any room. Think about a plain office space. The only tangible items in the room are load-bearing furnishings.  Walls remain bare. Through AR, offices become multifunctional filled with things like digital whiteboards participants can each write on. Voice commands can be used for brainstorming sessions or for displaying the latest ads to clients.

It will be worth it to keep an eye on the advancements in Augmented Reality moving forward. It’s changing the way we approach business. From retail to manufacturing AR offers new ways for engagement between consumers, colleagues and the world. AR could potentially change the way we do virtually everything from hosting meetings to working remotely. It’s revamping the workplace with exciting applications bound to streamline operations, improve communications and ultimately enhance bottom lines.

About the author

Ever since he was a child, Michael was captivated by technology. When the opportunity arose to spend his life writing about it, Michael didn’t hesitate. He now spends his time exploring and writing about captivating new technologies to introduce to the people. Michael's insatiable desire for new technologies lead him to pursue a computer science degree at Queens College. His work has been published on various technology blogs across the web.