Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality

Just like Virtual Reality (VR) develops an entirely new environment for the user using the technology and replaces the existing real environment, AR uses the current and real environment. Still, the objects inside are enhanced to stimulate user perception. It alters one or multiple aspects of the environment for interaction and enriches the experience. Whereas VR would have replaced the entire room and shown you an entirely manipulated environment, AR enables users to use the same environment and observe different objects within it.

Why does augmented reality (AR) matter in business?

Visualization is important to humans. To better understand a certain phenomenon or to simply make them more interactive. A large variety of tools has been developed to aid humans in various activities. From introducing simulations to performing activities through virtual modules, the technology has taken leaps from when it was first introduced as a concept. One such marvel is Augmented Reality (AR). 

Through digital manipulation, the users experience an alternate version of the environment. It is different from VR because AR simply uses the existing environment and adds 3D models or layers of virtual objects, and displays them to the user.

Difference between VR and AR

An extremely simple example could be an application that allows you to put 3D models of furniture into a room and see how well it suits your room or whether it goes with the aesthetics of the room or not. Whereas VR would have replaced the entire room and shown you an entirely manipulated environment, AR enables users to use the same environment and observe different objects within it.

How does AR work?

The AR technology consists of three core components: the hardware, software and application.

The hardware can be smartphones, which have certain features that AR technology demands.

  • Within the hardware, the first important thing is the processor, which should successfully use this technology.
  • Next comes the GPU or Graphic Processing Unit.
  • Finally, it should be equipped with sensors as the AR technology uses these to incorporate objects within the environment. An example is Depth and Proximity sensor. The depth sensor is used by the technology to determine how deep an object is and how much distance it needs to be placed. The proximity sensor measures how far or how close an object is. These two, along with other sensors, are important for the successful integration of this technology.
  • The next component is the software, which is at the core of the technology. The software is what makes AR possible. It enables devices to understand the environment that it is to be integrated into. The feature enables the device to properly comprehend the environment and how other objects are to be placed. Along with this, minute technicalities like the environment’s lighting are also considered by the software so that the objects to be inserted can adjust to the already existing lighting of the environment. It also takes care of the motion of objects and tracks them accordingly to adjust to the surroundings.
  • The puzzle’s final piece is the application, which uses these technologies and put on the screen what the user expects. The hardware and software interact with the application to enhance user experience and make it worthwhile.

AR commercial applications

AR has far-reaching applications. One of the biggest sectors that it can help improve is the education sector. From primary schooling, all the way to college, using interactive AR technologies can enhance the thinking capabilities of the students and help them understand more creatively and effectively.

Successful integration will require training of the teaching staff, which should be the primary target to successfully augment this technology into the education system.

AR technologies have already made their way to Gaming platforms. A recent craze over the AR game Pokémon Go is the living proof of how creative design thinking and AR can be compiled to produce wonderful user experiences. However, the creativity and fun aspects are not the only potential uses of this technology. 

From constructing rooms to decorating art galleries, AR has the potential to help and guide users in creating marvels. Urban planning has been recently integrated with the use of AR technologies to guide professionals by creating maps and structures, which gives an overview of the entire plan before being implemented.

In high technology industries where quick access might be required to manuals or control instructions, AR technologies can help by providing quick access to virtual manuals and completely disregard the need for physical manuals.

Another use of AR is found in the healthcare and fitness industry where smart glasses are developed for biking and running. These enable the users to be immersed in a fun and interactive environment while they workout. While VR in the same way changes entire surroundings, AR lets you stay within the environment and only adds to making your experience more creative and fun.

In the future, it is expected that AR technologies will be adopted by almost all sectors and industries to enhance both employee and user experience. Digital Marketing will be the norm which users will be able to see through their devices around the places that they live.

E-commerce stores can benefit from this technology by incorporating it into clothing stores. The idea is to give an augmented view of the user in a wide range of clothes instead of actually having to change them. It ensures ease and convenience for the user and makes service quick and effective.

The major obstacle for AR to scale up

There are some obstacles, which need to be addressed before the technology becomes available widespread. Objects recognition and how well they are incorporated into the environment needs to be flawless for the system to work properly. To add to the ease of convenience of the end-users, developments towards a “hands-free” interface should be pursued.

In large environments where far better integration is required, efforts need to be made to properly incorporate the surroundings through the technology. Improvements are being made and the technology is becoming widespread given its uniqueness and attractive features.

The possibilities that exist for AR are unlimited. From education to gaming and architecture to fitness, a comprehensive stream of technology applications is available and in demand. The only question is how quickly devices are developed and successfully integrated with this technology. 

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