By Beth Cole | | Oct 09, 2018

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Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality

You’ve most likely heard the terms augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) going around. But what exactly are these rapidly trending technologies?

AR and VR are not new concepts but are becoming increasingly popular for everyday applications and entertainment. Although they sound similar, AR and VR are uniquely different and have many practical uses.

AR refers to technology that uses the existing environment or real-world scenes and adds virtual objects to it to make a new artificial environment in real-time. Meanwhile, VR refers to an immersive 3D computer generated environment which we can explore and interact with, often sensorially. Typically, VR is experienced through a screen or headset.

AR Applications

You might have seen Marty McFly being terrorised by a giant projection of Jaws in Back to the Future Part II, or people catching Pokémon in the street with the new app craze Pokemon Go. These are both examples of AR. In recent years businesses have used this technology to develop a solution for consumers to visualise what it might be like to own a product or experience before making a purchase. This assisted selling technique has been used by big brands like Ikea through their ‘Place’ app, to help customers imagine how a piece of furniture might look in their living room before committing to buying it. Paint brand Dulux used a similar concept in their ‘Visualizer’ app, which helps customers preview shades of paint for their room. These applications empower the customer to make a more informed choice when making a purchase. According to Forbes, it is predicted that there will be one billion augmented reality users by 2020.

VR Applications

We know and understand the world through our senses and perceptions. VR presents a new type of reality emulation for us to make sense of and explore. Aside from the more well-known uses like gaming, VR technology has revolutionised the way we educate and train in a wide range of fields. The medical and dental industry benefits from VR through simulated practice surgeries and procedures, meaning students can learn and make mistakes in a consequence-free environment. Similar applications are used within NASA during mission training for astronauts to aid with spacewalking. Another use is the reconstruction of crime scenes during court trials to help jurors. Military training, flight simulation training and process plant operations, to name a few, also benefit from VR technologies to create risk-free learning spaces for trainees.

Is it relevant to your business?

AR and VR technologies are rapidly becoming the way of the future. Every business can benefit from the advantages of AR or VR. Whether it’s a full-scale interactive game, 360 walk-throughs of construction spaces, cyber security simulated training or safety in the workplace. Recreating your product or service in a 3D space gives your employees and customers a more immersive and empowering experience.

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