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What is Augmented Reality?

22/05/2020

Studio Victoria

2 minutes

Today we are going to talk about Augmented Reality, which in 2016 helped in changing the way people use mobile games, answering the following questions: what is Augmented Reality?, what is the difference between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality? and how can businesses benefit from Augmented Reality?

WHAT IS AUGMENTED REALITY?

The simplest definition of Augmented Reality, also abbreviated as AR, is the use of Technology to overlay additional information on top of the things we see with our eyes. The most common method of experiencing this is by using a specialist mobile application that uses your phone’s camera and pointing at the object that we want to learn more information about or to interact with. The somewhat failed — it is still being developed for enterprise users — Google Glass project is another interesting way of using AR, and one that we hope becomes more widely implemented in the years to come. Some of the most popular Augmented Reality applications are Google Translate, Google Lens, IKEA Place, and the revolutionary Pokémon Go, but there are many others out there, some of them work exclusively on Apple iOS, due to their phenomenal ARKit.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VIRTUAL REALITY AND AUGMENTED REALITY?

Despite some people mistaking one for the other, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are substantially different. As we covered in a previous article, Virtual Reality lets the user immerse themselves in a computer-generated environment, which could be a Digital Twin", by using a head-mounted display. On the other hand, Augmented Reality enhances the user’s interaction with the real world with their smartphone or tablet, by providing additional layers of information.

There is a way of merging both user experiences, which we will cover in a future blog post.

HOW CAN BUSINESSES BENEFIT FROM AUGMENTED REALITY?

Augmented Reality has a myriad of application across almost any sector: Retail, Hospitality, Construction, Property, Energy, Insurance, etc., especially in times like this when social distancing is necessity.

By implementing Augmented Reality in your Retail or Hospitality business applications, your clients and customers will have an enriched experience when interacting with your products or premises. They could open the app, point at your menu and see additional information that you would not print on the paper menu, or they could customise the product’s size, colour, etc. without having to physically touch the product. This interaction could even be done from the comfort of their own, as the IKEA Place app demonstrates, by allowing the users to place furniture to the real size in their room of choice to get an accurate sense of dimension and how it would look like before buying.

If you are in the Construction, Property, Energy or Insurance sectors, Augmented Reality applications will give your managers and clients additional information when conducting visual inspections that will allow them to make better decisions, maximising their efficiency and therefore reducing your costs. Simply point the camera to the object that you want to inspect and additional layers of information will pop up: thermal reports, additional photographs, CAD plans, videos, external links, etc.

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