Augmented Reality Vs Virtual Reality
AR and VR have been the buzzword since Facebook bought Oculus Go, a VR tech startup in 2014. But what exactly is the difference between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality? What are the use cases of AR and VR? What is the future of AR and VR? This blog will cover each and every aspect of these emerging technologies and how it would impact enterprises and consumers around the world. Before we jump into the differences, let us understand the technicalities of the debate – Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality.
What are AR and VR?
Augmented Reality is the overlay of digital imagery in the real world. With the help of a smartphone’s sensor, one can visualize AR and also interact and engage with it. For example, Pokemon Go was a huge success because users could now capture the Pocket Monster using their smartphone. AR is not restricted to gaming, it goes very well beyond that.
For example, in manufacturing units, machines have a higher chance of getting malfunction or requires repair work. In such cases, AR technology can connect a remote worker with frontline workers to fix repair and maintenance problems.
Virtual Reality, on the other hand, lets you experience 3D animations or 360-degree content using a VR headset like HTC Vive, Oculus Quest or Lenovo Mirage. Unlike Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality is experienced in a closed environment to give users a greater sense of immersion and interactivity. Games like Beat Saber, Vader Immortal and Supershot are some of the examples of VR.
Similarly, you have 360-degree content by National Geographic and Discovery which teleports you to a new place. For example, within a few seconds, you can visit the Colosseum of Rome and the very next you can be transported to Rio de Janerio in Brazil.
Now let us analyze the Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality argument using a few parameters like devices, technology, immersion and real-life use cases.
Many people confuse AR with Mixed Reality, which is understandable because both the technologies merge the physical and real-world; however, there is a clear distinction between both the technologies with regards to its end-user. In short, AR is for consumers, and MR is more inclined towards enterprises.
Augmented Reality Use Cases
Entertainment: Pokemon Go developed by Niantic in collaboration with The Pokemon Go company created mass hysteria among every age group. They went onto to develop Harry Potter: Wizards Unite last year, which created its own niche. Since then, many companies have been experimenting with AR games.
Product Visualization: AR in retail allows brands to connect with consumers in an unimaginable way. AR provides brands with the opportunity to create digital experiences for their consumers that adds value to their shopping experience. For example, the Chinese beauty tech company Meitu has launched an AR app to help cosmetic companies beat the coronavirus blues.
Repair and Maintenance: AR can be highly beneficial to the heavy industries where the product needs to be viewed from different angles. With a tablet or a smartphone, trainees, supervisors and key decision-makers can view a machine or a piece of equipment, zoom it in and out for a closer inspection and make necessary changes before sending it to be developed.
Virtual Reality Use Cases
Training: Organizations have started using VR to train their workforce to better prepare them to handle adverse situations that might arise while working. VR creates an exact simulation of the real world with which workers can interact and get familiar with the components and the surroundings. For example, many Oil and Gas companies are exploring VR to train their workers about on-field and off-field procedures.
Education: Schools have started opting VR technology to create virtual field trips and learning modules. For the past few years, students have been learning through books that have made them rote learners. With VR, students can easily comprehend complex subjects at their own pace. For example, using an Oculus Quest, they can be teleported to wonders of the world or to a museum to understand the importance of culture and history of the other countries.
Collaboration: Although there are many collaborative tools in the market like Zoom, Skype, and Jio Meet, however, none of them has the capability of offering virtual space where a 3D model can be placed and the team can collaborate to fine-tune it. Companies like Meetingroom and MeetingVR provide enterprises with the opportunity to work remotely, conduct presentations, showcase projects and much more.
Benefits of AR and VR
- A new way of learning: Undoubtedly, AR and VR ushers in a new way of training employees across the organizations. For the past few years, employees have been learning using traditional tools like manuals and presentation. There is a need to transition from one to many to a personalized approach where learners learn by themselves.
- Better engagement: According to a recent research by the University of Maryland, people recall information better after a VR experience. As the users are completely immersed in the platform, they are completing focusing on what they are experiencing and aren’t distracted by the outisde world.
Future of AR and VR
In the midst of the novel virus, many companies are realizing the potential of immersive technologies. But it is very important to understand that the excitement and inquisitiveness towards technology is driven by its usefulness.
So, for AR and VR to gain momentum, it is important to analyze use cases across industries like Oil and Gas, Defence, Automotive, Education and others. AR and VR still have a long way to go as COVID has disrupted the hardware supply chain to a great extent.
On the other hand, cost has remained one of the biggest barriers for this technology. Now, we are seeing standalone headsets like Oculus Quest available to the consumer at less than 500$.
The devices are going to get cheaper;however, what we need is they synergy between hardware and software which will really make it sell and create value for the organizations and consumers.