Updated: Jan 7
The presence of breakthrough technologies in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have become increasingly common. More and more we’re seeing the exciting potential in the future of gaming, marketing, e-commerce, education, and many other fields.
Although both technologies are known to enrich your experience, virtual reality and augmented reality accomplish two very different things in two very different ways. Let’s break down their significant differences and how you can use them to enhance your business operations, shall we?
Augmented Reality (AR)
Do you remember the Pokémon GO craze of 2016? On their screens, players of the viral mobile game “Pokémon Go” would see creatures pop into existence alongside real-world physical objects.
That’s Augmented Reality.
In other words, AR adds to reality, projecting information on top of what you're already seeing. Although it may seem just for fun, augmented reality is useful for more than just games and entertainment. Retailer IKEA created an AR app that helps shoppers visualize what certain products will look like in their home before they purchase them. The app overlays virtual versions of the products onto the real-live image of customers’ living spaces. While eyewear retailer Warby Parker can help you instantly try on any style of eyewear through their app and even recommend styles of frames that would look best on you.
In addition to retailers, other industries such as aviation, automotive, healthcare, travel and tourism are all taking advantage of augmented reality technology. For example, imagine being on a self-guided walking tour and wanting to know details about the architecture of a building you discover. With an AR app, you could just point your phone at the building, and all the details would be projected in your line of sight. The possibilities are endless!
Virtual Reality (VR)
In the simplest terms, VR replaces reality, taking you visually somewhere else. Virtual reality technology uses special equipment such as headsets, computers, sensors, and gloves to completely take over your vision to give you the impression that you're somewhere else.
While the world of gaming and entertainment were early adopters of virtual reality, VR technology is now used in many organizations and industries including the military, engineering and construction, healthcare, education, business and more.
One of the obvious applications of VR in military training is to simulate dangerous scenarios or events that would be difficult to simulate in real life. Law Enforcement also uses VR to train police officers in hundreds of simulated scenarios. While virtual reality tools also help surgeons plan for surgery ahead of time.
But virtual reality technology doesn’t have to be all serious business. One fun example comes from a water slide park in Germany that has a VR slide that transports riders to different virtual environments as they glide down and around the chute. It’s genius, really. This VR ride gives the park a new way to attract visitors without the huge cost associated with installing a new ride.
As momentum continues to build for virtual reality and augmented reality, it’s clear that we’re on the cusp of enhanced technology going fully mainstream as we will blur the boundaries between the digital world and the real one.