Augmented Reality – Bridging the Gap Between the Real and Virtual Consumer Experience

To maximize outcomes, Augmented Reality must be effectively incorporated and knitted into the marketing plan. Using Augmented Reality in business, like all other developing technology, takes both talent and patience.

What is augmented reality?

Simply said, Augmented Reality allows computer-generated data to be superimposed over our direct perception of reality. Its goal is to augment the actual environment with 3D virtual things to improve the user’s present awareness of reality.

Former Boeing researcher Tom Caudell first invented the phrase “augmented reality” in 1990. In 2008, the technology began to migrate to new platforms, including mobile apps. AR has become sociable because of new AR mapping and social tools like Taggar, which was released in 2013 and allows users to share concealed, “mutually” personal photos, objects, or locations.

How Does Augmented Reality Work?

Two easy ways may be used to produce AR:

  1. Systems based on markers

This approach overlays visuals using the physical environment as a reference point. Placing a 2-dimensional printed marker in front of a web camera, for example. The computer interprets this command and creates an overlapping illusion on screen as if it were immediately on top of the marker in real life.

  • Systems that don’t use markers

This approach includes determining the position of items in the physical world using a mix of equipment such as electronic gadgets, accelerometers, compass, and location data – such as the Global Positioning System (GPS). At the same time, it senses the physical world’s position as well as its axis.

What are the uses of augmented reality?

The market for augmented reality applications is predicted to increase at an exponential rate, from USD 181.3 million in 2011 to USD 5.2 billion in 2017, with a compounded annual growth rate of over 95%.

Many businesses have already begun to utilize this technology, but mobile communications are the most visible application of AR. Paid downloads, post-download products, and advertising income are all likely to increase. Furthermore, people who have used augmented reality apps on their smartphones have typically given good feedback to developers like Google, Apple, and Microsoft, to mention a few.

According to a 2015 wearables technology survey, AR technology is critical in the wearable tech area for 52 percent of organizations. It’s also worth noting that 71% of those aged 16 to 24 favor ‘wearable technology,’ which allows them to go about their everyday lives with reasonable ease.

Among the most well-known AR applications are:

  • Google Glass is a wearable computer:

Google Glass resembles a pair of ‘glasses.’ It is a form of wearable voice-controlled Android gadget. In January of 2015, it was originally published in the United Kingdom. It allows users to capture photographs and movies, and send messages without having to use their hands. Because it delivers a heightened feeling of the actual world, the user may observe the real world surrounding and utilize the glasses to conduct a variety of daily activities such as driving, strolling safely on roadways, and engaging in sports.

These glasses contain built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing users to receive location-based feedback. When a user enters an airport, for example, they will be instantly provided with flight status information. The user may also use voice commands and the touchpad on the device’s frame to control it.

  • Surgical operations

VIPAAR (Virtual Interactive Presence) is an augmented reality technology that aims to improve surgical operation efficiency and efficacy. In 2013, a medical team at the University of Alabama used VIPAAR in conjunction with Google Glass to successfully execute the first AR operation. In 2013, a medical team at the University of Alabama used VIPAAR in conjunction with Google Glass to successfully execute the first AR operation.

VIPAAR is destined to become a great teaching tool for residents and surgeons learning new medical procedures. This will be accomplished through virtual coaching and demonstrations of proper instrument placement. This platform elevates surgery to new heights by allowing a surgeon in one location to participate in a procedure being performed in another.

  • Archaeology

Using AR technology to find new methods to attract people to the museum is quickly becoming a reality. In 2013, the Medelhavsmuseet (Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities) in Stockholm teamed up with the Interactive Institute Swedish ICT to present a virtual unwrapping of the mummy of ancient Egyptian priest Neswaiu. With a flick of a finger, a touchscreen display reveals several layers of the mummies. Visitors may move and twist the bones in 3D space to learn more about the mummy.

AR’s Advantages

Although the usage of augmented reality is still in its early stages, it is currently being used in a variety of sectors to improve and speed up product design, manufacture, maintenance, and commercialization. The following industries are expected to gain the most from AR:

  • Military

The military has already begun research in the field of augmented reality (AR) technology to simplify activities such as training, maintenance, and modeling of actual military actions. AR may also aid in the uniformity of artillery manufacture, lowering costs. Osterhout Design Group (ODG) in San Francisco, for example, has been developing smart glasses for the military. Displaying high-definition video, capturing video, and putting graphics over the actual environment are all made easier with these glasses.

  • Training and education

One of the top ten most important developing technologies in education is augmented reality. Students’ curiosity is piqued when actual and virtual items are combined, which promotes receptivity. Augmenting the content of books with multimedia features such as 3D models, animations, videos, and websites is the finest use of AR technology in education. Virtual characters, such as teacher-like avatars, guiding figures, or even avatars of real teachers, may be added to the AR reality. One of the top ten most important developing technologies in education is augmented reality.

This technology has already been included in the curriculum of several educational institutions. In 2013, the Creating Augmented Reality in Education (CARE) initiative for healthcare students at City University London merged approaches to generate materials. This featured a series of ‘health walks,’ which employed GPS technology and augmented reality to raise student awareness of health dangers in their neighborhood.

  • Tourism and travel

The worldwide travel and tourism business is expanding at a breakneck pace. The travel and tourism business in Europe employs 1.8 million people and accounts for more than 5% of the European Gross Domestic Product (GDP). By engaging visitors through engagement, AR technology can help this business develop even more. Tuscany (opened 2013) and Discover Hong Kong City Walks (released 2014) apps, for example, provide tourists with an AR-based guide as well as mobile tourist guides to mimic a real-life visit to their nation.

  • Marketing and retail

Interaction with physical objects remains the lone gap in the online selling of things as e-commerce spreads to numerous rising areas throughout the world. This is where augmented reality comes into play. AR has the potential to greatly improve traditional retail and marketing approaches online. This is accomplished by allowing e-shoppers to interact with virtual objects to imitate a physical shopping experience.

Customers can, for example, utilize augmented reality to buy items in virtual fitting rooms. During New York Fashion Week in 2012, Bloomingdale’s, a well-known clothes retailer, successfully tried virtual changing rooms. Swivel fitting rooms, as the name implies, use natural physics concepts for apparel. The 3D clothing moves in sync with the wearer’s movements, twisting and rotating to create a realistic virtual appearance. It’s the closest thing you can get to an actual fitting session.

Why Use AR in the First Place?

As the technology evolves and new applications emerge, augmented reality is gaining traction. Even though it is a relatively new technology, it is growing due to several factors:

  • Cost-cutting

AR technology helps to cut expenses in a variety of ways. It can assist in channelizing the production process, minimizing error margins, and making operations safer, for example. As a result, money spent on recurrent processes is saved.

  • Quality of experience

AR technology is “new,” “interesting,” and “easy to utilize.” This technology is simple to use since it improves the user experience. It promotes retention in training and education applications by increasing involvement in learning processes. It offers a new dimension to the user experience in entertainment apps, making it more appealing.

AR’s inherent dangers

Despite its enormous promise, investing in AR technology might be an expensive error if marketers do not have a clear understanding of their objectives. Here are a few tips for investors:

  • The intended audience

Marketers should have a thorough understanding of their target market group. AR, for example, must be targeted at a tech-savvy market.

Alternatives

Buyers may want to try out the genuine product; for example, while buying a vehicle, customers may wish to have a test drive. Only a simulated sensation is provided by AR, which increases the urge to feel the genuine thing. Wherever the market requires them, actual samples of items and demonstrations must be readily available. AR will never be a perfect replacement for this.

Being aware of the need for gradual integration

It’s possible that using AR in the workplace won’t produce the expected benefits right now. It may take some time to spread widely among consumers if you start with early adopters. It takes some time to become adjusted to AR.

Conclusion

AR has a bright future ahead of it. AR, which is already extensively employed in phones and video game systems, has elevated the mobile user experience to new heights. It is expected to transform the way we access, experience, and exchange digital information in the future years.

Furthermore, advances in technology, the expansion of content, and the widespread availability of smartphones will usher AR into the mainstream. Cloud computing has the potential to be a major driver of AR app development.

Is it time for all product marketers to consider how AR might enhance their overall consumer experiences in the future?

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