Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that lets people superimpose digital content (images, sounds, text) over a real-world environment. AR got a lot of attention in 2016 when the game Pokémon Go made it possible to interact with Pokémon superimposed on the world via a smartphone screen.
What is Augemted RealityAugmented Reality (AR) s what it sounds like: reality, enhanced with interactive digital components. The most commonly used AR applications these days rely on smartphones to showcase the digitally augmented world: users can activate a smartphone’s camera, view the real world around them on the screen, and rely on an AR application to enhance that world in any number of ways via digital overlays: 1. Superimposing images, digital information and/or 3D models 2. Adding real-time directions 3. Inserting labels 4. Changing colors 5. Altering the user or their environment’s appearance via Instagram AR Filters, Snapchat AR filter, and other apps Various devices can display AR, and the list is only growing: screens, glasses, handheld and mobile devices, and head-mounted displays. In understanding what AR is, it’s also important to understand what it is not. AR is not a fully immersive experience like virtual reality (VR). While virtual reality requires users to don a special headset and pulls them into a completely digital world, AR lets them continue interacting with the physical world around them.
Common Augmented Reality Use Cases
1. Training and educationDynamic, AR-based instructions let people perform new tasks more easily and quickly than traditional training methods (like instruction manuals). As wearable devices like AR-powered smart glasses, AR contacts and AR headsets become more widely available, the potential for training via augmented reality will be tremendous.
2. EntertainmentAR has been enhancing entertainment for years. In 2012, a hologram of Tupac Shakur appeared onstage with Snoop Dogg at Coachella. This year, a fully CGI avatar who happens to be an Instagram influencer was signed by talent agency CAA. And to adapt to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, the band Real Estate offered a “Quarantour,” meaning an AR-powered tour to replace the live shows it had to cancel because of worldwide quarantines.
3. GamingToday, dozens of other games incorporate AR elements. The popularity of Augmented Reality App Development Services in games is no surprise, as gaming was one of the most obvious early applications that many people saw for AR and VR capabilities.
4. SellingThese days, it’s possible to virtually try on or try out a variety of merchandise before buying via augmented reality apps: Sephora’s app lets you view cosmetics in AR on your face; IKEA offers a chance to “see” furniture in your home; paint brands let you virtually view colours on your walls; Warby Parker makes it possible to “try on” glasses frames without actually visiting a store location or ordering samples. Pre-pandemic, these offerings provided a way to enhance in-store experiences or make life a little easier for busy shoppers.
Augmented Reality Technology: What Do Brands Need?<
1. AR Functionality Should Live on Your Website, Not in A Dedicated AR AppCustomers don’t want to download an app just to use AR features. To enjoy the sales boost that AR features can offer, eliminate unnecessary hurdles to using them.
2. AR-generating Software Can Save You Time, Energy, and MoneyA few years ago, any brand that wanted AR had to build the functionality itself, from the ground up. Today, software like Threekit makes it possible to generate AR content with a SaaS model. This makes the path to AR smoother, faster, and more accessible.
3. Build AR for SmartphonesAgain, if you want the benefits AR offers, you have to maximize the odds that your customers will use it. That means creating AR experiences that work with the tech most people have today, which means smartphones (such as iPhones and Android). Hence, finding a suitable AR App Development Company that matches your goals are extremely important.
Examples of Augmented Reality in ActionMultiple brands have established themselves as early adopters of AR technology across a range of use cases. All types of businesses have jumped on this technology to revolutionize the customer experience. To give you a better idea of what you can achieve with AR experiences, the following are some examples of real-world applications for this technology.
1. AR for IKEA Furniture ShoppingWhen shopping for furniture online, many customers may want the same experience they can get when visiting the store and seeing furniture options in person. IKEA understood this need and was able to deliver a more immersive online furniture shopping experience through AR. Specifically, the IKEA Place app enables users to use AR to see furniture at home. The app achieves this by scanning the room to calculate its dimensions. Then it projects a detailed 3D model of the furniture with up to 98 percent accuracy. This is ideal for showing how furniture will both look and fit within a space, all without the need for shoppers to set foot in a physical store. Ultimately, this particular AR application is great if products are difficult or costly for customers to return, which could extend beyond furniture into other bulky and heavy items.
2. Showing Dulux Paint Colors on WallsAnother company putting AR to the test is Dulux, which has used an immersive AR application and interface to enable users to see how different paint colors would look on their walls at home. Customers can use Dulux’s Visualizer app on Android and iOS devices to view over 1,200 paint colors on their walls. This helps take paint color selection to the next level.
3. Virtual “try-ons” of Wannaby and Warby Parker ProductsCustomers shopping online may want to make sure sneakers and other apparel are the right fit before committing to their purchase. This is not the easiest task to accomplish in most eCommerce environments. Wannaby and Warby Parker have attempted to change this by introducing the Wanna Kicks app and Warby Parker AR app. Using the Wanna Kicks app, users can try on sneakers with in-depth overlays in real time, essentially creating wearable 3D images. This makes it easy to see how sneakers will fit before buying.
4. AR Applications for Gamifying ToysBIC and LEGO have both ventured into AR to convert real toys into even more interactive products with AR games. LEGO does this using its Hidden Side app, which gives children the ability to layer a ghost-hunting game over LEGO toys using engaging heads-up displays on smartphones and iPads.
5. AR for Combat AssistanceAR also has military applications, with the U.S. Army using AR programs to help soldiers on the battlefield. Specifically, this application would help soldiers discern enemies from friendly troops. It would also help with night vision, allowing soldiers to see clearly after dark.
6. Nintendo’s Pokémon GOOne of the most memorable use cases for AR has been the Pokémon GO app. Nintendo released Pokémon GO in the mid-2010s. This mobile app gave users the ability to catch all types of virtual Pokémon in a real-world environment with superimposed overlays. At its peak, the game attracted around 65 million users and kept plenty of people consistently engaged. It’s a great example of how AR can blend the virtual and real worlds together in a seamless way.
The Commercial Opportunities for AR: Only GrowingAugmented reality has the potential to improve many aspects of the customer experience, even when that experience happens within the confines of the customer’s living space. It combines the real and virtual world in real time, with all the visualization capabilities of in-person shopping and all of the ease of staying at home.
The future of ARYou might also be wondering what the future holds for this technology. The fact is that augmented reality has a bright future ahead of it as the technology continually improves and a growing number of companies adopt it.
Augmented RealityThe technology and digital content of AR will only get better with time. The use of AR allows for integrations involving everything from graphics and sounds to haptic feedback and smell to combine digital worlds and real life. AR can also maximize interactivity using mobile devices alongside AR glasses or AR headsets.
MetaverseThe metaverse is a huge development that Meta (Facebook’s recent rebrand) is soon to introduce. It’s considered the next level of the internet and will further combine the physical and virtual worlds. The metaverse will give people’s online avatars the chance to connect with each other in nearly every way, functioning as a sort of enhanced social media platform. Using augmented reality experiences, virtual reality simulations, and other technology, people will be able to use the metaverse to: 1. Complete work in a virtual environment 2. Attend events 3. Buy and exchange non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other virtual products 4. Try on clothing and apparel
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