For years, virtual reality has always been the most popular out of the two reality brothers. We’ve always dreamed of creating technology that takes you out of this world and into a new one. There are a few virtual reality headsets on the market right now, but they’re nowhere near as successful as we thought they’d be. Maybe, this is down to the limited use of virtual reality at the moment. Right now, it’s pretty much just being used for gaming or simulation purposes.
As a consequence, the little brother of virtual reality – augmented reality – has started making a name for itself. For those that don’t know, AR is when you see virtual things in real life. Usually, you need to look through a screen to see the augmented reality, and most of this is done through the lens of a smartphone camera.
Regardless, AR is definitely the more exciting of the two mediums right now. Why? Well, there are so many cool things you can do with it…
Transform your shopping experience
Believe it or not, but AR has become very popular in the retail world. Companies like IKEA have developed AR apps that you can use to virtually place items into your home. With the IKEA example, you can hold your phone up and look through the camera in your living room. Then, you can select different furniture and organize it in the room. Basically, it lets you see how things look before you buy them!
A similar concept will soon be coming to online retail stores as well. You can find some very talented web development services that create AR eCommerce sites. In essence, these sites let you choose items and see what they look like in more detail. It’s almost like they’re real, but they’re not.
Taking things further, you have some stores that use augmented reality mirrors. This is most popular in parts of Asia, and the idea is that the mirrors let you see what you’d look like in different items of clothing. This way, you don’t have to queue up and go through the effort of trying everything on!
Crazy special effects
If, like me, you love movie theatres, then you’ll be glad to know that AR is blessing the world with a new way to create special effects. We’re yet to see this in actual cinemas, but it’s only a matter of time before it comes to the big screen.
Effectively, the idea is that you can use AR to make things look like they’re happening right in front of you. There was a video circulating on Twitter at a sports stadium where a dragon was flying around breathing fire. It looked like the dragon was actually in the stadium, but this was all down to AR.
Now, picture this in the movie theatre. It would be like 3D but on steroids. AR can create a more immersive experience that makes the impossible seem possible. Hollywood will be changed forever!
Create immersive marketing campaigns
From a marketing/advertising standpoint, augmented reality opens up a whole new door of possibilities. Some companies are already tapping into this, and many more will follow. Essentially, you can use AR technology to create very immersive marketing campaigns. Instead of paying for advertising space on billboards, you can place adverts in the real world. People can look through their phone and see some crazy advert on the floor that your company has created. Or, going back to the point about special effects, you create some mental scene using clever animations.
This sounds a bit crazy, but we already see a few things like this. The idea is that there are special places where you can scan a QR code then open up the camera on your phone and see the AR marketing. You have to admit, this definitely sounds more intriguing than staring at a bus stop poster. There’s some refinement left to do, but it could be groundbreaking for the marketing world.
You can already see the potential that comes with augmented reality. Plus, you also have AR gaming as well. Perhaps not as coveted as VR gaming, but still very interesting. Pokemon Go is the best and most obvious example of this, and it proved to be a great way to blend gaming with the great outdoors. Regardless, the bottom line is that AR is here to stay. I, for one, am thoroughly excited to see what other uses spring up in the next few years.