I talk to a lot of people about Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). It seems most people who are aware of both technologies at a surface level think gaming is its purpose.
Of course, VR has its roots in gaming and that has driven its growth particularly in the early stages.
But, VR is a real tool for Education, Training, Business, Medtech and also helping people explore the world when they physically cannot do that anymore.
Virtual Reality or even Immersive Technology such as 360 Videos can be thrown into this bucket are becoming very important in the world of business.
Marketers across the world are embracing things such as 360 Video and as Standalone Headsets become cheaper and more widespread true VR will also be on the radar.
The training and education sector is another big one, let us think about the Acronym RIDE.
If anything is
It is a perfect candidate for a VR Solution that will be able to provide the same high-level experience over and over again for a fraction of the price.
No more expensive setups, flying people to remote areas for training or induction, breaking expensive equipment or most importantly injuring people!
We are also seeing VR being used in things like Tourism, creating great experiences for times that are long gone. We are working on something along these lines now and it is an exciting project that will include VR, Immersive Experience and AR.
AR is similar, we all saw it explode with Pokemon Go, really AR has been around for years in the way of heads-up display etc.
There are loads of funny ways of expressing yourself with AR particularly now in the Snapchat platform and also Facebook and Instagram really adopting that style of tech as well.
What is the difference between VR and AR? Well, VR brings you into a world and completely immerses you into that world, you cannot see the real world around you and you are totally focused on what is happening in the headset.
I quite often find that when I am in VR that I do focus more, that is for one main reason. Lack of distractions, no phone, in particular, is liberating when using VR.
AR, on the other hand, puts an object into the real world, at the moment that is done by overlaying and anchoring 3D or even 2D objects to the real world via your phone’s camera.
Whilst a lot of fun not really useful things come from this we are seeing an increased take-up of being able to really look at a product before buying.
For example, we talk about Nike and Kia selling things via AR in Facebook Messenger, this is happening and will continue to grow and evolve.
Kitchens or construction, you can hold your phone up and build your own kitchen and see what it will look like in your space before even installing it.
There are many uses for AR and eventually, we will ditch the phones and be wearing glasses.
I think as the Field of View in XR (Extended Reality) glasses such as the new Hololens that will drop at the start of 2019 or the Magic Leap One that will hopefully drop this year will begin the race for glasses that provide real value.
Throw into the Mix Apple’s announcement that they are entering this space as well shows us that this area will evolve very quickly.
Will VR be overtaken by AR?
I think it is not likely but what I see happening in the future is XR being the main tool that we as people will adopt at mass levels next. This will render things like TV and Computer Screens Useless as you will be able to anchor screens of any size anywhere you want.
Smartphones will also have issues staying relevant if we begin wearing glasses at a rate that I think will happen.
As we can see after reading this, VR and AR are not for gamers only, of course, there is a lot of fun to be had but think of it like a computer. You can game but you can also do so much more than that.