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As we sat glued to our screens, watching with awe the technological brilliance featured in sci-fi movies like the Matrix; little did we imagine then that there would come a day when futuristic technologies like Virtual Reality would be a real possibility.

Virtual Reality alongside Augmented Reality, another revolutionary technology closely associated to the prior, has proved to be a major tool in changing how we look at the world and its many prospects. Although many people confuse between these two, virtual and augmented realities are two different concepts.

It all lies in the difference

However similar the concepts of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) seem, there is a pretty clear line of distinction between them.

Virtual Reality – It is an artificial simulation that engages the user into a computer generated virtual environment, tricking the mind into perceiving that what it sees, is the reality. Users can move in this digital environment and even hear sounds.

Augmented Reality – In this kind of technology through which users perceive and interact in the real world that is overlain with digitally enhanced content.

The incorporation of Augmented Reality in the real world

In the past couple of years, marketing trends have witnessed mighty alterations with regards to the tools and technologies employed, and augmented reality has been a major part of it.

Although there have been quite a few trials for successful invention and application of Augmented Reality in the real world before, some of the more big scale ones included Volkswagen’s use of AR as their car manuals (2013) and the Google Glass (2014).

One of the most successful endeavours however, with respect to Augmented Reality came in the form of Pokémon Go. This AR mobile phone application utilized geo-location with the camera within a smartphones, driving players around in the real world to try and catch Pokémon characters. Intended to be a game, Pokémon Go attained such popularity that it made users walk around 8.7 billion kilometres and catch 88 billion Pokémon, in only five months of its release.

Global key player, Coca-Cola also recently introduced its new AR campaign in association with Alipay, to celebrate the Chinese New Year. IKEA, a Swedish store recognized for its furniture range, in an attempt to push customers’ buying experience and ease of use to next level, went on to introduce its AR app, IKEA Place. The app enables users to virtually measure and place furniture items in their homes using their phones, thus enhancing better decision-making.

A few other big players that have also been experimenting with AR include Snapchat, Starbucks and Nivea.

For the love of realism

The bewildering success of apps such as Pokémon Go has rendered marketers to ponder over the extents that Augmented Reality can be enhanced to. However, the efficacy of the same in various business campaigns as of now hasn’t exactly been free of doubts. From a consumer’s perspective, these undertakings are still considered more of a gimmick than a concrete tool for marketing.

If truth be told, people having come across many instances of AR, be it as an employee or a consumer, are few. Besides, people would still require dedicated headsets like the Microsoft HoloLens or Oculus Rift for a more sophisticated experience.

The bottom line is that Augmented Reality is still in its infancy. And with tech biggies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google beavering on their iterations and software developments involving AR, there still might be a good few years before a seamless integration of Augmented Reality into our lives, transpires.

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