Augmented Reality: Advantages and Examples

December 2016

An innovation in development, augmented reality is a new sort of technology that superimposes virtual objects into "reality" through the use of a smartphone, optical device, or tablet screen. Augmented reality devices generally use some sort of geolocation, such as the GPS data of a user's device. This data helps the technology gather information about someone's immediate surroundings, so that information can be imposed in a way that is more personal.

As you can imagine, while augmented reality offers fun and interactive ways for general users to learn, experience, and imagine new things, it also offers many applications for businesses and brands. This article will introduce you to the general concept of augmented reality and give you some examples of real-world applications for the technology.


What is Augmented Reality?

As we've already explained, augmented reality is a technology that creates an interaction between the real world and virtual data (such as objects, images, text, etc.). This virtual data is superimposed into reality through images in 2D or 3D through the screen of a connected device, such as a smartphone, tablet, or connected glasses.

If you're having trouble visualizing how augmented reality works, look no further than Pokémon GO, which uses this technology to superimpose virtual Pokémon into a user's immediate environment. The digital images are nothing more than pixels on a user's screen, but the technology makes it appear that the Pokémon are just within reach:


Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality

While seemingly similar, augmented reality and virtual reality are very distinct technologies.


Virtual reality is a sort of computer technology that replicates an environment (real or imagined) and simulates a user's physical presence and environment by primarily appealing to their vision and hearing. Virtual reality is typically achieved through the use of a headset (such as the Oculus Rift).

Advantages of Augmented Reality

Increase Sales

One obstacle to online shopping is that products are not always correctly represented, oftentimes due to poor photo availability. With augmented reality, it is possible to visualize an object in its "true" form before actually making a purchase.


Alternatively, in situations where users may find themselves without the proper assistance or information in real time, augmented reality adds value to the procurement process. On a commercial site, it can create interactions that would not have existed between a customer and a vendor.

Enrich Content

Augmented reality is a data-adding system that offers cultural, security, and time savings benefits. The technology provides additional information in real time in a defined position or in a specific environment, without the user having to look for it.

For example, augmented reality can provide users information about historic sites on a sightseeing tour, stops along a scenic drive, or even about plants and formations seen on a bike ride.

Improve Notoriety

Technological innovations and developments are increasingly popular with users and potential customers. A company or brand that chooses to use augmented reality acquires leverage to gain visibility but, also, a certain image. By taking advantage of this trend, the brand or the company can both attract new audiences and retain its existing customers.

How To Use Augmented Reality

A brand or a company wishing to use augmented reality has several solutions to consider in regard to its objectives and budget.


The first solution is to hire professionals specialized in augmented reality. While costly, this option is more time-saving for companies and will allow them to get expert results that are completely customized to their needs.

Can't afford the services of a professional agency? Not to worry — thanks to online developers and mobile technology, companies with smaller budgets have all of the tools that they need to implement augmented reality strategies without the hefty price tag. Augment for iOS is a mobile app that lets both companies and customers visualize 3D models in augmented reality integrated in real time in their actual size and environment.

Examples of Augmented Reality

Tourism

Augmented reality can be used in the field of tourism to enhance user experience during visits. In Bordeaux, for example, it is possible to view the current monuments in the context of the eighteenth century by simply downloading an application on a tablet.

The Eiffel Tower also has its own augmented reality application for viewing its construction.

Business

There are multiple uses for augmented reality in a business content.

In some physical stores, augmented reality allows users to try on clothes without going to the fitting room. Some stores even use augmented reality to attract customers to a store via mobile application. In Paris, a grocery store recently invited customers to their shop by inviting Pokémon GO players to capture and battle Pokémon in store.

E-Commerce

On a commercial site, augmented reality applies to many areas. Some opticians offer consumers the opportunity to try on glasses before deciding on a pair, and many decoration and furniture stores (such as IKEA) allow customers to visualize objects in virtual versions of their homes before purchasing.

Automobiles

In some automobile models, augmented reality technology is used to display information on the windshield.

This display mode provides information regarding speed, obstacles, the width of the road, and traffic.

Image: © tabako_ua - Shutterstock.com

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