Augmented Reality (AR) Vs. Virtual Reality (VR)
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The digital landscape is undergoing one of the biggest transformations the world has ever witnessed. In the past decade we have seen numerous life changing evolutions, majority of which were technologically driven. From travel, fashion, education, career and much more, digital innovations have made their contributions in all industries and domains one can think of. According to a survey, 5 billion people in the world own a mobile device and 2.65 billion people in the world are active social media users. With Internet Explorer shutting down in June 2022, it is very evident that the world is making the swift shift from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0, in simpler word we could say that this is the evolution of the future of digital interactions.
10 years ago, who ever knew that you could book flight tickets on your fingertips from the comfort of your couch (without even speaking to an agent), or that you could update every minute detail of your day on your Instagram profile and have people actually follow your life journey. As impossible as this was for the masses to envision this happening a decade ago, it is now reality. Technological advancements are at an unstoppable pace and with the emergence of Metaverse, it is only going to get bigger. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are two such technologies that are undergoing massive transformations and enhancements and are in the pipeline to be made more easily adoptable for the masses in the coming few years. Tech experts predict that the possibility of AR/VR devices becoming a pocket device cannot be ruled out.
The reason why technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are becoming more and more sensational with time is because the Metaverse is here, and the only way (that we know of as of now) to enter this immersive virtual platform is through AR/VR wearable devices. The Metaverse is envisioned to be an immersive virtual 3D platform where people can carry out their day-to-day activities like working, attending classes, shopping, socializing etc. Gartner predicts that by 2026, 25% of people will use the Metaverse for at least 1 hour every day. Brands like Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, Balenciaga, Nike, Coca-Cola, Disney, Hyundai, Louis Vuitton, Zara etc. have already made their debut in the Metaverse and tech giants and top investors from around the world are rigorously investing in this magnificent technology. Millions of people around the world have already experienced the Metaverse in the form of attending concerts, fashion shows, conferences, gaming etc. Since the Metaverse is very soon going to become more commercial and accessible, the demand for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) devices in going to rise at a rapid speed. In this article we will explain to you these two technologies and help you understand the distinguishing factors that makes them both unique to their offerings.
What is Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented Reality aka AR is a technology that integrates digital information with the user’s real world environment. It is a technology with computer generated layers of digital information like graphics, images, sound, sensory stimuli or text into a view of the physical and real world environment. AR technology hold the potential to change the user’s perception of reality and making it more life-like and interactive in nature. It is a technology that allows overlaying of real world objects and environments with 3D virtual objects and environments.
Example of AR
Snapchat uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect the face of the user and then overlays a filter of their choice on it. This imposing of filters look very real and this is achieved through Augmented Reality (AR).
Pokemon Go is considered to be one of the best examples of AR implementation. This game was created with a vision to combine both, digital technology and physical involvement. In this game users had to locate and catch cartoon characters present virtually in their neighbouring area. Augmented Reality made this game look as real as possible, unique and authentic to an extent that this game became a global sensation within no time after its release.
What is Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual Reality aka VR is an interactive computer generated experience that occurs within a simulated environment. This technology uses software, screens on the eye and interactive controls that allows the user to enter a digital virtual world. It is a three dimensional image or environment that can interact with the real physical world with the help of electronic equipments like goggles, helmets etc.
Examples of VR
Birdly allows its users to fly in an immersive virtual three dimensional environment. It gives its users a birds eye view of the greatest cities and historical places in the world. The key differentiator between common flight stimulators and Birdly is that, here people can actually move their arms and stretch their legs and move in different directions themselves. It is a one-of-a-kind experience and comes with its own setup, simulators, sensors, actuators etc.
This game was launched in 2017 and is considered to be one of the best examples of Virtual Reality implementations. It is highly immersive and has effortless control schemes which give the user an experience of actually being in the game environment.
The global AI market was worth over $35 billion in 2018, and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of around 30% reaching $180 billion by 2025.
Now let’s look at the top 2 differences between Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
- The devices used for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are very different from each other. For AR, one can use a smartphone, this allows the user to add elements to their surrounding and uplift their experience. Another example of an AR device is the Google Glasses, this reflects upon the screen all the images, texts etc. and enables users to see the environment while not necessarily involve in it. On the other hand, for VR users need a specialized headset or headgear that vacuums their vision to create an immerse environment. This ensure that the users vision is enclosed to the virtual environment projected. VR typically has a setup – from joysticks to gloves and even treadmills (to accelerate the moving effect) and more.
- The overall experience each of these technologies provide are very different from each other. In an Augmented Reality (AR) setup, the user isn’t entering an immersive world or environment, instead, the digital elements are added to the world around them with help of screens. In Virtual Reality (VR) setup, the user is inside the immersive environment where they can move around and interact with other objects and people in 3D. this is a technology which allows its users to be a part of the immersive world like it is their real world. While AR gives you 25% of immersive experiences and 75% of real world environment, VR gives you 75% of immersive experience with 25% of real world environment.
Some interesting AR & VR statistics
- According to a report by Threekit, nearly 1 billion people in the world use Augmented Reality.
- Oberlo says that the number of monthly VR users is likely to have rised by 75% from 2018 to 2022.
- The Virtual Reality market is estimated to be worth $44.7 billion by 2024.
- 62% of parents believe that Virtual Reality can further their child’s educational experiences.
Both Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are different sides of the same coin and both have their significant features and characteristics. There are many applications of both these technologies that are widespread and with the world making its shift from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 it is only going to increase.
Marketing Head, TECHVED Consulting