Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality or, as we popularly call them, AR and VR isn’t some futuristic technology but has been around for quite some time around us.
VR headsets such as Valve index, Smart Glasses, and AR apps and games such as Snapchat filters, Pokemon Go have penetrated deep into reality. In addition, the recent re-branding of Facebook to Meta further affirms the evolution of the internet into an immersive augmented and virtual world.
In this blog, let’s know both AR and VR technologies in detail, their business scope, demands, major trends in 2021 and the need for mobile application development.
Difference Between AR and VR
Augmented Reality morphs the real-world setting with visual, colourful and other sensory stimuli to create a projection through the phone’s camera. The user experience is augmented with software-generated graphics and the users control their presence in the real world.
By comparison, virtual reality creates the same stimulus but in a totally virtually simulated environment. In addition, VR required headset devices that control the users, unlike AR.
Key distinctions between VR and AR are highlighted below:
- AR adds to the real-world environment while VR is completely fictional.
- AR can be accessed via smartphones, tablets, heads-up displays, or AR glasses while VR requires headset devices.
- AR users are in control of the real world while the system completely controls the VR users.
- AR is 25% virtual, 75% real while VR is 75% virtual, 25% real.
Demand for AR and VR
The rising demand for AR and VR has been prompted by significant technology and social trends, including the 5G network which made the connections super fast, and the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing the business to turn remote.
By 2024, it is expected that spending on augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) software and services will reach $72.8 billion. This highlights the scope of AR and VR applications, and they are still at the nascent stage.
In 2020, 32% of users had used AR for shopping. Also, the retail industry’s AR and VR market share has been projected to reach USD 2,094.08 billion by 2027. This growing demand and use of AR applications are also generating demand for AR-compatible mobile applications and software.
For example, Apple launched its ARkit to support the development of AR applications on the IOS platform and Google’s ARCore.
Moreover, trends show improvement in smartphone technology to support the advanced AR features. It was estimated that 3.4 billion phones had even more advanced AR capabilities by 2020 than at any time in history.
This means that billions of consumers could explore physical products with virtually digitally integrated content to make a better buying decision. Though right now, more AR and VR applications are limited to gaming and social media.
Major Sectors Where AR and VR Are Applicable
The increasing usage of AR and VR in the industry is fueled chiefly both by consumers and businesses. AR applications, Smartglasses, and VR Headsets are primarily used in the below-listed sectors:
- Real Estate
Top 3 Trends in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in 2021
1. Mobile AR: Google ARCore and Apple ARkit 4
Apple’s latest ARKit 4 is an augmented reality development tool, and Google’s ARCore technology is in the race to tap the rising potential of AR tech. These tools help the software and mobile application developers to create a more awesome app to complement the improving AR-capable devices.
With these AR support kits, business and tech companies are making significant strides to provide smartphone users with virtual and augmented experiences. For example, Google maps are integrated with live photos.
Though right now, the Apple App Store hosts more AR-capable mobile apps than the apps hosted on the Google Play Store.
2. AR/VR in Retail and Shopping
The growing trend in the retail industry is to give users an option to shop virtually. Some major industry players, including American Apparel, Uniqlo, Lacoste, Kohls, offer virtual fitting rooms for a better buying experience.
IKEA is another example that uses a mobile app to showcase the furniture and other products in your home condition through AR technology.
With pandemics becoming a way of life, customers can leverage the try-before-you-buy experience from home. Moreover, as AR and VR technology grows, the comfort for the user will only prosper.
3. Remote Assistance, E-Learning, and Virtual Training
The teleworking trend depicts an exponential growth, which has further led to innovation to maintain work efficiency that was earlier operated manually. For example, augmented reality applications enable technicians to service the product by guiding customers using on-screen directions.
Customers just have to hold their smartphones in front of the device they need service in. Even for remote training and medical emergencies, AR and VR tech plays a life-saving role.
With virtual training manual software, a large group of employees can undergo similar training in a simulated environment, which saves time and costs. For example, doctors can perform virtual surgeries or guide fellow doctors on performing live surgery in emergencies.
Scope of Mobile Application Development: AR and VR
Since Augmented Reality uses smartphones and tablets, it is revolutionizing mobile application development with extended functionality.
Targeting multiple industries, many AR devices have, in turn, pushed the scope of mobile app development. This allows mobile app developers to provide consumers with better user experiences and enhance their mobile applications.
Customers and app developers are reaping huge benefits from location-based AR apps using geolocation data in mobile phones to improvement in in-store experiences. eCommerce has improved the online shopping experience with augmented reality mobile apps that visualize the product in the real world.
Apps like Snapchat and Musical.ly (now TikTok) are the most prominent and earliest adopters of augmented reality in the social media world.
Future of AR and VR
Virtual reality and Augmented reality technology are taking over the app market by storm and will soon reach their full potential. Still, there are a few mobile applications that support AR or VR.
The need of the hour is to invest in innovative apps with AR/VR technology to tap this vast potential. Major IT players like Google, Apple, and Microsoft have cemented their place in this market with innovative tech and products.
However, the infinite scope and consumer needs give upcoming companies and businesses ample room to provide extraordinary AR and VR applications.