Blurring out the distinctions between real & fantasy, virtual and augmented reality seem to have fuelled the imagination of mass, intellectuals & entrepreneurs alike. Not only that these two have brought a paradigm shift in digital consumer interaction but also have catapulted such monumental leap in tech space that has rendered mobile technology look dated.
Despite an ocean of VR games or AR apps Like Pokemon Go are taking the world by storm, commoners except for tech geeks still tend to confuse between the two, not to mention wondering about their usages & future. So let’s dig deep to unearth the reality behind it.
As for the similarity, both augmented and virtual reality aims to alter our perception of the world. Transporting the user to a land of fantasy & make belief, these two offer a perfect escape route for few moments from the reality around. However, while virtual reality literally snaps the user out of all worldly experiences, augmented reality blends the real with unreal in perfect fusion. With the aid of a VR helmet or goggles, virtual reality ensues an all-pervasive & immersive visual, auditive and haptic (touch) stimulation so the constructed reality is almost indistinguishable from the real deal. With AR though, users continue to be in touch with the real world while interacting with virtual objects around them through clear visors, tablets or mobile devices which augment the reality by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.
Though incepted early, VR games had a lean start and did not gain momentum until Oculus Rift came into play which was later followed by Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard etc. Meanwhile, we’ve seen several applications with AR, along with video game and hardware devices
Current State of AR/VR Adoption:
While both augmented reality and virtual reality are gradually formatting the tech scenario, they are yet to reach beyond a minority of marketers and tech enthusiasts. After the debacle of Google Glass which was the biggest effort to bring AR to mass market, the all-sweeping Pokemon Go trend is the sole example of AR influencing common man, and VR remains even more elusive with its focus on gaming industry or military.
However, Virtual and Augmented Realities in 2017 are already making dramatic leaps forward as startups find ways to introduce smell and touch to expand the user’s sensory experiences. Also, beyond the obvious media and entertainment applications for AR/VR technologies, design and engineering companies the likes of Solidworks are demonstrating their commitment to immersive design with AR and VR related partnerships, including NVIDIA, Microsoft, Lenovo, and HTC Vive. Another hybrid term of Mixed Reality(MR) coming into foray with Microsoft Hololense, the first self-contained, holographic computer, enabling user to engage with their digital content and interact with holograms in the world around.
The future ahead:
“I’m excited about Augmented Reality because unlike Virtual Reality which closes the world out, AR allows individuals to be present in the world but hopefully allows an improvement on what’s happening presently… That has resonance.”
Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
As it stands, augmented reality is ahead of virtual reality, as there are several products already on the market. Since AR deals with the real world, it has insurmountable potential to engage in our daily lives and encompasses almost every aspects like Products, Consumer Engagement, Gaming, Media, Education & Toys, Training, Corporate et al.
On the matter of VR, as it stands, it might work better for video games and social networking in a virtual environment, such as Second Life, or even PlayStation Home. It’s still far away from being this great thing for social encounters in a virtual world, but with the rise of the Oculus Rift, it is getting there and in industries like Military, Medical or Education it can have immense influence. However, the projected share of AR stands at a staggering $120billion as put against VR which expect to reach $30 billion benchmark.
Let us wait and watch who wins the reality race.
June 6 , 2017
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