A Comprehensive Guide to Augmented Reality

 

December 29, 2021

 

Introduction 

Since you’re on this page, you probably have some questions about augmented reality (AR) technology and how to implement it into your business. Augmented reality technology is an integral part of the future of business. This is why it goes without saying that you should probably take the time to learn a little more about it. 

Right now you may feel a little worried about the sheer vastness of AR technology. This article serves as a comprehensive guide to all things augmented reality. We provide summaries of each topic and link to other articles that we have written discussing AR. If you'd like a more in-depth guide to each topic, feel free to visit each link provided. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of AR technology and why you should at least consider using it in your business. 

AR Technology Made Simple 

In layman’s terms, AR allows you to view the real world with a digital rendering of an object overlaid on it. This is done through devices with screens, most notably smartphones. AR is one of the most popular technology trends at the moment, and it will only grow in popularity as AR-enabled smartphones and other devices become more widely available around the globe.  

Now that you know what AR is you may be wondering why businesses would want to use it? Listed below are some ways that AR improves user experience and in turn, improves business. 

Enhanced Visualization 

By using visual overlays, the customer can get a more realistic view of the product that he or she is looking at. The ability to gaze upon a 3-D rendering provides a much more comprehensive experience for the customer as opposed to the views provided by standard 2-D images. 

Online Expertise 

Augmented reality allows for customers to access real-time training when faced with difficulties with a product or service. Customers can be supported in resolving the issue without having to consult a manual or get in contact with a professional. This reduces the number of returns and travel expenses that come with the selling of online products. 

Improved Service 

AR technology is perfect for innovating on old business processes. This creates an opportunity for customers to have quicker interactions with employees, and it improves employee’s communication with customers. 

Visit the article AR Technology Made Simple to learn more about AR

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality: Know the Difference 

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) hold great promise for the future of many industries. Both technologies are known for providing an upgraded experience that combines the virtual and real-world with enhanced 3-D images. Although the two can be easily confused, they achieve different goals in different ways. 

VR is entirely immersive, fooling your senses into believing you're in a different place than where you actually are. You'll enter a completely virtual world of graphics and sounds through a headset. Here, you can manipulate items and move about using intangible controls. 

With AR, digital information is superimposed on real-world items. The real world remains important, but augmented reality enriches it with digital elements. AR stacks new layers of perception and complements your reality or environment. This is almost exclusively done through the use of a phone. 

Visit the article Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality: Know the Difference to learn more about these incredible technologies. 

The Importance of Mixed Reality 

Mixed reality transforms how you work, learn, play, shop, and connect with the world around you. It’s the perfect way to visualize things that would be impossible or impractical to see otherwise, and it is at the forefront of modern technology and business alike. Major companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple are investing large amounts of time and resources into the development and design of their own AR/MR technologies. 

In 2019 the total market value of AR/MR technologies was estimated to be USD 10.7 billion, and the market is currently projected to reach USD 72.7 billion by 2024. Throughout the history of augmented reality technology, there has been a steady increase in product design efficacy as well as consumer interest, and this trend seems to be continuing. 

With more and more use cases popping up confirming the effectiveness of this technology, it is a no-brainer that tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple are leading the push towards a more augmented world. The questions that remain are, how can smaller companies get their hands on this technology and how can they utilize it in order to increase their work efficiency and profits? Visit Why Do You Need to Use Mixed Reality to learn the answers to these questions. 

Google AR 

Google is always finding new ways to improve upon its products, and Google AR is a great example of this. From Lens to ARCore and Maps, Google has found a variety of ways to employ AR technology. 

Google’s ARCore opens up augmented reality to all users, which allows for businesses to be more innovative than ever. There’s no telling how much these innovations can improve upon UX design. As stated in previous articles, AR is great for improving the visualization of a product. Companies such as Wayfair and IKEA have used AR within their apps to aid in consumer’s abilities to view digital renderings of products. This improves user's experience because they do not have to go through the painstaking process of physically ordering items and seeing if they work. 

We cover Google AR in more detail here, so feel free to read on.  

Apple AR 

Both Apple hardware and software are designed to provide the greatest possible experience with augmented reality (AR). Unique machine learning and cutting-edge developer tools merge with advanced cameras, stunning displays, motion sensors, and powerful graphics processors to create convincing and entertaining AR experiences. It's mind-blowing that this is only scratching the surface of what Apple AR is capable of. 

Apple claims that they have “the world’s largest AR platform, with hundreds of millions of AR‑enabled devices, as well as thousands of AR apps on the App Store, and because Apple hardware and software are designed from the ground up for AR, there is no better way to experience AR.” It is no surprise that Apple is one of the main leaders in developing AR technologies for the future as Apple has seemingly dominated every realm of business that they have dabbled in. Apple has used its previous success to influence its current AR decisions by splitting its AR focus across both software and hardware platforms. 

Read more about Apple AR at Everything You Need to Know About Apple Augmented Reality. 

Microsoft HoloLens 

Microsoft HoloLens is the mixed reality project that Microsoft is nurturing. Microsoft claims that HoloLens is capable of boosting an organization’s productivity in a variety of industries. Among these industries are healthcare, manufacturing, and education. With claims such as these, it’d be smart for you and your business to at least gain a basic understanding of the HoloLens technology. 

So what exactly is HoloLens? HoloLens is a mixed reality head-mounted display unit. The first version of the HoloLens headset was released in 2015, and the current version of HoloLens named the HoloLens 2, is on the market. Microsoft intends for the HoloLens to change the world, stating that the HoloLens 2 provides “an ergonomic and precise holographic device that can increase user accuracy and input”. 

We discuss Microsoft HoloLens in more detail at Everything You Need to Know About HoloLens-Microsoft's Augmented Reality.

The Top 5 AR Apps 

Now more than ever, businesses are focusing on apps to help deliver an incredible experience to their customers. With augmented reality becoming more prevalent in the world of business, it is a no-brainer that many major companies have incorporated this technology into the functions of their apps. 

The ranking metrics for each app will be based on a few key factors, star rating on the app store, number of ratings, and overall quality of the AR experience. The apps do not have to be solely AR-based apps, they just have to have an AR-based component within the app. There are many exciting AR apps that are waiting to be talked about, so without further ado, let’s dive into the list.

The Top 5 Apps are 

  • SketchAR 
  • IKEA Place 
  • Google Lens 
  • Pokemon Go 
  • Snapchat 

We have a much more comprehensive list at What Are the Top 5 Augmented Reality Apps in 2021? 

Immersive Virtual Reality 

Immersive virtual reality is the technology that is at the forefront of modern innovation. Major companies such as Facebook, NVIDIA, and Roblox are investing heavily in the development of their own versions of VR. Likely because VR has the ability to improve relationships between businesses and customers, boost revenue, and promote brand awareness. 

Virtual Reality is a technology that delivers a synthetic experience that is close to being completely realistic. Immersive VR's objective is to totally immerse the user inside a computer-produced environment, giving the user the feeling that they are within the virtual world. This is most commonly accomplished by employing either Head-Mounted Display or multiple projection technologies. Immersive VR projects virtual reality directly in front of the user's eyes, allowing them to concentrate on the visuals without interruption. Virtual reality has the potential to create an enveloping experience akin to reality, and developers and innovators are finding creative ways to employ this immersive technology. 

As of late, one of the craziest concepts being discussed regarding VR is the metaverse. Wikipedia defines the metaverse as “a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space, including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the Internet.” Think of the metaverse as a real-life incarnation of the world depicted in “Ready Player One”. Within the metaverse, people will be able to purchase items, play games, watch sporting events, and do pretty much anything you can do in the real world. It seems to be a far-flung idea, but major businesses are working towards turning it into reality. 

Visit Everything You Need to Know About Immersive Virtual Reality to learn more. 

Is AR Elevating Valuation for Companies? 

The AR market is projected to eclipse 73 billion dollars in total value by 2024 making it a prized industry for investors to look into. With AR technology booming, many businesses are looking to see if AR is worth the hype. Investors are making it easy for both early-stage and growth-stage AR/VR business to fund their AR ventures.

We have highlighted many benefits of using augmented reality in previous blog posts. AR is capable of improving product visualization, navigation, and companies are using it to create alternate forms of reality. AR has a bright future in terms of its overall valuation, and there are many companies to support this claim. 

Major companies such as Google, Apple, and Facebook do not disclose information about how much AR impacts their overall valuation. However, each of these companies is quite vocal about heavily investing in AR/VR technologies. The overall spending on augmented reality and virtual reality is forecast to accelerate out of the pandemic, growing from just over $12 billion in 2020 to $73 billion in 2024 with a CAGR of 54%. Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook are the leaders of this push for augmented reality. 

By now you should be aware of how augmented reality improves user experience. Since this is a UX blog, we must discuss how you can increase your companies valuation by pairing AR with UX design. Below is a list of statistics and benefits of using AR within your company’s UX design. 

  1. The most prevalent way UX improves valuation is by increasing revenue. 71 percent of consumers say they would shop more often if they used AR. AR lets customers be more confident in their buying decisions which lead to higher revenue for companies. 
  2. AR also improves conversion rates by up to 40%. Using 3D technologies on your websites and landing pages provides a refreshing experience for users that lets them view your product in a more in-depth way.
  3. Lastly, 67 percent of advertising agencies say they are making more use of AR. With so many businesses adopting AR into their marketing strategies it may be time for you and your business to consider augmented reality. 

Visit Is AR Elevating Valuation for Companies for a more comprehensive version. 

Conclusion 

This guide delved deep into the topic of AR technology. So what is in store for AR technology in the future? The honest answer is that no one can be one hundred percent certain, so it is up to you to make an informed projection. Hopefully, by reading this article you will be able to make a more educated decision regarding AR technology, its future, and how it relates to your business. However, it can always be a complex process to navigate, and that is why we are here to help. If you have any questions regarding AR technology contact us at designial.com. We will be more than happy to assist you. 

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