Title card for the blog post Why do you need an augmented reality app for your business?
Published On: April 1st, 2021|By |Categories: Augmented Reality|

Even though they are technically still emerging technologies, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have established a strong foothold in the corporate world. The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to this. It dramatically increased the demand for safe remote technologies that will allow for smooth business operations even in social distancing times. Virtual and augmented reality for business is rapidly becoming the norm.

The AR market is expected to reach $60.55 billion by 2023 – almost twice as much as the VR market. AR is more widespread and easier to adopt than VR mostly because of the less cumbersome and more practical equipment required to use it (more on that after the jump). As it stands, the highest demand for AR is in healthcare, retail, and e-commerce, as well as manufacturing sectors. It can be a powerful business tool when used right.

However, augmented reality can find its use in practically any business in any industry.

What is augmented reality?

In simple terms, augmented reality or AR represents the real world enhanced by computer-generated content, such as 3D models, images, videos, sounds, etc. Imagine pointing your phone at a cluster of trees at a park and seeing a 3D dragon attempt to land between the branches on your phone screen. Or seeing your child kick around a ball through your phone camera, but your phone turns the ball into an alien spaceship. All of these are examples of augmented reality.

The most famous example of AR is Pokemon Go, the 2016 augmented reality game in which you walk around the real world and discover and catch Pokemon.
In short, AR technology overlays digital content over real-world environments to create a striking mix of digital and real-life.

Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality vs. Mixed Reality

The difference between Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality.

Augmented reality keeps the real world in focus but enhances it with 3D objects and digital content. It adds a new layer of perception and supplements your real environment. To access an AR experience, all you need is a mobile device, such as a smartphone or a tablet.

Virtual reality is completely immersive – the user finds themselves in a 100% virtual environment. The virtual environment might resemble the real world, but it is entirely computer-generated. To enter virtual reality, you need a VR headset (head-mounted display or HMD). You can interact with VR objects and virtual people with the help of hand-held controllers.

Mixed reality is a combination of AR and VR. Some might even consider it a leveled-up form of AR. When using mixed reality devices (such as the Microsoft Hololens), you can interact with physical objects and virtual objects at the same time. It allows you to have one foot in the real world and the other in a digital environment. MR breaks boundaries between reality and imagination.

How can businesses use augmented reality?

There are many ways AR can boost your business. Here are some of the most popular AR applications:

  • Product development and 3D modeling. Thanks to AR, designers and engineers can develop their projects in 3D space without limiting themselves to 2D observations of those 3D projects. Prototypes are no longer expensive to produce – AR is a quick, cost-effective way to compare old and new designs in different stages of development. 3D designs can be superimposed on the physical world, offering a better understanding of what works and what needs further improvement.
    Volkswagen has been successfully using AR for just that. By comparing prototypes with the latest release through augmented reality, they greatly improved the accuracy of their quality assurance process.
  • Product demonstration. Using cutting-edge technology to showcase your new product is bound to leave a positive impression on potential customers. An example of this is IKEA’s Place AR app that allows users to place IKEA’s furniture in their home and see how it looks before they make a purchase.
  • Try before you buy. An AR app also allows your consumers to try the product they’re interested in in an innovative way. Beauty and makeup brands make use of this feature with the help of AR filters that enable their consumers to test beauty products on their faces. All they have to do is turn on their front-facing camera, choose the AR filter (makeup product) they want to apply, and they’re all dolled up!
  • Remote training and support. The augmented reality industry has seen a major boom during the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing rules in place and most of the global workforce working from home, remote training has become a necessity. AR excels in this area. It allows experts from any corner of the globe to connect with trainees and offer them detailed, step-by-step instructions and training. The visual aspect of AR makes this a far more productive experience than a simple video call.
    The opportunity to see 3D objects, zoom in on them and examine their complex inner workings is invaluable in training and support.
  • Increasing brand interaction. Even if you ‘only’ want to use AR for the purpose of marketing and spreading awareness and good vibes about your brand – that is a perfect application for it! Augmented reality is still a new and exciting technology for many, and consumers are sure to have a mind-blowing experience trying out your app – and possibly even become loyal customers of your business!

How will augmented reality reshape your business?

If you decide to integrate AR into your business operations, there are many benefits you can expect:

  • Increased positive feelings about your brand. AR belongs in experiential marketing, delivering unforgettable customer experiences. It is estimated to be 3 times more memorable than non-AR marketing tactics. Once consumers walk away from your AR event, they are left with a strong positive impression about your brand and are more likely to engage with it in the future.
  • Sky-high customer engagement. Augmented reality experiences are twice as engaging as their non-AR equivalents! Around 200% more engagement!
  • Better conversion rates. For consumers who come into contact with AR, conversion rates are up by a whopping 90% compared to consumers who don’t.
  • Higher student and trainee motivation. If you’re in the education or training sector, your students are bound to love learning from AR rather than a boring old textbook. The visualization that AR brings helps with understanding abstract concepts, retaining information, and making learning an overall exciting practical experience!
  • Safer healthcare. AR has already demonstrated its value in healthcare. It provides an indispensable visualization element to surgical procedures and connects medical professionals from all over the world for better, well-rounded treatment consultations. Take a look at how doctors at Johns Hopkins utilized AR in spinal surgery:
  • Lower costs. The initial investment in AR devices may (keyword being may) be costly, but it is nothing compared to the long-term budget savings they will bring to your business. For most AR experiences you don’t need much more than a mobile phone. Even if you want to purchase more advanced AR glasses, they will quickly prove their worth. You won’t have to spend money on transportation or housing of your remote employees or complex scans and imaging systems when it can all be effortlessly displayed in augmented reality.

What technology is needed to use augmented reality?

What hardware you will need to launch your AR experience depends on the purpose and the complexity of that experience.

If you’re interested in a retail, marketing, product demo, or even educational augmented reality application, you and your consumers won’t need anything more than a mobile device! The beauty of AR experiences is that all you have to do is download an AR app (or access an experience via the web), and you can enjoy it on your phone or tablet. Make sure that it is an AR-ready phone or tablet, however, because not all are.

If you want AR technology for training or advanced work in construction, design, repair, or similar, perhaps it would be better to go for an AR headset or glasses (or a mixed reality headset), such as the aforementioned Microsoft Hololens 2. There are plenty of other options out there (Google Glass Enterprise 2 and Lenovo ThinkReality A6 come to mind). Even Apple has announced their very own AR glasses coming in the next few years!

How can your business start using augmented reality?

To make your AR ambitions come to life, you need an AR software company to develop a solution for you.

Have a cool augmented reality idea you need help with? Contact us at ARVRtech for a pinch of expert advice and assessment. We’d love to work together to bring your business to life with this innovative tech!

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