Will we be able to point at a virtual grocery store, peruse in a virtual supermarket, visible only to us, pull a virtual shopping cart, and checkout virtually any time soon?
The dynamics of every industry have changed as a result of technological advancements. This disruption is not limited to the virtual world. Because of technological advances, people can now exist in various realms and mediums. A technology known as Augmented Reality (AR) is here to change how you work, learn, play, shop, and interact with the world.
AR technology has been around for a while. However as of more recent times it is getting noticed because we are using it in ways that we have never previously harnessed, so the technology and its integration into our daily lives has never had such a significant influence.
Augmented reality (AR), which superimposes an image onto a user’s perspective of the real world and enhances it with sound, touch, text and even scent, is one of the most popular technology fads that’s truly shaking up the landscape at the moment. It will, however, only become more popular as AR-capable and enabled devices become more widely available over the coming years.
COVID-19 induced lockdown regulations; and social isolation has made companies worldwide invest in new methods to make connections and networks easier to use while keeping their consumers safe. Despite a global epidemic and consequent economic uncertainty, investors have increased their interest in the AR market having the foresight to see AR’s growing potential.
According to IDC, global spending on AR and VR devices, software, and services, increased by 50% in 2020 to $12 billion, and in 2020, 32% of shoppers had used augmented reality to shop at some point. In the forecast period of 2020 to 2027, the augmented reality and virtual reality market for the retail industry alone is predicted to reach $2,094.08 billion, growing at a rate of 68.5 percent. And Researchers estimate that the sector will increase by more than $125 billion by 2024, as mentioned on Businesswire.com.
What is AR? (In layman’s terms)
In simple terms, augmented reality (AR) is a technology in which designers employ computer-generated input to augment aspects of the user’s physical world. Digital material that adapts in real-time to changes in the user’s environment, such as movement, ranging from music to video to graphics to GPS overlays and more.
You can imagine AR like Snapchat filters where you can add a dancing character, adding animal features to a human face or any character of your choice to your video. When you do that, you will notice it doesn’t completely change the scene or the environment, but it does improve your experience by adding sensory information to the observed reality; this is Augmented Reality.
Some easily confuse augmented reality with Virtual Reality (VR); despite the similarity in the nomenclature, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are not the same. The difference lies in that VR changes the environment a user is presented with. While AR, on the other hand, as earlier mentioned, will only alter and modify the current environment or scene (the actual reality).
Virtual reality immerses the user in an experience and engages with 3D worlds rather than viewing a screen in front of them. Virtual reality, in particular, creates virtual things in virtual surroundings that are meant to appear genuine. I hope you get the difference?
Unlike virtual reality, AR does not provide an immersive experience. While Virtual Reality requires users to put on special headgear and immerse themselves in a completely digital environment, AR allows them to continue engaging with the actual world.
Augmented reality refers to a reality that has been supplemented with interactive digital elements. Users can activate their smartphone’s camera, view the real world around them on the screen, and rely on an AR application to improve and enhance that scene in a number of ways via digital overlays, just like we looked at with the example of Snapchat.
The possibilities and business opportunities are unlimited with Augmented Reality. AR tech can be used to spice up fairs, exhibits, and events; they can also be used in retail, e-commerce, communications, and so on.
AUGMENTED REALITY AND GAMING
In the game industry, augmented reality technology delivers an interactive experience of a real-world environment in which real-world elements are augmented. This ground-breaking technology has a more significant impact on gaming while also having use cases in other industries such as healthcare, fashion, and retail, marketing, education, etc. This cutting-edge technology is revolutionizing the gaming business and making a very significant contribution.
Video game creators have been putting in a lot of effort to bring the world of games closer to the players. For example, Pokémon Go, one of the most sophisticated AR games, allows players to interact with Pokémon in the real world. Players can see the real world in front of them using their smartphones. In the case of Pokémon, players might use their search for Pokémon to discover new parts of their city or new places they have never visited before. Amazing!
Because AR is still in the early stages of development, there are some limitations at the moment. Designers of video games are working to create a virtual environment that is free of defects; this virtual world will include proper direction alignment that adjusts in real-time as gamers move about. It will also figure out which part of the virtual world the player is interacting with.
AR has created technology to keep players interested and to have a real-time and fascinating experience with games.
THE FUTURE OF AR AND ITS USE CASES.
With Augmented Reality software in full swing, it will impact the devices we use the most, particularly smartphones. Smartphones will converge with glasses and headsets in the future. Everything you do now on your phones, such as tweeting, uploading your Instagram, and so on, will be done with AR glasses via motion and gesture detection.
All of our senses, including touch, hearing, and sight, will be merged into next-generation AR gadgets, which will have a larger field of view and show information practically anywhere inside the user’s peripheral vision. The technology for motion gestures will also improve. Instead of typing an address into your GPS, you will be able to point to a spot and obtain instructions automatically, or you will be able to look at an object or building and receive information about it without knowing its name.
Some of the Use cases of AR include:
FASHION AND RETAIL
*Sephora: a French multinational retailer of personal care and beauty products, has a mobile app with a feature called the Virtual Artist that has been used by consumers over 45million times, this app allows customers to experiment on several lipstick shades using their front camera. People who like what they see can put it in their virtual shopping cart and purchase it using their phones.
*IKEA Place app allows users to view 3D models of precise life-size objects and how they would appear in their customers’ homes.
Have you ever gone shopping and fallen in love with something fantastic on display but you just aren’t sure how it will look in reality? Augmented Reality (AR) technology in smartphones will allow you to aim your camera at any item, log the information that the tech needs and see AR photographs of models or even you wearing the clothing to see how it will fit you after purchase. With this you can then make an informed and visual decision without having to even enter the store or make use of the changing room. In short, it saves a whole bunch of time traveling, parking, shopping, queuing and using the changing rooms.
Using textbooks, papers, hand-outs, pamphlets and posters in schools to study from can consume lots of time for students let alone have some negative environmental implications but even this may now be a thing of the past or at least minimised to an option. Educational materials will be digitized and available at any time. With augmented reality, courses may even be taken using a gaming style! This will provide more people with access to education and certainly provide much higher level of student participation and engagement with the course subject.
Arts and geology students may no longer participate in field trips, museums, or art galleries since AR will bring the museum and art gallery to you and make it available at any time. Now it has to be said that there is real and intrinsic value in an actual experience of our natural world and fine arts first hand. But there are times where, dictated by certain logistics such as cost, distance, a persons physical ability or simply time, that these visits are just not viable options. There are times where a families financial situation may lead to a student being segregated from those that can afford an expensive international trip arranged by their school or college. This can be negated with AR. Imagine regardless of finances that all can visit the Mona Lisa by entering a classroom with just a little clear wall space. These are only a few of the potential applications of augmented reality in education, and it will undoubtedly transform the educational process.
As a result of COVID-19, schools were closed across the whole world. By allowing the materials in textbooks to come to life, AR can assist parents and teachers in making the learning process a pleasant and intriguing experience. For example, suppose a student is reading about the compiled speeches of Barak Obama or any other historical event. In that case, they can use their smartphone camera to capture a lifelike representation of Obama presenting those speeches during that occasion.
This technology can also benefit students studying remotely; say they are learning a subject tough to grasp, AR can help. Let’s imagine a medical student researching a particular human heart or brain component. Print and video materials will not be as useful as AR since they do not provide the same level of immersion and interactivity. They may employ Augmented Reality to acquire a vivid representation of whatever they’re learning, which no textbook can do.
AR may provide visual demonstrations or consumer scanning functionality to assist patients in understanding the benefits and hazards of certain medications and treatments. It can also assist doctors by making realistic gaming simulations of how to operate and providing a very intuitive portrayal of the human body to the medical students.
Security and Safety
Security and Safety is one of the areas AR may be applicable by giving detailed 3D maps of locations where a rescue mission is needed, also providing first responders with the most information possible before they start their rescue attempt or during their rescue crystal clear vision of their environment during a heavy rain or snow storm. How about training and helping employees who operate machinery on-site within the manufacturing and construction industries? There you can see other significant positive impacts on safety and a reduction in time to train. Clearly it far supersedes any textbooks’ ability to impart that information.
Entertainment & Gaming
The entertainment business is thriving because of mobile gaming apps like Pokemon Go, allowing users to catch Pokemon using their cellphones’ cameras. AR transforms the user’s environment into an interactive game environment. The user is absorbed in the game due to this, giving gaming a whole new level. Augmented Reality places characters in real-time situations and adds to the game’s natural feel. Pokemon Go’s have also made the game realistic to users’ real-world surroundings by allowing users to only locate particular Pokemon in their native habitat which adds to the excitement of the game.
TECHNOLOGY OF CONVENIENCE
With the above-listed use cases, it is no doubt that AR will be the new technology of convenience to humans. Consider Last year, due to COVID-19, there was lockdown, movement and traveling were restricted, and everyone was confined to their houses, and even vacations were cut off due to lockdowns. Despite these impediments, AR/VR technology has allowed people worldwide to visit new countries, towns, museums, and restaurants without leaving their homes.
AR/VR has enabled businesses and organizations to provide innovative consumer experiences. Although People are returning to their usual normal way of life as immunization rates increase, AR/VR experiences like virtual tourism (which is a more sustainable, economical, and time-sensitive alternative to traditional traveling) are here to stay.
The whole world may experience another lockdown and restriction in movement due to what is being referred to as the arrival of the new OMICRON variant, but AR is here to cater for many setbacks that any further lockdowns may bring to our daily way of life.
AUGMENTED REALITY AND BLOCKCHAIN
Logging on to the web to download any digital files, say a digital art, for example, is easy but it is difficult to tell whether the downloaded digital art is the original unique copy or just a copy.
Blockchain allows the design of theft-proof unique assets that cannot be reproduced, which helps to safeguard intellectual property. NFT’s that are making waves on the internet is a classic example. Blockchain gives developers, creators of digital assets in AR and even VR the ability to provide virtual assets with unique distinct features – and thus a value.
Blockchain will allow digital content creators to produce and sell AR content by preventing copyright infringement by assigning a unique identifying code.
A good case study is what Lampix Technology does in this scenario by merging the blockchain, Augmented Reality, and machine vision to track virtual data between consumers and cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Companies are now combining blockchain technology with Augmented Reality and with Virtual Reality in some cases to market virtual assets such as virtual real estate and also explore other opportunities.
Companies are now adopting and investing in AR. One of the notable companies in Apple which have shown interest in Augmented Reality. Apple has acquired Metaoi in 2015, a company that specializes in augmented reality software. Also, the latest iPhone models (the iPhone 8, 8 plus, and X) are all powered by A11 bionic circuits, which are robust and AR-friendly.
According to Apple’s Official Website, Apple has 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.
The corporation is working on wireless specifications that will allow users to overlay digital material in the natural environment. With LiDAR technology on the iPhone 12 Pro, Apple has already made gains in AR technology on the iPhone and iPad. One crucial development in the AR industry will be the coming of Apple’s AR headset in 2022. As rumoured, the device could support both Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), as well as micro-OLED displays.
AR is here to stay and capable and will surely revolutionize the future, and many companies are taking up all opportunities to capitalize on all of the benefits. Because of Augmented Reality, all of our everyday duties will become redundant in the future. If you’re bored with your work, for example, there will be various immersive entertainment options to spice it up. The office, as you know it, may no longer exist. Your office, meetings, computer, and other resources will be accessible from anywhere on the planet, removing the need to commute or at least providing companies with this alternative for their employees.
This is just the beginning of the real world meeting the virtual world in many exciting ways. Funganomics see this as an integral part of our company expansion whilst relishing the opportunities it provides to consumers and businesses to interact in ways that would have not have been possible before.