Augmented reality is by no means a new term, having been invented and coined way back in 1968 by Harvard computer scientist Ivan Sutherland. During a more recent surge of development alongside virtual reality though, there has been increasing excitement regarding its potential. Enough to convince big companies to risk investing their products and future on it, with many others steadily following suit.
What Is Augmented Reality?
In simple terms, augmented reality (AR) is any digital information or media, such as text, pictures, videos, or 3D objects, etc, that are super-imposed over reality using some sort of device. It differs from virtual reality (VR) in that the real world is still visible, though “augmented” with this new hologram-like information. Technically this can be achieved with a smart phone or tablet, but ultimately, the idea is to use glasses, headsets, or perhaps even contact lenses, to make it fully immersive, and hands-free.
How Is AR Being Used?
Though games like Pokémon Go were amongst the first to bring AR into the spotlight, in more recent times, it has been social media apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok that have been utilising AR to the most popular effect. Offering a range of different AR filters and lenses for pictures and videos taken by camera, fun AR games and activities for users to enjoy, as well as commercial features to promote real-world products and businesses, these apps have created the steppingstones for many others to follow.
Otherwise, as a practical tool AR has gained huge interest, and is already being integrated in multiple industries and other aspects of society and technology.
What Are The Consumer Benefits?
Depending on the need, AR has a huge number of benefits for the average everyday person. These include:
- AR virtual stores
Shopping online will become an engaging and interactive experience, with shoppers able to peruse items and products in exciting new ways.
- AR Entertainment & Live Events
Holographic entertainment in your living room, like games, movies, music concerts, sports, and other live events.
- AR Devices
Common devices such phones, TVs, and computers, could eventually be replaced by AR versions. This will save space in the home, as well as completely replace our current mobile technology, making it ever more convenient and practical.
- 3D Entertainment
3D movies and videos will be particularly spectacular and entertaining to watch, with AR greatly amplifying the effect.
- AR Navigation
Navigation will likely become one of the most popular and common uses for AR.
What Are The Commercial Benefits?
Likewise, the benefits for AR in businesses and advertising are huge, and include:
- Greater brand awareness and advertising
- An exciting appeal to the public
- Potential for better customer support
- Offers new doors and avenues for innovation and profit
Is It The Future?
The short answer is, probably yes. Very soon, AR devices, like glasses, will become more affordable and widely available. From communication and social media interaction to online shopping and product advertising, to education, and the way we work, create, and enjoy entertainment and gambling online, everything is likely going to change in a big way.