Augmented Reality (AR) is the integration of direct or indirect view of digital information, such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data, with the user’s environment in real-time. Picture the “Iron Man” or “Minority Report” style of interactivity.
While Virtual Reality (VR) is the creation of a complete artificial environment, Augmented Reality uses the user’s existing environment and overlays digital information on top of it.
Augmented Reality is the buzzword nowadays. The technology of Augmented Reality has evolved from Virtual Reality. It has been around in some form for years, for example, the heads-up display in many fighter planes as far back as the 1990s have been showing information of some sort.
The evolution of Augmented Reality has caused a shift in the approach towards various businesses. Augmented Reality made sure that you no longer have to consider the technologies you awed at Science fiction movies as a distant dream.
Last year Pokemon GO created a sensation with the use of Augmented Reality. It became a turning point not only for Nintendo but also for the future of the technology in mobile apps.
Various apps and Startups using Augmented Reality technology have cropped up. Let’s see in detail some of the AR apps and startups which made perfect use of the technology.
E-Commerce: It is one domain where the user had some restraints in buying things as it may or may not look perfect. The advantage in brick and mortar shops is that they can have trial use of the apparel or products. To counter that, Caratlane and Lenskart took the help of the AR technology and came up with a virtual trial room. Here users can test the product, how it looks on them before buying. This proved to be a massive success and gave a trust to the users to buy from these sites.
Furniture: IKEA adapted this technology and released an app through which users can see what potential furniture may look like in their living room, bedroom, or any other desired area. The app conveniently saves the user a trip to the store or an accompanying headache that goes hand-in-hand with discovering the user had the wrong dimensions all along.
Social Apps: Inclusion of the Augmented Reality technology served as a USP for Snapchat and made it a huge success. It went on to become the first Augmented Reality social media platform. The various funny and intriguing filters made the app much more popular than its counterparts.
Gaming: In terms of popularizing the technology, the gaming industry takes away all the credit. Niantic came up with the game Ingress, which integrated Augmented Reality with Geolocation services. This is the company which gave the recent sensation Pokemon GO. Apart from the much known Pokemon GO, there are various games like Kickball AR Soccer, AR Zombies etc., Augmented Reality makes the games engaging, ensuring the players stay in it for a longer time.
Education: Star Chart is a free app when opened on the user’s Android or iOS device and pointed at the sky, will inform of what stars or planets the user is currently facing. It also has a feature called Time Shift, which allows the user to move up to 10,000 years forward or backward in time to see where the stars once were or will be.
The Travel industry: It has a huge potential with the integration of Augmented Reality. Word lens was an app which proved to be a real game changer in terms of travel. Word lens has now been integrated into the Google Translate app and not available anymore as a standalone app. It helps in the real-time translation of the name boards and various other elements and so one can travel on their own without any help from the local or help themselves from embarrassment. Apart from this, there are AR browsers such as Layar and Wikitude, which help in incorporating the real world elements in the search criteria to give better results.
Augmented Reality in Mobile app development is the next big thing. With so many affordable VR head gears and glasses available, it is high time to see the shift. Last year, Mark Zuckerberg had announced that Facebook’s working on Augmented Reality glasses. This might sure make the Augmented Reality gears mainstream and hence promoting innumerable development in the sector. This will serve as a service or value differentiator to many products to gain an edge over the competitors.
At Mallow Technologies, we have extensively worked with geo-location based apps. Including Augmented Reality Technology might just uplift the experience of the apps. And we are currently in the process of adopting some AR technology into some of the products we are working on.