Augmented Reality Virtual Reality 

Is Virtual eCommerce a Reality?

Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have been the stuff of dreams since shows like Star Trek first introduced us to the idea of having our very own holodeck. In more recent years that dream has started to materialise, with big players like Samsung, Facebook, Google and HTC all forging ahead with bringing us personal AR and VR technology.

VR’s Rapid Growth

2016 was probably the biggest year for AR and VR with many products either being released into the consumer market or being announced for upcoming release. What happened in 2016 changed the way people thought about technology like this. It was no longer a sci-fi idea, it became a tangible product that every consumer could experience. VR is achieved through a headset that the consumer wears and is then transported to an immersive experience.

AR vs VR

AR is slightly different because digital information is superimposed onto the real world. This can also be achieved via a headset, but is less immersive than a VR headset as the user will still be able to see their real world surroundings. The best part about AR is that most people can experience it right now, as your mobile phone can become the tool to achieve the experience. This makes AR more accessible for most people but companies like Google and Samsung have been developing low cost VR headsets to use in conjunction with your mobile phone to achieve the immersive VR experience.

Once realisation spread that everyone can experience this new technology at a reasonable cost, the buzz around VR and AR grew. Consumers are now poised and ready for the technology to be integrated into their everyday life. This change in behaviour from consumers has forced manufacturers of these devices to deliver high quality, cost effective products and has also made businesses think about how they can incorporate the technology into their strategies to keep up with consumer demand.

VR in eCommerce

Two decades ago when ecommerce really took off, many big companies like Walmart in the U.S. and BHS in the UK, didn’t pay enough attention to the shift in consumer behaviour. As a result, these huge companies lost millions to smaller online businesses like Amazon and EBay, at the same time. What happened back then should be used as a lesson for today as companies need to consider how they can integrate AR and VR into their business.

Already brands like Ikea are leading the way by offering virtual showrooms for their furniture. It’s a simple idea where consumers can put on a VR headset and be amongst their products. Whether that be a kitchen where consumers can open drawers and change colour schemes or a lounge suite where they can rearrange the layout. Other markets are also jumping on the opportunity such as clothing brand Converse, where using AR technology, consumers can try on digital shoes to see if they like the way they look.

B2B Businesses Using VR

The possibilities are endless, all it takes is a little bit of creative thinking to showcase your products through AR and VR. For B2B businesses the possibilities are the same as the consumer market, albeit less glamorous and maybe less exciting, but still just as relevant. For example, a business  such as Reid Brothers UK who sell tools for stainless steel banding or plastic strapping could use AR to showcase the different sizes of the tools. However, a big issue for a lot of companies who use these products is finding tools that can be operated in small spaces in warehouses where the goods are packed. AR could be used to see if a certain tool could be used in a tight space or at an awkward angle. Less fun than trying on a pair of converse but the benefits are exactly the same.

The technology doesn’t stop there. A supermarket in China called Yihaodian opened 1000 digital stores across the country overnight. These digital stores were placed in prime locations like famous tourist landmarks and in front of rival supermarkets. These stores were completely invisible to the naked eye, but open up the Yihaodian ecommerce app on your phone and you can walk around the digital store viewing products like you normally would in a physical shop.

These digital stores added an extra 12% revenue to the supermarkets books. This idea takes the AR concept one step further but is a fantastic way to showcase the power of AR and if nothing else, it creates a whole lot of free advertising because everyone around the world couldn’t stop taking about it.

Yihaodian shows us the power of ecommerce and how the need for having a physical store is becoming less every day. The AR and VR revolution is probably not going to have the same impact the internet did but it will still stir things up. It is so important for businesses to be looking towards the future and start thinking about how they can keep up with what is current and what the consumers demand. The future can either be an exciting opportunity for your business or it can be what drives you out of business. It’s your choice what the future has in store, so choose wisely.

 

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Augmented Reality 

Overlay Goodness: Three Best AR Apps for Your Phone

Augmented reality is a new and fun way to enhance things that are usually pretty mundane. It serves to add an extra layer of specialness to what you do. Once again, augmented reality is the superimposition of digital images or information into real life view (as seen through computer screens or phone screens).  Today, we look at the three best AR Apps for your phone!

Ink Hunter

Ever wanted a tattoo but was not quite sure how it would look like? Ink Hunter saves you the trouble of having to wonder and sit with indecision. Available for both Android and iOS users, it offers a gamut of designs. The users can choose any premade design or even upload one of their own designs.

The way it works is that you choose the design and superimpose it unto the body part of your choosing. It then takes a photo of that particular body part with the very real looking tattoo. Through the years, this app has gone through several renovations. It used to offer only black and white designs.

The more recent updates now allow colored tattoos to be featured as well. This is a truly helpful tool for those still struggling with what kind of tattoo goes on certain parts of the body. You can now even choose the specific diameters or angles of the tattoo making it more realistic when superimposed on the body. The best part about this app is the fact that is it completely FREE.

AR MeasureKit

Have you ever needed to make fast measurements but did not have the tools on hand? This app exists just for that purpose. While most augmented reality apps go toward being entertaining, the AR MeasureKit actually exists to be utilitarian.

While the free version only has a simple ruler that is capable of measuring length, the paid version will grant you all the tools in the menu. The price is at $3 which is fairly reasonable for a fully functional measuring tool in your pocket. This is particularly true for budding architects and homemakers who want a convenient way to measure a variety of things. So far, it is only available in iOS.

Google Translate

This is we have to say, a massive favorite for several of us. Completely free and available for both Android and iOS, this app is particularly useful for those who like to travel. Everyone is familiar with how Google Translate works on the browser.

The augmented reality app works in real-time. All anyone would have to do is to hold up their phone and have the app analyze any particular written text and would automatically translate it to a variety of languages. The user can choose their particular language and be treated to a real-time, highly useful translation. Never feel lost while on the road in a foreign country again!

To close, these augmented reality apps offer for their users. It only goes to show that when you make good software, the possibilities and applications are limitless!

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Augmented Reality 

The Three Things in Your Life That Augmented Reality Will Completely Transform

There has been some confusion regarding augmented reality and virtual reality. Today, we take a closer look at augmented reality and the four things in your life that it will transform. Most people do not see the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality. They, however, are as different as night and day are.

Augmented Reality

The concept of augmented reality is about bringing out images or information into our world through a medium like a screen or a phone. We see this more popularly through apps that consumers use for social media or games.

The way it differs from virtual reality is that augmented reality no longer requires the often bulky headsets. While the experience is not as immersive as it is with virtual reality, it serves to overlay what we see with our eyes with an addition. For example, if you were to use an augmented reality application like those dog face filters in Snapchat, you would be able to see your face have a digital layer over it.

With that out of the way, let us take a look at three things in your life that AR will transform:

Furnishings/Room Layouts

Augmented reality is now being used by home designers, architects, and even furniture companies. As such, instead of having to mentally visualize how certain pieces or layouts would work in your home you get to see it with your own eyes. There are now apps and other software that makes use of augmented reality.

This kind of software superimposes pieces of furniture over an empty space. You will be able to change the color, the way it is facing, and even the angles. So it is actually going to look like it is right there in front of you. The program will also include the dimensions, materials, and price of the piece. This way you can better plan how your space is going to look.

Entertainment

Like mentioned earlier, augmented reality has really enhanced user experiences for gaming. There are now games like Pokemon Go that dominated the AR usage market. There are also games for Nintendo that utilizes AR like their built-in games on the 3DS XL.

As the technology for the games will continue to improve through the years, you should not be shocked if in a few years from now, we will be able to play games like volleyball in the comfort of your bedroom.

Navigation

Right now, we are still reliant of GPS or navigation apps to give us audible instructions when navigating roads. However, Augmented Reality is aiming to change the way we navigate. The goal is to present the information right on either the dashboard or the windshield of the vehicle. That way, users have a clear and visual presentation of info like building names or street names. The route could also be presented.

In closing, augmented reality is going to impact everyone’s lives in a way that was not possible before. Both augmented reality and virtual reality are there to enhance the way we do things and it will only get better from here.

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