virtual and augmented reality

Back to the Future of VR&AR

What was regarded futuristic at the time the famous trilogy was filmed, now becomes a part of everyday reality - augmented or virtual.
The Future is Today
Though we still cannot ride those levitating boards from Back To The Future in 2015, today world has a lot to offer. Having a look at some modern technologies, Marty and Doc would be quite impressed. Moreover, even a decade ago you wouldn't believe that such cool high techs as augmented reality and virtual reality would be all over. You may even not noticed that yet, but they are really taking over. According to Markets and Markets estimations, just in 2 years these systems will reach 1.06 billion USD.

Both systems have the remarkable ability to alter users perception of the world. The difference is the perception of self presence. While virtual reality leaves you blind to the current world and makes you feel you are somewhere else, augmented reality actually tries to adjust to your current surrounding. Sounds cool, doesn't it? But what's in it to us, how can we use these technologies not for fun only, but for business?
Marty and Doc would definitely like to know how the VR helmets and AR apps help businesses drive sales and engage customers
Virtually anything
Let's have a closer look at virtual reality, or simply VR, first. It is an artificial, digital simulation or recreation of a real life environment of situation. It give users a feeling of first-hand experience of simulated reality via stimulating their vision and hearing. VR is typically achieved by a set of special equipment accessing your eyes and ears. The magic canvas behind it is VRML(Virtual Reality Modeling Language) code, which enables coders to create series of images, and outcomes of specific interactions with those images.

The most popular brand in this segment is, of course, Oculus Rift, acquired by Facebook. Its announcement of public launch in 2016 blew up minds of gamers all over the world. However, it can be used not only for games. Basically there are two directions of VR use. First one is entertainment including playing games and watching 3D movies. Another one is simulation of some certain environment for professional training. Such approach may be successfully used for training pilots, drivers and etc.
Virtual Mall: shopping online and window-shopping will soon become one
IT industry leaders already confirmed strong interest for VR technology development. One of the examples is Japanese Rakuten, local version of Amazon, which invested in startup. This virtual fitting room enables online shoppers to visualize how an item would look on them. In order to do so, they input data like their weight and age. Another example comes from fashion world, where VR and AR have greatest potential. Tommy Hilfiger used help of Dutch startup WeMakeVR to let their store visitors see its runway shows with headsets, and of course, shop chosen items straight away.
Don't like bleak reality? Augment it!
Unlike the overwhelming virtual reality, augmented reality (AR) layers digital enhancements atop an existing reality. It blends computer generated components into the real world, but both can be seen apart easily.

Among corporations interested in AR is LEGO, who introduces and Augmented Reality Kiosk called Lego Digital Box. It helps customers visualise the final product to help them make the decision to buy it. They hold up the box towards the screen in store and here it is, AR application shows them the finished version.

Remember how Marty was shocked?
It's going to be before long we'll see augmented reality in holograms, visible even without special gadgets like Google Glass or smartphone apps.
AR technology has already been implemented into many apps. Its use grows quite rapidly, as it shifts marketing strategies to a whole new level. Those who largely do digital advertising, view AR as an ideal way of delivering persuasive messages to a technological minded audience. Talking about advantages of augmented reality marketing may be hard, as the technology is relatively new marketing tool, and there is no long-term statistics.
Google Glass was ahead of its time - and misunderstood by many. However, this kind of future is not really far away.
First of all, it adds personalisation element into a marketing strategy. Customers upload their own content and see AR being applied to their own reality. Also, the technology is considered to be the "latest thing", which helps to attract such an important segment as early adopters. Ability to share content online contributes to socialisation, and its usability makes it accessible and attractive for users, who want to create multimedia products without writing a single line of code. Last but not least, companies using AR benefit from larger engagement as its interactive elements create unforgettable customer experience. Persuading is major aim of marketing, it makes customers feeling excited about the purchase.

No doubts, AR and VR surely gain their place in marketing toolset. We believe that in quite close future they will be integral parts of our everyday lives. Don't know about you, but we do feel that the future is already here.
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