Now a days, people are very much fond of creating their own virtual or say an imaginary world. In this ever changing trend of technology, the level of expectation that we people are having for the required facility is really very high.
Today’s world believe that we should reach to the very far place even by sitting at our own home or our own place. This simply means that people now a days highly believe in creating their virtual effect or they think that they are actually at the place they wish to be but in actual they are not present at that place. Hence, this works as an illusion for all of us.
For performing all such tasks and creating all such reality the concept of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) came into existence in the original world.
Now let us understand both these concepts one by one in a detailed manner from its origin upto its usage in current world and its advantages and disadvantages. Along with that we will also see their effects, opportunities, and challenges faced by both these augmented reality and virtual reality in this present world.
Now the question arises that what is an augmented reality (AR) and how it works?
- Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect view of the physical, real-world environment, whose components are “enhanced” by computer-generated or real-world sensory inputs such as sound, video, graphics, haptics or GPS data.
It is associated with a more common concept known as a computer-mediated reality, in which the reality view by computer is modified (potentially decreasing rather than accumulating).
Augmented reality enhances one’s current perception of reality. Augmented reality is used in order to enhance the experienced environments or situations and to offer enriched experiences.
Originally or say initially, the immersive augmented reality experiences were used in only fields such as entertainment and game businesses, but now a days, other business industries are also getting interested about AR’s possibilities for example in it is now also used in fields like knowledge sharing, educating, managing the information flood and organizing distant meetings. Augmented reality has a lot of potential or energy in order to gather and share the tacit knowledge.
Augmentation techniques or methods are typically performed or operated in real time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as overlaying supplemental information like scores over a live video feed of a sporting event.
“Augmented reality is the amalgamation or say combination of digital information with the user’s environment in real time. Augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it.”
Fig. 1.1 Headset computer
With the help of an advanced augmented reality technology the information about the human surroundings that is the real world of the user becomes more and more interactive and digitally can also be manipulated. Information about the environment and its objects is overlaid on the real world.
This information can be either virtual or real, for example, actual revelation or metering information such as electromagnetic radio waves, where they are actually in place, are in a particular alignment. The growing reality brings out the world of digital world in the perceived real world of a person.
One example is an AR Helmet for construction workers which display information about the construction sites. Augmented Reality is also transforming or say changing the world of education, where an available content may be accessed by scanning or viewing an image with a mobile device.
This was a simple definition and a small introduction about the trending technology named as an “Augmented Reality”. Now let us know about the emergence and history of augmented reality in the world.
Fig. 1.2 Vuzix AR3000 AugmentedReality SmartGlasses
Augmented reality can be a such a technology that would be new to some, but the term has actually been around since the 1990s. While it is unclear as when AR was first used, the credit regarding the search of AR is given to Professor Tom Caudell from Boeing Computer Services in Seattle. He was experimenting or say searching for a new way to help the manufacturing process and began to use some virtual reality technology and came up with a complex piece of software as a result, that had an ability to overlay the positions of where things in the building process were to be placed.
In the year 1968, a computer scientist and a Harvard associate professor Ivan Sutherland, along with the help of his student Bob Sproull, invented “The Sword of Damocles.”
Fig. 1.2.1 The Sword of Damocles
The first ever augmented reality head-mounted display system was suspended or we can say it was connected with a ceiling, and the viewer experienced computer-fed graphics — Sutherland is commonly referred to as the “Father of Graphics.”
As this was taking place at Boeing, two other teams were also making a huge strides or stalk with this latest technology. In 1992, the first Augmented Reality functioning system was introduced and was used by the US Air Force. It was popularly known as “Virtual Fixtures” which was allowed as a new method of training for pilots.
Fig. 1.2.2 Virtual Fixtures
A second group, now leading in the field of AR wrote and submitted a paper which was popularly said to be known as “KARMA”, that stands for Knowledge-based Augmented Reality for Maintenance Assistance. This was a team of people who were from Columbia University and they built an HMD that had trackers attached with it. They were dealing with a standard printer at the time and were able to show the
world around that how to load and completely service the machine without ever having to refer to any instructions. The paper was soon cited within the science community.
In 1997, a person named Ronald T. Azuma out-sourced “A Survey of Augmented Reality” that examined varied uses of augmented reality such as medical, manufacturing, research, mechanical operation and entertainment, etc.
Fig. 1.2.3 AR in daily life
Until year 1999, Augmented Reality was not used widely or even was not much understood. The reason for this could be that
there were complicated software programs and bulky equipment that were needed which was not that easy to understand. However, things changed drastically or at a very large scale when Hirokazu Kato from the Nara Institute of Science and Technology, released a very unique piece of software or program called the ARToolKit. This software allowed for video capture tracking of real world actions and combined that actions with the interactions of virtual objects. This could all be experienced with a simple handheld device just like a camera and an internet connection. This lead or resulted as to what users now see when they access any flash based AR application, all made possible by the ARToolKit.
In 2000, Bruce Thomas from Wearable Computer Lab, gave a demo regarding the very first outdoor mobile augmented reality video game. The game was the first to allow players to walk around without the use of a joystick or handheld controller. The first game was called ARQuake and all that was needed was a computer backpack and gyroscopes. This allowed users to simply flip down a head-mounted display and see a completely different view of the game based on their current physical location.
A few years later in 2008, the first AR applications were offered as a platform on smart phones, where people all over the world could enjoy the latest and the trending technology. The first application was for Android users and that allowed them to use their mobile phone cameras to see different augmentations on the screen indicating points of interest. This facility was very soon offered on the iPhone and launched as a navigation application which was referred to as “Wikitude Drive”. New developments and daily possible updates are constantly being made as video game companies and software providers are using this form of technology every day to deliver the best and most realistic experiences to any user.
Below mentioned are some more examples of a trending technology that we are discussing that is an Augmented Reality.
Fig. 1.2.4 Merchlar’s Mobile Game
Augment SDK offers brands and retailers the capability to personalize their customer’s shopping experience by embedding AR product visualization into their e-Commerce platforms.
Fig. 1.2.5 AR for visualization
LandForm video map overlay marking runways, road, and buildings during 1999 helicopter flight test
Fig. 1.2.6 Landform Video Map
- Applications of AR
- Augmented Reality in 3D viewers:
This allows users to put life-size 3D models in their environment with or without the use of trackers. Trackers are the simple images that 3D models can be linked to in Augmented Reality.
Examples: AUGMENT, Sun Seeker, etc.
Fig. 1.3.1 Augment
Augment is a tool that allows its users to see their products in 3D effect in a real-life environment and in real-time through tablets or smart phones or any other device to drive sales and improve user engagement. This application is available on both, iOS and Android platform. This app can be used for Retail, E-Commerce, Architecture, and other purposes also. Augment allows retailers and manufacturers to connect with each other and thereby enable the online shoppers to experience the products sitting at home before buying. Customers can view the images in 3D by rotating them and viewing all the augmented content before deciding to buy. It has plenty of customers, companies such as Coca-Cola, Siemens, Nokia, Nestle, and Boeing are using this application.
Sun-Seeker is an AR application which provides a flat compass view and also a 3D view showing the solar path, its hour intervals, its equinox, winter and summer solstice paths, sunrise and sunset times, twilight times, magic hours and also a Map view which shows a solar direction for each daylight hour. The application runs on both the mediums that is an Android and an iOS. The application has got 3 plus ratings from its users. The application is perfect for –
- Photographers – They can plan an ideal light conditions, sunrise or sunset directions, golden and blue hour times.
- Cinematographers – They can use it to search for the exact exposure of Sun, directions and times for any location.
- Real Estate Buyers – They can use it to search for the sun exposure properties that the customers are considering.
- Drivers – Helps them to find how long the car will remain in the shade at any parking spot
- Campers – To find where to camp, sit or pitch an umbrella
- Gardeners – Helps them to search for ideal locations for planting and seasonal sunlight hours
- Architects – Helpful for visualizing the spatial variability of the solar angle throughout the year.
Fig. 1.3.2 3D View Using AR
- Augmented Reality in Browsers:
The AR browsers can enhance users camera display with a contextual information. For example, when one points a smart phone at a building, then he or she can see its history or estimated value.
Examples: Argon4, AR Browser SDK, etc.
Argon4 allows any 3D view of reality to be augmented. Developers are able to make their own custom views of reality, anything which displays or shows a view of the world can be built into a reality for Argon. Argon4 browser is having much similarity to a normal web browser which allows multiple pages to be loaded into different tabs but it handles the case of multiple AR apps in a special way.
- AR Browser SDK:
This is a browser created by AR Lab. This browser help users to add augmented reality’s geo-location view to the Android or an iOS application in less than 5 minutes. With user-friendly API (Application Programming Interface), it can be fully customized. The framework takes care of all the complex functions of the augmented reality browser.
Fig. 1.3.3 3D View Using Argon4
- Augmented Reality Games:
AR Gaming software is probably the most common type of App. These apps create mesmeric gaming experiences that use your actual surroundings.
Examples: Pokémon Go, Parallel Kingdom, Temple Treasure Hunt, Real Strike, Zombie Go, etc.
- Pokemon Go:
Fig. 1.3.4 Pokemon Go
The most popular AR game till today is Pokémon Go which allow users to catch virtual Pokémon that are hidden throughout the map of the real world. It takes help of real locations to encourage players to far and wide in the real world to discover Pokemon. The game enables the players to search and catch more than a hundred species of Pokemon as they move in their surroundings. The app works on both the mediums i.e., Android and iOS.
- REAL STRIKE:
This is a popular shooting AR game which is available only on iOS. The users get a real life shooting experience in this game and can record their fights and also create their own videos. There is a pool which has been polluted by nuclear waste and a group of pests is just around the corner so players have to stop them infecting the earth. Users use their phone to scan the mark.The game offers night and thermal vision goggles to get a clear view even in the evening to complete your mission.
- This is the world’s first ever Augmented Reality First-Person-Shooting app.
- The game is Ranked 1st in U.S. and China during the limited free offering.
- Best ranked top 50 in U.S. and top 10 in Japan and Germany.
- The game has got 3+ ratings on Apple Store.
- This is the first ever AR shooting movie maker that allows or help users to make a fun video or take a snapshot.
- It provides extremely high-precision gun models with 8000 vertices on average.
- Augmented Reality GPS:
AR applications in smartphones generally include Global Positioning System (GPS) to spot the user’s location and its compass to detect device orientation.
Examples: AR GPS Compass Map 3D, AR GPS Drive/Walk Navigation, etc.
- AR GPS Drive/Walk Navigation
The application makes use of the smartphone’s GPS and camera to execute a car navigation system with
an augmented reality-powered technology. It is easier and safer than the normal navigation system for the driver. This application is available only on Android.
This app guides the drivers directly by the virtual path of the camera preview video which makes it easy for them to understand. The drivers do not need to map the map the path and the road while using this app. The driver can see the real-time camera preview navigation screen to get driving condition without hindering his safety.
- AR GPS Compass Map 3D:
The app shows a 3D compass that gets fused with the camera image and shows your current location from GPS on a separate map with adjustable size. The app can only run on Android interface. The compass uses a very effective amalgamation and filtering algorithm to combine the values of the magnetic field sensor, the accelerometer, and the gyroscope to get the maximum accuracy and stability which is a different feature as compared to other apps.
The users can define their own waypoints if they want. The app also allows the users to share their current location and the locations of their waypoints with their friends. The app also features a 3D stereoscopic view of the compass and the camera image on devices which have LG’s Real 3D technology.
Fig. 1.3.5 Navigation and compass using AR
- Virtual Reality
Along with the emergence of an Augmented Reality the other concept or technology which came into market or which came into existence is said to be known as “Virtual Reality”.
Virtual reality (VR) is kind of a computer technology that uses virtual reality headsets or multi-projected environments, which is sometimes in the combination with the physical environments or props, to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate any user’s physical presence in a virtual or imaginary environment.
Fig. 2.1 VR for game playing
A person who is using a virtual reality equipment is able to “look around” the artificial world, and with the help of high quality VR move around in it and interact with virtual features or items. The effect is commonly created by VR headsets that consists of ahead-mounted display with a small screen in front of the user’s eyes, but can also be created through specially designed rooms with multiple large screens.
VR systems that include transmission or passing of vibrations and other sensations to the user through a game controller or other devices are known as perception systems. This tactile information is generally said to be known as force feedback in medical, video gaming and military training applications.
Fig. 2.2 VR for fun and training
Virtual reality also refers to a remote communication environments that provide a virtual presence of users with through tele-presence and tele-existence or the use of a virtual artifact (VA). The immersive environment can be as same as to that of the real world in order to create a life-like experience grounded in reality. Augmented reality systems may also be considered as a form or part of VR that layers virtual information over a live camera feed into a headset, or through a smart phone or tablet device.
Fig. 2.3 VR View
In Pygmalions Spectacles, Stanley G. Weinbaum explains a goggle based game in which individuals can watch a holographic recording of virtual stories including touch and smell. This amazing vision of the future would actually turn into what we think of as virtual-reality today. While it’s difficult to introduce touch and smell elements into the average virtual-reality experience, these are visions that creators have in mind for the very near future of virtual-reality experiences. It’s amazing to think that 85+ years ago, people were already thinking about creating simulation experiences using technology. We still think of these types of plans as we look towards the future of VR. With rapidly changing technology however, these improvements to the VR simulation experience may be far closer than decades away.
VR headsets actually started development in the 1960s. Just 30 years from the original thought of a VR headset, Ivann Sutherland created the very first VR headset for use with military applications. Using a specialized military software as well as a motion control platform, the first VR headsets were designed for use in training exercises. These VR training tools have now become the standard in the military for training for flight exercises, combat situations and more.
Fig. 2.2.1 View Using VR Headset
An immersive experience is definitely required to push military personnel and prepare them in a safe training environment before they enter into the field. Many air forces around the world require an extensive amount of VR training simulations before they will even let a pilot into one of their aircraft. With the initial development using specialized software and motion controls, VR research would continue to pave the way for training in the military and beyond. Today’s military VR headsets are far more advanced, compact and immersive and these training programs as well as the technology will continue to develop a little bit faster than some of the products that we might find as regular consumers.
VR headsets begin to make their way into a few arcade games for simulations and Nintendo announced the first home VR system. Virtual Boy was one of the first home systems available for use with a widespread appeal. Sega also introduced a Sega VR headset for the Sega Genesis console in the year 1993. These wraparound prototypes had stereo sound, LCD screens and head tracking. Technical development in this VR headset doom the project and the cost of the headset was extensive making it a massive flop for Sega.
Below presented is an image of a virtual box or we can say that it is a VR headset which plays the basic and the most important role in creating the virtual effect.
Fig. 2.2.2 VR Headset
The Virtual Boy however was a 3-D game console that experienced a little more success. Virtual Boy was released in North America at a price of $180. The games were entirely made in red and black and there were only a few pieces of software available with the device. Users would wear a VR headset and control the action on a regular Nintendo controller. Unfortunately the console was very uncomfortable to use and because of the lack of games as well as the lack of color, it didn’t present the same strong sales as the other Nintendo consoles out at the time.
Oculus VR represents the latest revolution in VR technology. When Facebook officially acquired the Oculus VR system, this showed that virtual-reality was becoming a huge concern for many of the world’s top developers. Although the Oculus Rift was formed out of a kick starter campaign in 2012, the deal in 2014 represented a huge boost in their funding and confidence.
Fig. 2.2.3 Oculus VR
Later in 2015, Oculus began to acquire other companies like Surreal Vision and built partnerships with Samsung to develop the Samsung gear VR. As one of the leading companies in VR development, Oculus has fully functioning VR systems for consumers to purchase and use at home. With support for a wide range of applications and further applications being developed for specific use with their VR systems, this was a huge leap forward for VR.
After gaining international attention with the demand after the Facebook deal, this would propel many other developers into creating their own VR development firms. Oculus in a way started a brand-new VR renaissance with a call to create immersive and simulated experiences for the average consumer. Previous VR headsets were very technical and inaccessible for the average computer user, but with plug-and-play compatibility and a wide host of supported applications, Oculus gave the average consumer hope that they can enjoy VR again.
With the initial surge after Oculus Rift, companies all over the world began building their own VR headsets and producing some fantastic new tech. With so many new devices coming out from many of the world’s top manufacturers, we are seeing huge developments when it comes to apps, 360° cameras, inexpensive headsets, VR glass experiences and more. As 3-D graphics continue to get better and is processing power lines at an exponential rate, VR is becoming a focus for many developers in the future.
There are many consumer products coming out to compete with Oculus based off its demand as well as generic products for use with smart phone technology. As many smart phones have the accelerometer data, advanced soundcards and graphic sets for 3d rendering users are opting to watch 360 videos and try virtual-reality apps with their smart phone and home devices like Google Cardboard. Other users however are holding out for products like the Oculus Rift, Playstation VR and more. With all of these devices set to drop in mass circulation by the end of 2016 or the start of 2017 we are truly going to start seeing at home VR experiences which are widespread.
Below placed image shows the contains of the VR Playstation which is introduced in above information.
Fig. 2.2.4 VR Playstation
- Applications of VR
- To make going to the dentist less painful.
Dentists may soon use virtual reality to distract patients and ease their anxiety and pain. Arecent study tested 79 patients, outfitting one-third of them with a VR headset depicting a coastal scene, one-third with a VR cityscape and the remaining third with no VR at all. Patients who experienced the VR coastal scene reported having “significantly less pain” than those in the other two groups. The patients who experienced the VR city did not feel this way — it was the calming scenery that helped distract and soothe the patients, not just the VR itself.
- To train employees.
Walmart is using virtual reality to train its store employees. Partnered with virtual reality startup, STRIVR, Walmart uses virtual reality technology at its training academies to help employees experience real-world scenarios. Employees can experience a holiday rush or a mess in an aisle, and learn how to effectively respond and handle these events.
- To help paraplegics regain body functions.
A year-long study conducted by Duke University discovered huge benefits of virtual reality technology for paraplegics. Patients wearing VR headsets tasked to move through a stadium as a soccer player were able to regain some brain functions associated with moving their legs. Of the eight patients tested, each regained some control and four were upgraded from full paraplegics to partial paraplegics.
- To treat PTSD.
Traditionally, doctors use “exposure therapy” to treat the nearly 8 million adults who suffer from PTSD a year. Exposure therapy pushes patients to recount their traumas, visualize it in their imaginations and explain to the doctor what is happening as they experience the stressful scenario. Virtual reality essentially employs the same method, while utilizing headsets to create a virtual world with custom elements (for example, helicopters, machine guns and missiles may be used to customize the experience for a war veteran). The patient is then asked to narrate what is happening.
- To train medical students.
Virtual reality provides medical and dental students a safe and controlled environment to practice surgeries and procedures, allowing them to make mistakes without having any impact on an actual patient, and prepare for any unexpected situations. Performing a “hands-on” procedure and being able to interact with a virtual patient lets students develop their skills, which they can later apply to the real world.
- To treat pain.
Doctors are using “distraction therapy” through virtual reality to help people handle pain while they undergo treatments such as physical therapy. A 2011 study on military burn victims revealed that SnowWorld — a VR game that allows users to throw snowballs at penguins while listening to Paul Simon — has proven more effective than morphine in pain management. U.K. researchers in 2017 tested VR on patients undergoing dental treatments and found its use simulating a coastal scene reduced both experienced and recollected pain compared with no VR. The VR was less effective when portraying an ubran scene, however.
- To treat anxiety attacks.
More than 40 million adults in the U.S. experience anxiety. The virtual reality game Deep — “a digital version of a diaphragmatic exercise” — looks to help those individuals deal with fear and anxiety with the use of a belt that monitors breathing. The game puts the user into a natural setting and guides them through deep belly breathing exercises — calming users in about five minutes.
- To help children and teens with autism develop social skills.
Professors at the University of Texas in Dallas have created a program that uses virtual reality to help children with autism develop social skills. Putting kids, teens and young adults in social scenarios such as job interviews or blind dates with avatars, they learn how to pick up on social cues and respond appropriately. By monitoring brain waves throughout the program, professors noticed increased activity in areas connected to social understanding.
- To help in business.
Look out video chat, virtual reality is here. Businesses are beginning to employ VR in a number of ways: to reduce costs, lessen business travel, conduct interviews, give tours, forecast trends and hold meetings. Rather than traveling for a conference or meeting, or interviewing a candidate “face to face,” companies are using virtual conference rooms. Businesses that have dangerous products or are in the early stages are using VR to test safety and functionality without risking the health of employees.
- To better model architects’ designs.
Virtual reality will benefit key players in the construction space such as architects and designers. The tool allows a user to virtually inhabit spaces in three dimensions. Computer-generated images will replace hand-drawn renderings — ultimately reducing time spent reworking layouts and drawings, effectively reducing costs and increasing safety. Simulating the real world will not only allow designers to more easily create buildings and spaces — from lighting to flooring to foundations — but it will also let designers test out environments before actually building them. For example, they can realistically understand how quickly someone is able to exit the building in the case of an emergency.
- To test car safety and drive sales.
VR gives cars engineers the ability to test the safety of vehicles in a virtual setting before actually manufacturing them. Aside from the building process, large car companies such as Ford, Volvo and Hyundai use virtual reality in sales as well by having potential customers use a VR headset to test drive vehicles.
- To plan your next vacation.
You’ll soon be able to “try before you fly” destinations through virtual reality. Travelers looking to book their next trip can observe a destination, hotel or city to see what it has to offer. For example, patrons in a U.K. mall were able to experience a helicopter flight around New York City or a boat ride around the Statue of Liberty.
Till now we saw the basic information regarding two most important and upcoming or say the trending technologies that is Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). We also saw that it is helpful in various areas of our daily life making our life easy, entertaining and stress-free .
Next what we are going to see is the effects of this AR and VR on brands, its impact on the field of marketing, its challenges and opportunities, and also we will list out the future scope of this trending technologies.
- Effects of AR and VR on brand experiences
Fig. 3.1 Brand Experiences of AR and VR
- Quality improvement in content and noticeable technology for increased consumer interaction and retention
You can create outstanding content and engage your consumers on a personal level, something which was never possible earlier on. This will get you an edge in relation to the competitors.
The interactive and well designed content will get your viewers hooked to your application. Informative and creative design will retain your customers as well.
Moreover, you still have chance to harness the benefits of this new concept to surprise your consumers with something that your competitors still lack.
- Augmented reality useful for viral marketing and create brand awareness via social shares
The ‘word of mouth’ is the very old method of marketing and brand promotion. Interesting and vivid graphical content will not only draw customers and retain them for a longer duration but will also promote your application through ‘word-of-mouth’ and social media sharing.
If you succeed in creating a lasting impression on your initial viewers, then there is a guarantee that the initial viewers will pull in more new viewers by spreading the message through their valuable feedback and social media sharing. The brand awareness of your application is thus established.
- Enables users to truly connect with the published content
The, otherwise, motionless content of the advertisement becomes live boosted with more information, creating a more personalised impact on the consumers who end up purchasing your application thereby serving your purpose.
- Reduce language barriers
Nowadays we substitute the lack of face-to-face interaction on the internet with many options (videos, photos, memes, gifs, texts) to create this wish-you-were–here effect. The main purpose of advertisement is to pull in potential customers and retain the existing ones by providing them with ample information and directions about the product. However, language stands to be barrier at times. But this barrier can be easily omitted with proper application of AR and VR technology into your promotional strategies, establishing connections with engrossing graphical representations that is self explanatory as well. Therefore, augmented and virtual reality may remove this last frontier of missing the physical contact with other person. Eg: Theatre in Paris together with Atos and the French start-up Opt invent created the augmented reality solution where theatre-goers were able to see subtitles simultaneously with the theater show. This intersection of cultural events and technology is expected to spill over to other industries as well making them accessible to those who do not speak the language.
- Influences customer buying behavior
The ultimate purpose of any successful business operation is to sell off your product to the satisfying customers and influence them to turn back again and again to your product. Once potential users have been wowed by the immersive and interactive experience of VR and AR, their expectations from brands will increase. Brands that make use of such technologies creatively will set a new standard of surprise and appear in eyes of their consumers as the first choice.
- Detailed analytic generated for understanding user behavior
In Plato’s words, ‘‘Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.’’ When these three ingredients get mixed up successfully in marketing, the winning combination is created. Both augmented and virtual reality solutions make use of analytic of the web and social media to understand the consumer buying behavior which is crucial to establish your brand name and earn profit to the maximum.
- Future of AR
- AR Buy-Ins and Buy-Outs
The opportunity for innovative startups to acquire investment cash — or to get acquired, themselves — has never been better. Apple has acquired AR startup Metaio, motion-capture technology company Faceshift, artificial intelligence startup Emotient, and Google Tango app developer Flyby Media. On the other hand, AR display makerLumus Ltd. has raised over $90 million in R&D funding — a portion of that from HTC.
Both Apple and Google will continue to acquire technology startups, while smaller companies will continue investing in them. 2017 is definitely a year of opportunity for the innovative developer with a truly unique intellectual property.
- AR product support
AR-based product support is likely emerge as a new way companies serve their customers in 2017. By using information overlays, AR enables product makers to provide a new dimension to how they support their customers. AR-assisted auto repair is just one such example we will see.
- Apple goes AR
If you believe the rumors, and we do, Apple is quietly positioning itself to seize the mobile AR market. Just as Google is certain to dominate the mobile VR market through Daydream, Apple is pumping R&D dollars into AR to ensure nothing less than a balance of power on the technology front.
If Apple’s acquisition of no less than four AR-related technology companies is any indication, we can expect something at least as innovative as Daydream to come down the pipe soon. One thing is certain — Apple will not let 2017 pass without making its foray into the mobile AR space.
- Google to focus AR mobile
As the old saying goes, ‘it takes two to tango.’ Google’s partnership with Lenovo proves that may well be the case. Following Google’s development of its advanced mobile AR platform Tango, Lenovo partnered with Google to develop the first Tango-enabled smartphone, the Lenovo Phab2 Pro.
Tango shows that Google is dead serious about mobile AR. 2017 will likely see further developments in the Tango R&D lab.
Fig. 4.1 Lenovo Phab2 Pro with AR
- AR smart phones
Lenovo’s Phab2 Pro smartphone, designed around AR architecture, not only proves that Google has big plans for mobile AR, but it also stands as a shining example of how AR is merging into a native smartphone feature.
Taiwanese cellphone manufacturer Asus has already announced it will release its own Tango-enabled smartphone in 2017. We expect to see AR-centric smartphones emerge as the rule, rather than the exception, as we move toward the end of 2017.
- Automotive HUD displays
Drivers of luxury vehicles have long enjoyed heads-up displays that project speed, compass direction, alerts, and other information directly onto the windshield. Now, thanks to the increased power of the smartphone, HUDs may soon be available for the rest of us.
Companies like Hudway are already experimenting with smartphone-based HUD technology. While the power of the smartphone can manage infotainment systems, telematics platforms, and HUD displays with power to spare, we expect to see manufactures and aftermarket vendors providing dedicated HUD displays, rather than relying on the mobile device display.
Fig. 4.2 Head-Up Display with AR
- Marketing disruption
AR has been toyed with in marketing circles for some time, but the lack of viable mobile platforms has left marketeers unimpressed. The availability of AR-enabled phones opens up a whole vista of new opportunities to reach customers through immersive experiences.
Lowe’s, a major American home-improvement company, is already making AR an integral part of its marketing strategy. Using the company’s mobile AR app, customers can see what flooring, appliances, and other store products will look like in their own homes before making a purchase.
- AR chipsets
Until recently, AR developers had to rely on whatever chipsets were available that would best drive AR functionality. Along with the AR mobile device revolution must come the hardware to power it. As we move through 2017, we expect to not only see AR-centric mobile devices, but AR-centric chipsets, such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon. While the masses could hardly care less what powers the magic of their AR experience, developers will be keeping close watch on Intel, Qualcomm, AMD, and other chip makers to see what AR capabilities they build into their products.
- Mixed realities
As Google and Apple keep the VR versus AR battle going, IBM and its partners are hedging their bets and placing chips on mixed reality. IBM partners Lenovo, Dell, Acer, Asus, and HP plan to launch a headset product line that runs on Windows 10 and enables both VR and AR experiences.
Microsoft, too, is investing heavily in mixed reality. Developers are invited to purchase the HoloLens Development Edition goggles, which they can use with Microsoft’s software development kit (SDK) to innovate in the mixed reality space.
With such giants as these investing in mixed reality technology, we expect to see products and development opportunities surface in the months ahead.
- Next wave of AR headsets
The emergence of AR-centric smartphones does not mean smartglasses and AR headsets are dead. Far from it. Snapchat Spectacles have just hit the market, to the delight of Millennials, and Eversight is set to release the heads-up product for bike riders, Raptor AR smartglasses. Even startup castAR is continuing to onboard experts from Google, Playstation VR, and Activision ahead of its AR headset launch in 2017.
We can take a hint. As mobile AR platforms develop and expand into the market, we expect to see a revisiting of the AR wearables next year. But this time they will be functional and affordable.
Fig. 4.3 CastAR – AR Headset
- Expanded enterprise adoption
The availability of stable and powerful AR platforms will open the way for mobile AR to penetrate a wide swath of industries, from medicine to manufacturing. Logistics provider DHL is but one example of enterprise adopting AR for practical applications. The huge and varied market for AR solutions in industry will surge throughout 2017, spawning startups and market disruption.
- AR to overtake VR
2016 was a trying year for both VR and AR. Although VR arrived with the hardware, including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Playstation VR, AR captured the headlines with a software application, Pokemon Go. The result of that simple AR game was that we leave 2016 with millions of people around the world having personally experienced AR. Virtual reality wasn’t so lucky.
Trends suggest VR will have the advantage in gaming, and in certain industries. AR, however, will be the technology for the masses — at least till VR has its Pokemon Go moment.
- Retail to drive AR
Powerful new AR phones, along with advances in cloud technology, will cause retailers to finally embrace AR solutions. Since nearly every retail customer who walks into a store has a smartphone, it only makes sense for retailers to turn those phones into selling tools. With AR, customers can scan products to retrieve online coupons, they can follow a searchable map right to the salsa, and they can see what they would look like in a particular apparel item without trying it on.
- Advanced AR sensors
AR will not take off unless the average user can create their own AR content. Advanced sensors, such as the Canvas, coupled with advanced AR software, enable users to produce 3D models of their environment, or of objects within their environment. Of course, phones such as the Phab2 Pro will contain powerful optical capabilities, but there will be a growing need for specialized external cameras and optical scanning devices as AR-enabled phones become commonplace.
- Future of VR
- More senses
Currently, VR and AR are visually-oriented. However, haptic feedback is a potential new use and feature for VR and AR to give you a feeling as well as a sight. Some videogame controllers already have this, where the controller vibrates to simulate action in the game. So when you reach out to something or move it, you get a sensation in a VR glove of touch.
And smell-o-vision could come to VR as well. Frank Azor, general manager of the Dell-subsidiary Alienware, which specializes in high-end gaming rigs, told Time magazine he believes future VR devices could introduce smell and perhaps touch in the form of winds and temperatures.
“The future is 3D. To people working in VR/AR this is incredibly obvious, because the minute you put on a headset, you want to interact with objects the same way that you interact with objects in the real world: with your hands. This is another reason why the HTC Vive (VR headset) has so many developers building for their platform because it is the only headset on the market which offers tracked controllers that allow you to interact with objects with your ‘hands,'” said Sophia Dominguez, co-founder of SVRF, a stealth startup building a search and discovery engine for VR content.
- 3D scans of building
Already there are VR projects to make virtual homes so people can plan out the placement of furniture. IKEA partnered with HTC, maker of the Vive headset, to create an app called the IKEA VR Experience, which allows interior decorators and designers to create custom kitchens, while Lowe’s Home Improvement has rolled out the Lowe’s Holoroom that hows the customer a 3D view of a room redesign before actually building it.
To give the fully immersive experience, a 3D scan requires a special camera. Erika Dalager, marketing and communications manager for roOomy, which specializes in VR room design, said 3D cameras are coming to make this happen. There’s Matterport, which does 3D scans of homes for both realtors and home design, and Google Tango, due later this year. These new cameras will make VR more realistic and immersive.
- Faster networks
The trend toward VR technology will have significant impact on how networking and computing services are provided to support the end users. VR apps will require real-time interaction with cloud-based servers, which impacts the need for high bandwidth connectivity, and introduces the requirement for low latency connectivity to support this real-time interaction, according to Scott Sneddon, senior director, SDN and Cloud, at Juniper Networks.
“VR devices could also require peer-to-peer connectivity, which is a traffic pattern that traditional mobile and wireline networks were not designed for. This could have far reaching impacts on how network service providers and cloud service providers architect their services, and creates great opportunities for creative solutions to these challenges,” he said.
- Smaller headsets
Right now headsets are bulky, kind of heavy, and not very friendly to those of us with glasses. Only early adopters and gamers are going to go through the struggle of setting one up, but this will change quickly as more powerful graphics cards and phones arrive.
“Advancements in mobile VR will be incredibly important this year, as the inability to move around in VR experiences with mobile VR is limiting, although is great for watching 360 content. Intel’s Project Alloy was the first glimpse of positional tracking working on mobile VR,” said Dominguez.
As VR headsets get smaller, AR technology will also advance and eventually lead to the two being integrated into the same headset. Right now, the two are separate devices. “Day to day, you’ll use AR more often because it allows you to see the real world overlaid with digital objects, however, for more immersive experiences (such as entertainment and education), VR will be the more natural fit. Social will be used in both,” said Dominguez.
- Growth in non-gaming content
Right now the emphasis in VR is on gaming, but Derek Collison, founder and CEO of Apcera, a cloud management services provider, believes the world of VR will shift to content and content providers. “I do not think gaming will dominate, I think it will be more advanced shared experiences, starting with concerts, travel, safaris, etc.,” he said.
As organizations offer customers the ability to consume more content and teams embrace the technical requirements to do so, Collision sees availability of VR content will increase as commodity pricing starts to slide. “Producing content is still expensive but I predict costs will start falling by the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017,” he said.
- Teaching and training
Watch out teachers, trainers and managers: Virtual Reality is coming for your jobs. That’s the claim from Andrea Hill, manager of innovation strategy at ReadyTalk, an audio and web conferencing software company, and a proponent of VR.
“It seems ludicrous today, that the same technology that gives caffeine-fueled gamers vertigo could become a legitimate training and development tool, but it will, at such scale and with such richly immersive and personalized experiences that we poor humans won’t know what hit us,” she said.
Coaching and training is subject to supply and demand constraints. A coach can only provide personalized support to so many people live and in-person. Virtual systems can be used by multiple people at once, with each getting that live feedback and course correction. Gone are the limitations of scheduling training sessions or finding the appropriate physical environment in which to conduct training; each can be conjured up at the right time and place.
- Another perspective
The current challenge with VR content is that it is presented from a single POV. You can move and look in any direction, but you are pinned to the author’s or content creator’s position. When content is authored with motion, the movement is fixed and creates a challenge. You can’t look at the other side of a car, for example, if the camera only shot one side of it.
Or imagine a concert. Your perspective is where the cameraman was placed. It might be too close, or at a bad angle, or someone might be out of sight. But you can’t move.
But what if everyone in the front row collaborates to generate VR content, theorizes Collison. The viewer can move between different seats. Soon massive and many computers will be able to stitch all of that content together to create a seamless experience and 360 views, he predicts.
“VR will fundamentally change the way everyone experiences life and shares those experiences. And this future is coming much faster than anyone expects,” he said.
- Impact of AR on marketing
- Many brands have reconsidered AR in the wake of Pokémon GO
The phenomenal rise of Pokémon GO was heralded as a tipping point for AR. Launched in July 2016, Pokémon GO’s downloads reached 50 million installations before the end of the month. Looking ahead, marketers face two opportunities around AR: First, piggyback on AR properties that are popular with their audience, like Pokémon Go, as more AR-based games and applications emerge. Second, formulate bespoke, branded experiences. Fashion and beauty firms, for example, can let people digitally ‘try on’ clothes and cosmetics.
- AR augments the product trial process
Beauty group L’Oréal, has been exploring a number of technologies to offer greater utility and personalisation. Perhaps its most popular foray into this space to date is Makeup Genius, a mobile app that turns smartphone cameras into virtual mirrors enabling consumers to digitally ‘apply’ L’Oréal Paris products scanned in a store. The app has been downloaded more than 16 million times.
- AR offers greater scope for consumers to engage with campaigns
AR via mobile devices is likely to be significant for many marketers because it offers great scope for how, when and where consumers can engage with campaigns, branded collateral, packaging and product. It also opens the door to technology such as visual search. AR also relies on existing mobile behaviours that users are comfortable with, such as using the camera.
- Challenges in AR
- Social rejection
As interesting or cool as AR might become, people will never want to wear a computer on their face. It’s cumbersome, it’s weird, and it’s socially awkward.
- Poor experience
The concept of AR is cool and useful, but in action, it always seems lackluster. Whether it’s poor resolution, inaccurate computer vision, or uncomfortable human/computer interactions, the actual experience never lives up to what it’s supposed to be.
- Miniaturization issues
It’s obvious that everyone wants a fully functioning augmented reality headset at the size of normal eyeglasses, but it’s actually much harder to make than people realize. Despite the best efforts of the top companies, the components can’t be made small enough in this short of a timeframe.
Fig. 7.1 Microsoft Compact AR Prototype
- Digital fatigue
Spatial computing melding of digital and physical worlds it’s simply too much. We love our television sets, we love our iPhones, but sometimes it’s nice to just unplug from the world. Having constant virtual information is simply exhausting.
AR companies are unable to navigate the legal issues presented when operating at scale. Privacy and safety concerns lead to massive regulation, hobbling AR development.
- Lack of use cases
While considered “cool” and fun for gaming, AR never develops a truly useful purpose. Techies and gamers may find it interesting, but the everyday consumer never sees the need to purchase.
Fig. 7.2 Desktop with Meta
- Opportunities in AR
- Technology is unique and noticeable
For now, there are much more chances to surprise your customers and create a necessary buzz because you can give your consumers something your competitors don’t have yet.
- Augmented reality gets more virality
Speaking about the buzz. The world of mouth and social sharing increase the acquisition of new customers.
- AR opportunities for personalization
A chance to create something unique and thereby to express one’s individually is way more engaging than standard media content.
- Improvement of the content quality
With Augmented Reality you give users a tool for creating the content that they couldn’t do before by themselves.
- Interactivity maintains the retention
Not in vains, the entertainment trend stays in leaders list. The highly exciting content motivates users to interact with your mobile application again and again.
- Can our bodies and minds really cope with VR
We can’t speak for everyone, as everyone experiences VR differently, but if an experience is well designed then absolutely we can cope. Most first time VR users we’ve initiated are blown away by the immersiveness of the experiences.
Issues with motion sickness crop-up occasionally and theories as to the causes tend to revolve around the screen resolution and image refresh rate not matching, or being slower than how our brains actually process the images we see. Sudden camera moves therefore exacerbate this, although the camera moves themselves aren’t strictly to blame.
Good news is that screen technology is getting better and motion sickness is being reduced as refresh rates and resolutions improve at a rate of knots. In the meantime, we make sure all our VR experiences are well designed, to be as immersive and vomit free as possible. We haven’t had anyone go a sickly shade of green yet.
Following is the list of the websites that we have referred in order to collect various information for the preparation of the report for the topic of “Augmented And Virtual Reality”.