Immersive VR Technologies AR Apps

What do you know about Augmented Reality (AR) Technology?

Have you heard of the Pokémon Go craze? Or better yet, used Snapchat filters? Well, did you know that these mobile applications are based on augmented reality technology? Augmented reality is part of our daily lives, and it is here to stay! According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), AR is expected to achieve a compounded annual growth rate of 71.6%by 2022. So, what exactly is augmented reality, and what is its potential?

Augmented Reality Defined

To augment is to enhance or add something. Therefore, augmented reality refers to the process of adding touch feedback, sound, and graphics into our physical environment. Computer-generated images are superimposed on a user’s real-world views by utilizing complex algorithms to map and identify objects in the natural environment.

Wait, doesn’t this sound similar to Virtual Reality (VR)? Although AR and VR are based on similar concepts, the latter creates an entirely new and immersive reality rather than overlays over the natural environment – everything you hear and see is simulated. The Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift headsets are some examples of VR devices.

How Augmented Reality Works

Augmented reality technology is not as complex as it sounds. It can be simplified into the basic computing interaction of input-processing-output.

  • Input: Cameras and Sensors

The process of ‘augmenting’ reality starts with capturing and gathering data (depth, tilt, position, acceleration etc.) from the natural environment with cameras and sensors. Typically, real-time data is captured using your mobile device’s built-in camera or advanced devices such as Microsoft’s HoloLens. After gathering the user’s interactions in the real world, the sensors transmit the data for processing and interpretation.

  • Processing

Your mobile phone and AR devices are basically small computers. They contain a global positioning system (GPS), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth microchip, RAM, flash memory, a GPU, a CPU, or even magnetometer (compass direction), gyroscope (tilt and orientation), and an accelerometer (speed). These components enable the devices to analyze and process the real-world input.

  • Output: Projection

After information from the natural world is captured and analyzed, the AR device projects digital renderings (virtual output) onto the scene. These projections may display directly onto surfaces, multiple screens within a headset, or your smartphone screen.

In the example of mobile games and apps, the device’s camera is used to locate objects in the natural world, and transmit them to the application for processing. The application then overlays virtual content on top to provide interactive animations or information.

Background Information

Did you know that augmented reality technology was invented as early as 1968? Yes, this innovative and futuristic technology was in existence before The Beatles broke up. The first AR technology was developed by a Harvard University professor, Ivan Sutherland. The massive headset was known as ‘The Sword of Damocles’ – as you can guess from the name, it was an intimidating contraption that was suspended from the ceiling.

Along the years, different sectors of the economy adopted and helped advance the technology. AR was used for industrial simulation, military, aviation tools, and even in the NFL. One of the most significant events in the history of augmented reality is the 2014 launch of Google Glass, which was the first commercial wearable AR device. Later on, Snapchat incorporated a geofilter feature that allowed users to add geographic-tagged graphics to their photos. Nowadays, AR is used by retailers, businesses, and millions of social media users.

Desk with a magazine showing a vacation advertisement and small balloons flying into the room augmented reality concept render

 

 

 

 

Types of AR

Augmented reality can be classified into 5 broad categories depending on their use and characteristics. The list below is a brief overview of these categories.

  1. Projection-based AR: Virtual images are projected directly onto surfaces or objects. E.g. You could project functioning piano keys onto a table.
  2. Superimposition-based AR: A digital image entirely or partially replaces an object in the natural environment. E.g. An operating surgeon can use this type of AR to ‘superimpose’ a digital x-ray over a patient’s arm.
  3. Outlining AR: As the name suggests, outlining AR outlines shapes and boundaries such as landing strips, and roads to guide the driver in low light.
  4. Marker-based AR: This one the simplest and easiest to implement AR technology. It relies on triggers such as a QR code to display content.
  5. Markerless AR: Unlike the simplistic Marker-based AR, the Markerless AR uses the accelerometer, GPS, and camera to track the user’s location and display corresponding digital images.

Applicability of Augmented Reality

Snapchat and Pokémon Go are just a tip of the iceberg. The applicability of augmented reality goes far beyond mobile games and apps. Companies such as Immersive VR Technologies, which offer developmental services, continue to discover new and innovative ways of incorporating interactive content into our lives. Some revolutionary uses of AR include:

The consumer market is always changing and adapting. Gone are the days when you could drive sales with just a magazine advert or television broadcast. Statistics show that revenue from print advertising fell by 20% between 2013-2016, while digital advertising revenue increases by 35%.  As technology advances and consumer tastes evolve, companies must adjust their marketing campaigns to gain a competitive edge. One way to attract and retain customers is through the implementation of AR in print advertising.

Picture a normal traditional print advertisement in your local newspaper (sounds boring and monotonous, right?) Now imagine if the ‘boring image’ could come to life in an interactive manner (audio blurb or video pop up) by simply scanning it with your smartphone – that is what AR offers.

  • Industrial Application

AR is tipped to be a game changer in boosting production and efficiency in businesses through the emergence of industry 4.0 (smart manufacturing). The technology can be used to relay information to users in relation to the factory floor activities, data feeds on the status of equipment, and even provide real-time instructions to the staff.  AR has recently captured the attention of market leaders such as Tesla, who filed a patent to use AR in their manufacturing facilities.

  • Gaming

Gaming applications in augmented reality are rapidly growing thanks to portable and affordable computing systems. iOS and Android games such as Pokémon Go, Ghost Snap AR, AR Invaders, SpecTrek, and Ingress are a few mobile games that are gaining increased popularity due to their interactive nature.

Please Note, These applications as not conclusive. AR technology is continually expanding into different sectors such as healthcare, logistics, design, retail, tourism, education, and the entertainment industry. It is interesting to see what the future holds – just make sure you are part of this ‘augmented’ future.

What we Offer

Hair color simulation system concept. Technological scene of hair salon. Smart mirror display.Although augmented reality technologies may be new and even confusing to understand, our highly experienced team is always willing to offer friendly advice to anyone who is interested in AR. 
Immersive VR Technologies Augmented Reality in print advertising

Utilize Augmented Reality in Print Advertising for Amazing Results

Desk with a magazine showing a vacation advertisement and small balloons flying into the room augmented reality concept renderPrint advertising, or any other type of advertising method, has a goal of capturing a person’s attention and quickly convincing them that they need a certain product.  Everyone should agree that while the goal has stayed the same all these years, the method of achieving that goal has continuously changed.

The first printed advertising ads were little blurbs of words before eventually including pictures which are getting larger and larger.  Then famous people were asked to promote certain products, because if they said that they used the product, why shouldn’t everyone else use it too!

Nowadays, print advertising is getting even more futuristic with the assistance of augmented reality.  A person can see the regular print ad in the newspaper or in a magazine, but that image and the ad comes to life the instance they scan that ad with their phone.  A video might pop up or an audio blurb might start playing.  These types of ads give the consumer a more interactive experience and that experience will draw them in and make them think that they need to purchase the item they are seeing even more than they used to with regular print ads.

Since most consumers are very tech-savvy and have their smartphone or tablet with them all the time, it is easy to make this leap from regular print advertising to augmented reality print advertising.  Everyone is trying to keep up with the times, so if they happen to spot something new that will work with their phone or tablet, they will feel like they need to try it out!  Of course, once a person tries this new phenomenon, they will be hooked until the next new thing comes along!

Magazine on an office desk seen through an app on a tablet with different shopping options  augmented reality concept 3D illustration

Here are 4 reasons why print advertising should start utilizing augmented reality and why it will become a necessity far into the future:

  1. Achieve an Emotional Connection with the Consumer

 

Consumers are emotional people, which is why they will react more to an augmented reality print ad than a regular one.  They will feel like they are part of the product, as the ad will allow them to interact and use whatever is being advertised.  Obviously, this type of advertising works better for some items than others.  Interacting with a new car racing through the streets is going to be much more exciting than applying facial moisturizer.  Well, for now anyway!

 

  1. Companies Can Save a Lot of Money with Augmented Reality Ads

 

Placing print advertisements in newspapers or magazines is quite costly, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars in some instances.  While print ads are still necessary for augmented reality to be included, the actual augmented reality portion is cheaper than most people think.  A simple augmented reality advertisement can cost as little as five thousand dollars, while a more elaborate one could be closer to one hundred thousand dollars.  The real savings though comes from the fact that these augmented reality ads can be used repeatedly with different ad campaigns.

 

  1. Sales Will Dramatically Increase

 

Augmented reality can make the worst online shopping experiences better than ever, since consumers can interact with the items firsthand.  This means that when they see an advertisement that includes augmented reality for a pair of sunglasses or a hat, they can virtually try them on to see how they look.  There will be no more worrying about how they will look or if the item will fit.  And honestly, many businesses lose sales because no one wants to deal with returns.  Instead, unsure consumers simply do not purchase the product.  This alleviates all that stress, allowing consumers to make purchases on a whim, which will drastically increase sales.

 

  1. Improves Advertising Locally

 

An augmented reality print ad can help consumers not only find local establishments, but it will lead them there as well.  Therefore, if a person sees an augmented reality ad for a local café, the ad will show them a virtual tour of the location, but it will also guide them there step by step.  This is huge for local businesses who may be struggling to get their name out amongst all the chains in the same area.

 

As with anything else when it comes to technology, there are a couple challenges that businesses will face when they are trying to implement augmented reality into their print ads.  First, everyone needs to have access to at least one, but preferably more, augmented reality apps.  This can be a problem, because no one is going to want to search the app store to find the one that they need just so they can see what is included with the print ad.  This is especially true if the person is limited with their time at that moment.

Immersive VR Technologies has found a solution to that issue by providing links to the specific Ads within the Ad. By embedding a link for the user to follow or QR code the user can immediately get the correct app for the ad set.

Another issue is that smartphones and some other devices have limited hardware for watching these augmented reality ads.  While this is an issue now, eventually the smartphone technology will continue to improve until this problem is resolved.

The last issue that most companies face is figuring out exactly how to create an augmented reality print ad.  There are a few special kits that can be used to get the results that a company wants, but in reality, it is much easier to work with a professional like Immersive VR Technologies.  They are continuing to be considered experts in this field, which means that they can help a business from the planning stage all the way through to the final product.  And businesses don’t need to worry if they have no idea of what they want to do, because Immersive VR Technologies will help determine what type of augmented reality print ad will work best to help reach the goals put in place.