Top 5 Things to Know about Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

You can boost engagement within your app and capitalize on the popularity of augmented reality and virtual reality by integrating one or both technologies into your mobile app development process. There’s no guarantee that including AR will bring your app the success that it did Pokemon Go or including a VR mechanism will make your app the next Playstation VR headset hit. Either can bring a certain cachet along with utility. Keep in mind the following five facts when weighing the inclusion of VR and AR.

1. Augmented reality and virtual reality differ greatly. AR adds to the existing world while VR creates one from scratch. With AR, you supplement the real world with additional information. For example, in construction, an architect might project a full-size AR 3D model of the building onto the site. She could show multiple designs, providing the client the opportunity to choose their favorite using a full-scale view. In the same industry, AR helmets provide health data on each construction worker, measuring items like heart rate and fatigue levels to help cut down on construction site accidents.

With VR, you create the world. This completely fictional environment replicates the infrastructure of a physical environment in a virtual, computerized environment. It requires hardware and software to access, such as a computer and peripherals like goggles or a glove. The most common application, so far, is immersive gaming. Wearing goggles allows the user to experience the gaming environment in 3D.

2. According to Stanford University, learning increases and impression deepens when using AR. Virtual Human Interaction Lab researcher Jeremy Bailenson says using AR and VR causes the brain to absorb 33 percent more effectively. Another benefit, the exposure to “embodied cognition” increases behavioral changes by 20 percent by letting the person experience decision impacts. These effects make AR and VR beneficial choices for apps involving:

  • learning,
  • comprehension,
  • build brand affinity,
  • enhance brand loyalty

.3. The cost of AR has dropped remarkably. In 2015, Nvidia introduced a green 2.3-TFLOPS computing board that consumes a miniscule 15W of energy. It costs $59. You can employ software developers or you can use software like Vuforia Studio Enterprise (VSE) which combines its animations, code sequences and 3D modeling tools with Creo’s tools and ThingWorx’s Internet of Things data. It lets you create your app without requiring you to learn to code. VSE provides only one example. Other similar software includes:

  • AR Tookit,
  • Arpa Solutions,
  • Orbotix,
  • 13th Lab,
  • Total Immersion.

These design environment apps range in cost from free to a few hundred dollars. The base cost of an AR mobile app is $5,000. Large scale deployments cost more than $10,000.

4. Decreased costs and simplified development environments have put AR in reach of small business. Some AR development environments sell per-project subscriptions. ZapWorks offers a one month free trial and costs $45 per month or $135 monthly for the enterprise version.

Area Sq, a United Kingdom interior design firm has an AR app in development that lets clients view how fixtures and treatments would actually look in their home or office before ordering them. The beauty industry has used AR for a few years. Hairstylists commonly employ an online technology that lets their client upload a photo of themselves into app that then lets them alter their hair color with a single click. They can also try out various haircuts, styles and view themselves with a perm from home. They enter the salon with a printout of the precise color mix, cut and style necessary for the desired look. They can even print a photo of themselves with the conceptual hairstyle for the stylist to use.

5. All of the above and consumer craving for more immersive, believable and even tangible experiences contributes to a growing market potential for AR and VR. The 2016 VR market value was $1.9 billion, states Digi-Capital but 2020 projections put it at $22.4 billion. That figure includes sales of hardware and software. Add in the AR market and the projected value rises to $121 billion by 2021.

The reduction in costs and increased simplicity of development makes AR and VR an even more desirable addition to mobile app development. As the Pokemon Go craze showed, users want an interactive, immersive environment that engages both reality and imagination. Integrating AR or VR into your app lets you provides this to increase brand loyalty and sales.