AR or VR: Which One To Choose For Your Business?
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been around for a while now, accelerating transformation not only in areas such as interactive gaming and entertainment but also in healthcare, emergency services, customer interactions, and employee training.
As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies all over the world found themselves in need to rethink their processes and strategies to build resilience and flexibility and adapt to the rapidly changing market conditions and customer demands. This is why the interest in AR and VR has increased dramatically in the last year.
If, like many others out there, you struggle to find the right immersive technology for your business needs, don’t worry. We’ve put together this guide to help you better understand the difference between AR and VR and choose the one that would help your business thrive.
What is virtual reality?
Virtual reality aims to completely immerse the user into a computer-generated simulation with the help of VR headsets, controllers, and even full-body haptic suits.
What happens is that VR activates the motor cortex and sensory system in a way that’s similar to a real-life experience, allowing you to achieve a sense of presence when interacting with that new world. In other words, your brain starts interpreting the 3D virtual world as being more or less real.
How does augmented reality work?
Augmented reality allows users to see the real world—either through a smartphone screen, tablet, or smart glasses—with a digital overlay of information such as 3D images, text, and videos, among others.
For AR applications to work properly, they first need to collect information about your surroundings with the help of a camera. Once the software recognizes the real elements in the physical world, it enhances your perspective through the addition of virtual elements (think Pokemon Go).
What is the difference between AR and VR?
Although both AR and VR are forms of extended reality (XR), they differ from one another in how they bridge the gap between the real world and the digital one and the overall experience they provide to users.
On the one hand, AR offers partial immersion, meaning that you stay in contact with the real world all throughout your interaction with the virtual objects you can see around you. On the other hand, VR isolates you from the physical world while fully immersing you into a digitally created fictional world.
Moreover, as opposed to AR, where you can use your smartphone to interact with the digital elements in your location, VR requires you to wear a headset such as Oculus Quest to access the virtual world.
AR vs. VR real-world use cases
In this section, we’re going to share with you a couple of use cases where AR and VR technologies were used to help businesses achieve their strategic goals.
AR shopping tools
This AR shopping app allows customers to virtually place furniture inside their homes and check if the products match the rest of the elements in a room before making a purchase.
After finding the perfect spot for the product they like, a customer can see how it would look from all angles and browse through the different color options/designs available. If they decide to buy the product, they can order it with the help of the app in just a few clicks.
The main purpose of this augmented reality app is to provide customers with interactive shopping experiences and help them choose the right products from the comfort of their own homes.
AR in marketing campaigns
This mobile app was part of a fun AR marketing campaign that Adidas organized to promote the launch of a new shoe model, Nite Jogger.
Four artists were chosen to create 3D sculptures in VR using Tilt Brush for this campaign. Those sculptures were used to develop an augmented reality app that allowed customers to display and take photos of the artwork at the launch event in Warsaw.
This type of AR app allows brands like Adidas to offer unique and engaging customer experiences, promote new products using interactive technologies and generate more sales in the long run.
Triage is a VR app that allows young doctors and Emergency Medical Technicians to learn how to offer first aid and quickly and accurately evaluate a patient’s condition. Eight customizable sceneries were developed in collaboration with doctors and EMTs for this training app.
The trainer can create specific scenarios by choosing the scenery, the time of the accident, the casualty number, the type of casualties, and their complete condition. To pass the test included in each scenario, the trainee has to go through all the stages of triage. For example, they have to assess the situation, individually examine each patient, provide them with the proper medical aid in a timely manner and give them a categorization wristband.
This VR training app prepares participants for real-life scenarios where they have to work fast under pressure and each decision can make the difference between life and death.
VR in e-learning
When it came to training their customer service employees, the Santander Bank Polska chose to invest in VR technology. Seven different VR scenarios were developed with the help of spherical videos (360) and were then used to test the employees’ soft skills.
Each scenario deals with a specific customer persona and requires the trainee to choose between a set of pre-defined possible solutions when interacting with each customer. The role of the trainee is to satisfy the needs of these seven virtual customers while choosing the best approach.
Compared to traditional e-learning courses, VR allows employees to practice their customer service skills and emotional responses in a safe and interactive virtual environment. Plus, companies like Santander can implement scalable and cost-effective training programs and use the statistics gathered from each VR training session to understand their trainees’ behavior and spot areas that require improvement.
VR in marketing campaigns
VR enables brands to create fully immersive customer experiences that let their audience explore and interact with captivating virtual worlds. A great example is Oreo’s 2016 VR marketing campaign that promoted their Filled Cupcake-flavored Oreo cookies.
The campaign took customers on a quick tour of a deliciously magical world of chocolate landscapes and milk rivers while showing how the Filled Cupcake-flavored Oreos are made. Their idea was no doubt one of the most creative ways to make people crave their products even if they weren’t thinking about it in the first place.
For those bold enough to try, VR offers endless opportunities to brands that want to stand out and provide customers with memorable experiences.
What does the future hold?
According to a recent report published by International Data Corporation, the AR/VR market size value is forecasted to reach $20.9 billion in Europe by the end of 2025. Add to that the numerous successful real-world applications in industries such as healthcare, sales, marketing, education, and military, and you’ve got an opportunity you can’t afford to miss.
What you must keep in mind is that both AR and VR offer advantages and drawbacks. Ultimately, it depends on what your business goals are. Whether you want to train your remote workforce, increase employee retention or create engaging customer experiences, our team is here to guide you from the concept to the implementation phase.
If you have an idea for an AR or VR application, but you’re not sure where to start, reach out to us today and let’s discuss together how Flint Tech can make it happen.