What is AR? Why do I need Augmented Reality as a company?

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2018 has truly been the year of Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality first came into the public eye through games like “Pokemon Go” and co, but the basic technology has been around for ages - the first capable “Heads-Up Displays” were developed in the 1980s (Link), but why is an augmented reality only now making a breakthrough and what is AR anyway? Find out on this page!

Augmented Reality, or augmented reality, is the term used to describe the enrichment of our perceived sensory impressions with artificially created additional information. The classical definition of AR limits the additional information to the fact that it has to be transmitted virtually via a PC (link and link).

Augmented Reality applications for the military, or for general visualizations, have been around since the early years, but the reason why the breakthrough only happened now is that at that time a PC set, as well as the screens, were much too bulky to be affordable for the masses, and secondly, they were reasonably portable. Nowadays, fortunately, everyone has a portable computer in their pocket - the smartphone. As smartphones become more widespread, augmented reality is becoming more accessible, and anyone can use AR at no great technical cost. In the end, this was the trigger for Augmented Reality to make its breakthrough.

Furthermore, several large companies predict that the AR and VR market will exceed the 108 billion US dollar mark in 2021 (Link) and thus be one of the fastest-growing markets in human history.

How does Augmented Reality work?

Roughly speaking, for the end-user, AR is nothing more than an app on the smartphone. There will always be a trigger, or “trigger”, that triggers content in the app, which is then projected onto the screen of the device.

A trigger in this case does not have to be a QR Code, as many mistakenly think, but can be anything from a picture to a 3D object. The art of the algorithm in the background is to determine the position and size of the trigger and to project the content optically correct onto it. What the content is, is almost irrelevant. You can play a video over an image, or an animated 3D object over an image - the possibilities are endless.

The 5 typical applications of Augmented Reality

Of course, as with virtual reality, the use cases are countless, but I have tried to break it down to the five most typical areas:

1. AR marketing and advertising

The greatest potential for Augmented Reality is certainly advertising. Print advertising is often ignored because there has simply been a flood of information in recent years and no print advertising can really achieve its targeted effect. This will change with AR because with AR a “boring” print advertisement can be brought to life. Imagine for example your standard print ad of a car at a bus stop and compare the effect on customers between the standard print and an animation of how the car “drives through the window” and can be walked on interactively - the AR experience will definitely be more memorable.

2. Information enrichment through augmented reality

The augmented reality will be perfectly suited to enrich our previous perception with further information. The best-known example, in this case, is AR-glasses like the “Google Glasses”. Here you see the world “as usual”, but you can always fade in more information to give more information. For example, imagine that every person you see would have their name above them, or you would never have to ask “What kind of car is this?” because their AR-Glasses would have shown you this information long ago.

3. remote assistance/training with augmented reality

Augmented Reality will also revolutionize training because in the future there will be “support centers” to support an armada of technicians or support staff. Take the example of a repairman for a machine manufacturer. No mechanic knows every machine, and it often takes weeks and a lot of time to fly in a special technician and have the machine repaired. With augmented reality (AR), a low-level mechanic can now be assisted over distance by the specialized mechanic and perform operations that would previously have taken weeks and millions. In practical terms, this could mean, for example, that the specialized mechanic can put information into the AR glasses of the local worker and “see what he sees”, and act as if he were on site, only for half a million Euros less.

4. AR in gaming and entertainment

Like virtual reality, augmented reality has also been massively driven by the games industry. Even though AR is not as immersive as VR (see VR page), it is more accessible because you don’t need VR glasses or a high-performance PC. It is also a new format and very accessible for people who have no previous gaming experience because the game principle is comparable to familiar interactions. This was one of the reasons why “Pokemon Go” prescribed 600 million US dollars in sales in the first three months after its launch alone (Link). How much revenue did you generate with your app?

5. education revolutionized by augmented reality

Although this is actually one of the previous points I have highlighted it because AR will have such a massive impact on our education system that it is worth a point of its own. The current educational system is far behind - I assure you that no student or pupil will remember more than 30 percent of the content two weeks after the exam. Imagine you have to memorize all the nerve tracts of the body. If you could now aim AR at your own arm and get the names of the nerve tracts on your own body animated, you would certainly remember this much better than if you read it in a book. The reason is that AR can address many more senses and is much more interactive than learning with a book (Link).

And how can AR improve your business?

Just book a free fifteen-minute conversation with me via this link or visit the contact page and tell me about your ideas. I won’t lie - AR doesn’t always make sense, but together we can find out what makes sense in your company and what doesn’t.

Looking for more information about AR? Then have a look at our own page.