Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality IS the Future, any doubts?

Augmented Reality - will this technology stay for long or fade away? Look at how the world is using Augmented Reality in various industries and find out whether it is just a gimmick or the future.

We live in the age of Snapchat filters and running around to catch Pokemon from our phone screens. Augmented Reality technology has permeated our lives in various forms pushed by companies such as IKEA, Amazon, Google and Apple to name a few. Yet, the question that lurks in the minds of futurists is whether this future technology is here to stay and shape our lives or if its just a fad. Let's take a look on both sides of this coin and find out.

Just A Gimmick?

google glassOften considered just a gimmick, Augmented Reality technology has been touted as something which is nice to have but has no real life use. The critics often cite statistics to show that, while people are awed by the futuristic technology, they do not use it on a regular basis. While certain use cases attain momentary popularity, it fades with time.

 

The most cited example of failure of Augmented Reality is the infamous augmented reality glasses - Google Glass. Perhaps the first major AR product to hit the markets, Google Glass is considered a major flop due to many reasons. It was rejected by the market as an expensive and clunky product that invaded private lives of people and had no real life use. It also put the future of augmented reality in a doubtful situation.

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Where's the value?

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Another major criticism of Augmented Reality technology is that it is more of an add-on than a technology that provides real life value to a user. Critics often look down upon Snapchat as something that adds on existing camera to provide filters to users but does not address any need of the user. Pokemon Go, the famous augmented reality game, is seen as more of an entertainment avenue with its own share of issues. From rash driving to theft, the users of this game have resorted to all techniques necessary to catch ‘em all and have put a dent on the reputation of Augmented Reality.

 

In terms of impactful use cases, critics say that almost anything that renders graphics over reality passes off as Augmented Reality technology nowadays thereby diluting the real impact of this technology. Most AR apps launched with the most basic versions of this technology fail to capture user attention for long and thus, fail.

 

The Present Ecosystem

While concerns about the usability and penetration of AR have been mounting, so has been support from the biggest tech players in the industry. Be it Apple’s ARKit, Google’s ARCore, or Microsoft’s Holo Lens, all tech giants want a piece of the AR pie. These platforms provide tools for developers to build apps that natively work on the respective mobile and AR device platforms. With support from such well established market players, there is a lot of hope from the future of Augmented Reality to propel our smartphone experience into the feature and add real value through innovative devices.

 

A Case for AR’s potential

While critics have dismissed the notion of real world impact of AR, certain companies have defied this by empowering users through various means. Let us take a look on the flip side:

 

World at your doorstep

With upcoming Augmented Reality applications, there is no need to leave your home anymore. On the forefront of this technology is IKEA’s app that lets you unlock the world of furniture through your smartphone. Who needs to visit the store anymore when you can place the furniture, customize and compare it with other options to find the best fit for your house.

 

                                     

 

Not behind is WOWSOME with its Interactive Spaces, a service that lets prospective buyers explore real estate properties from the comfort of their home. Finding your new home is much simpler and immersive with this service. Many such services bring the future to our doorstep.

 

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More than what meets the eye

On a daily basis we get millions of stimuli and it is not possible to make sense of everything we experience. To make our experience of the world more immersive and informative, companies like Navdy and WayRay have launched devices. Navdy has introduced an Augmented Reality navigation device that you can mount on your steering wheel of your car. This device will project everything into the distance in your line of sight on the road. It is connected to both your car and your phone to keep you updated about incoming notifications, calls and even low fuel in your vehicle. Using in-built navigation, it shows you the route on the display and guides you along the way. Watch the video below to witness the future of Augmented Reality.

 

                                     

 

Thus, Augmented Reality has the potential to add to our daily experience of stimuli through many devices and applications.

 

An Alternate World

Augmented Reality has the potential to open doors to an alternate reality where you can control the world around you. Due to its potential to render graphics on top of the real world, AR can create an alternate world out of thin air. Using this idea, Yihaodian revolutionized the way you shop for groceries by opening 1000 virtual grocery stores online. How did they do it? Using an augmented reality application, they created stores that you can see using your phone and walk through to buy what you need from the virtual shelves. After adding everything to your cart, it is delivered to your home. They placed these stores in empty parking lots and famous landmarks that gave them unlimited real estate without buying actual land. Mind-blowing indeed!

 

                                     

 

WOWSOME’s Twin Persona is an AR application that lets us create and interact with our digital avatars. It introduces the notion of full body interaction with your augmented reality avatar using sensors and a screen. The digital persona imitates every action of ours, giving us the power to be in control of the character with our own movements. This application can also be extended into an augmented reality game with customized objects or characters displayed on the screen. 

 

Final Verdict:

Much has been said about AR’s lack of real world use and potential to bring a change in lives of people. Examples mentioned above, including augmented reality glasses, seem to defy these notions about this technology and how it adds value to our lives. Be it through increasing the convenience of users, making our daily experiences more immersive or opening up an alternate world, Augmented Reality technology is here to stay and get more impactful with time. With support from tech industry’s largest players and startups like Magic Leap becoming unicorns, this technology seems more in the realm of the future than of just a passing fad.

 


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