It seems the more interactive we are with mobile devices, the more we shape the future of technological advancements.
There was a time not so long ago when technology was a matter of convenience. Back in the 1990’s, the first mobile phones began taking the place of public telephones. The internet was new and gave us access to information we had previously searched for in library reference books.
We no longer needed to print reports or correspondence which was easily shared by downloading them to a floppy disc or CD-ROM.
Fast-forward to today and we find that Google is our dictionary, the cloud is our information storage unit as flash drives are becoming extinct, and we can tell our televisions what we want to watch through voice recognition and online streaming.
We can get up-to-the-minute news on Twitter, check on our family and friends on Facebook, shop and make purchases, and even order pizza to be delivered to a neighborhood park. All on our smartphones.
Power in the hands of people through mobile devices has surpassed the need for convenience and taken us into another stratosphere. We can do things faster, easier, and better than ever.
Have these advances come about because technology has shaped our lives or have we shaped the digital world?
One might say both statements are equally true as we continue to see technological advances allow us to engage our minds without physical constraints through augmented reality and virtual reality.
Let’s take a look at how these two worlds – AR and VR – allow us to create and control our digital environments, shaping how we work and live.
Augmented Reality Vs. Virtual Reality
Augmented reality lets us view the real world with a computer-generated image superimposed on it, such as a GPS that displays traffic patterns or weather conditions as you’re driving and seeing the real, physical road.
Virtual reality lets us experience computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image of the same road with the same conditions that we can interact with in a seemingly real or physical way.
Some argue that AR and VR are sisters while others argue that they represent two totally separate worlds.
For the most part, VR is ideal for immersive gaming; however, it’s making its way into mainstream as pricing is reduced and through the use of headsets that don’t have to be tethered to a PC or smartphone.
Virtual Reality Friction
The biggest complaint that people have is that headsets are bulky and uncomfortable with grainy images, and still relatively expensive. Others complain that the latency of visuals and sound can create a weird sensation in the eyes and ears.
Nonetheless, use of VR in business is considered to have great potential for training purposes in the marketing, finance, manufacturing and human resources fields. Use of VR in business settings is expected to surpass leisure use in the coming years.
The Advantages of Mobile Augmented Reality
Mobile devices are king. Let’s face it – we live by our smartphones, e-readers, and tablets. AR applications are expected to reign over VR as mobile platform users naturally gravitate to experience an enhanced world on-the-go without the bulky discomfort of headsets.
When consumers and professional buyers can’t go to stores and showrooms, they view products in AR before making purchasing decisions, bringing a whole new meaning to “try before you buy.”
The advantage – simply put – is there is more diversity in its use. Augmented reality can provide a journey into another world and educational experiences like VR, along with enhancing the actual world.
Potential Business Applications
Possible business applications in the coming years include guiding mechanics through repair procedures, assembling and maintaining complex equipment, and monitoring telecommunication systems.
AR doesn’t present trainees with a simulated environment the way VR does. Instead, the environment is real where real tasks can be performed every day. Augmentations can be changed in an instant so that personnel can receive real-time feedback and updates while training remotely.
Augmented reality is highly interactive, capable of sharing information with multiple people, thus highly social. It is less expensive than VR and easier to navigate due to years of familiarity users already have with their mobile devices.
As we demand the information we want and need, our home and work environments conform to our personal preferences.
Thanks to the advances made in AR and VR technology that are soon coming to the masses, we’ll see increased amounts of our work and business lives carried out in augmented reality and virtual reality.
Our behaviors and habits will be shaped by it and our evolving preferences will continue to demand it.