Augmented Reality Changing Customers Perception about the World
Right from science fiction stories to finding its application in everyday life, augmented reality has come a long way. This upcoming technology holds a lot of promise for businesses working towards becoming smarter. In this post, we are going to discuss how AR is changing the way consumers see the world. Do have a read!AR is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. Click To Tweet
A brief history of AR/VR
Before we walk you through the post, let’s have a quick sneak peek into the history of augmented reality. This technology has tremendously become popular in the past few years. However, it’s not new and has been around for longer than you could imagine. AR officially made its debut in 1968 at Harvard, when Ivan Sutherland (“father of computer graphics”) had created an AR head-mounted display system. That being said, its fundamental inception can be traced back to 1901. Lyman Frank Baum, the author of the popular book, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” had published another book “The Master Key” in 1901. In this book, he fantasized a kind of augmented reality.
AR integrated into smartphones
Even if you are not aware of this future-proof technology, you might have at least seen it in action. With every other individual using smartphone, AR couldn’t be far-flung. Most of the mobile phone companies are integrating this technology into the camera. Smartphone users can now turn the real world into a canvas, which is further enriched with interactive virtual objects.
Augmented reality uses computer vision in your phone camera and fastens a virtual object to a physical point in your chosen environment. When you move your phone camera around it, the object is able to maintain its scale and location in your view of the real world. AR arguably is still considered as a gimmick by some tech experts. Nonetheless, there is no doubt this technology is soon going to be a game-changer in the world of commerce.
Another great advantage of AR in smartphone is it can turn your camera into a mirror. Based on this very technology, the beauty apps and filters are developed. Most of us leverage these apps to enhance our selfie photos. It’s the same technology that made social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat more popular because of the integrated fun applications. One of the leading cosmetic chains, Sephora updated its app with a “virtual try-on” feature. This AR-enabled feature lets you try their make-up on your specific complexion.
AR in online games
Pokémon Go became an overnight success as soon as it was launched in 2016. The game hit its peak with attracting whopping 45 million users. This particular game has certainly strengthened the position of AR in the gaming industry. This particular game well demonstrated augmented reality’s potential that can be leveraged upon by mainstream culture. The futuristic AR games would be even more complex and advanced. Outside of the gaming world, AR applications are enormously being integrated across various industry spectrums including IT, fashion, tourism, retail, and e-commerce to name a few.
The location-based game Pokémon Go and Snapchat’s lenses introduced users with the idea of interacting with virtual objects through their smartphone camera. These are among the first significant examples of how AR is changing the way consumers see the world.
Pokémon Go had many shortcomings. For instance, the objects wouldn’t always stay in place if the user moved the camera. They did not really change in size based on the user’s distance from them. Those loopholes were however fixed later when Apple announced their iOS and ARKit.
ARKit is Apple’s augmented reality (AR) development platform for iOS mobile devices. ARKit allows developers to build high-detail AR experiences for iPad and iPhone. Environments captured through the device can have animated 3D virtual text, objects and characters added to them. AR scenes made by one individual are persistent and can be seen by others visiting the location later.
Apple further enhanced this cutting-edge technology. They enabled the developers with the correct set of tools to create better and more realistic AR experiences. Unlike previous versions, now the virtual objects that “augment” the reality are almost indistinguishable from the reality they’re dropped in.
Bringing products to virtual life
Perhaps the biggest commercial potential of the much improved AR is offering great virtual experiences to the customers. AR applications are now able to provide us with a better sense of scale. They enable us to closely evaluate products as if they were right in front of us.
Here is a commercial scenario –
A customer goes to the home interior shop to buy a sofa set for his home. He is wondering which particular piece would fit and compliment his living room.
With the help of augmented reality in retail, consumers like him can now better project a virtual version of the product into their own homes through their smartphone camera.
One of the best examples is Shopify – This brand worked with Magnolia and integrated ARKit into their native app. They created virtual 3D models of select products which projected much detail and realism, thereby letting customers visualize the chosen product from all profiles — whatever angle they wanted.
Stone Crandall, Digital Experience Manager at Magnolia had this to say,
“When people come to see us in Waco, we want to make sure every detail captures the true spirit of Magnolia. Not everyone is able to visit us in person, but it was still important to us that the finer details of the in-store experience come through for those shopping online and on-the-go—augmented reality makes that possible. With this technology, users can see our products up-close to examine the intricacies that make them special and unique,” Stone says. “We always want our guests to leave feeling inspired by what they’ve experienced, and thanks to the new Magnolia app, they’ll be able to do just that—no matter where they’re located—from the palm of their hands.”
This is only the beginning for AR applications
AR’s full potential is still far-off. With enterprises getting into digital transformation phase, the augmented reality applications are also on the verge of changing. The enhanced applications like Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore have given the developers the tools to blend the virtual and real world in a more seamless manner. And with smartphone camera features, customers are now having a great virtual experience with this game-changing technology.
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