What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is one of the biggest technology trends right now, and it’s only going to get bigger as AR ready smartphones and other devices become more accessible around the world. AR let us see the real-life environment right in front of us—trees swaying in the park, dogs chasing balls, kids playing soccer—with a digital augmentation overlaid on it. For example, a pterodactyl might be seen landing in the trees, the dogs could be mingling with their cartoon counterparts, and the kids could be seen kicking past an alien spacecraft on their way to score a goal.

The basic idea of augmented reality is to superimpose graphics, audio, and other sensory enhancements over a real-world environment in real-time. Sounds pretty simple. Besides, haven't television networks been doing that with graphics for decades? However, augmented reality is more advanced than any technology you've seen in television broadcasts, although some new TV effects come close, such as RACEf/x and the super-imposed first down line on televised U.S. football games, both created by Sportvision. But these systems display graphics for only one point of view. Next-generation augmented-reality systems will display graphics for each viewer's perspective.

Limitations and the Future of Augmented Reality

Augmented reality still has some challenges to overcome. For instance, people may not want to rely on their smartphones, which often have small screens on which to superimpose information. For that reason, wearable devices like augmented-reality capable contact lenses and glasses will provide users with more convenient, expansive views of the world around them. Screen real estate will no longer be an issue. In the near future, you may be able to play a real-time strategy game on your computer, or you can invite a friend over, put on your AR glasses, and play on the tabletop in front of you.

There is such a thing as too much information. Just as smartphone and internet addictions are concerns, an overreliance on augmented reality could mean that people are missing out on what's right in front of them. Some people may prefer to use their AR iPhone applications rather than an experienced tour guide, even though a tour guide may be able to offer a level of interaction, and experience, and a personal touch unavailable in a computer program. And there are times when a real plaque on a building is preferable to a virtual one, which would be accessible only by people with certain technologies.

Getting started with Augmented Reality

You can start AR by building an app. An AR app operates in the following four basic steps:

  1. Image input. real-world digital content is captured using input devices such as the smartphone camera. For wine labels, one option is to scan the barcode. However, many apps enable customers to just take a snapshot of the bottle’s label.
  2. Image processing and computer vision. The input image is aligned and oriented using image processing algorithms. It may need some additional colors or lighting adjustments. Next, a computer vision module is triggered, which may use a template matching or machine learning module to interpret the image of the physical world. In the case of wine, the brand and type have to be recognized. Additionally, the bottle label may have some characters picturized on it which would be identified by this module.
  3. Synthetic content generation: Generate or retrieve the digital synthetic content targeted for the user based on the recognized input image. In the case of the wine industry, various apps react in different ways to the input images. Some may bring the characters to life and start narrating their stories or some may initiate choreographed images of dancers or relate poetic content. In many instances, the synthetic content is already stored on a web server or local machine and is retrieved in real-time.
  4. Rendering Phase. This stage has synthetic content superimposed with the image of the real world and presented to the user.

Best Augmented Reality Apps for Android and iOS in 2020

  • Houzz.
  • IKEA Place.
  • YouCam Makeup.
  • GIPHY World.
  • Google Lens.
  • Augment.
  • ROAR.
  • Amikasa.

Augmented Reality Benefits For Business

AR brings together a new way of information sharing and interaction capabilities that ultimately, help address the business requirements better. It is a blend of the physical and the virtual worlds, with the real-world elements. It augments the computer-generated perceptual information to render immersive experiences. The information may be in the form of sound, video, graphics, and more. Owing to its fantastic educative and marketing potential, it can accelerate many business operations. Further, it can create new ways to promote products or enable learning new activities, facilitate the work of specialists, and lead to cost savings.

  • Improved Information: One of the pros of augmented reality apps is that it provides the user with additional information on the product, space, and material in real-time. For instance, developing augmented reality applications helps the retail industry by allowing consumers to retrieve valuable information about the product’s characteristics, its use, availability, and more.
  • Easy Visualization: AR makes it possible to visualize an object in a personalized context. The consumer or user can modify its characteristics (size or color) or observe it under all its seams. One of the early adopters of this visualization skill into practice was the fashion industry. It helped traders and even the end customer to connect with the benefit of the offering instantly.
    AR also has the potential to revolutionize the Real Estate Industry by offering the best way to visualize property through augmented 3D models. Learn more about the benefits of augmented reality for the real estate industry that enables improve the interaction between the realtor and the customers.
  • Unique User Experiences: Another significant advantage of augmented reality apps is that it provides the opportunity for consumers to make well-informed buying decisions anywhere and anytime. Alternatively, in situations where users are self-reliant, without assistance or real-time information, augmented reality adds value to a buying process. On a merchant site, it can create interactions that would not have existed, otherwise, between a customer and a seller.
  • Improve Brand Awareness and Image: Technological innovations are always popular with users and potential customers. A company or brand that chooses to use augmented reality applications still has the upper hand to gain visibility into their business. Augmented Reality stands to be one of the driving forces behind the Marketing and Advertising industry as it helps attract new customers and retain the existing ones.
  • Competitive Differentiation: Augmented reality apps have emerged as a new way to reach a more technophile audience, to differentiate the business from the competition, and above all to introduce and communicate a new service. Further, it helps infuse the brand proposition in the memory of the users. AR, thus, becomes an essential sales tool. It makes the brand more attractive and upscale. Learn more about how AR helps companies from the retail & e-commerce industry to create differentiation and drive business growth.