Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are currently generating tremendous interest around the world because they open up far-reaching possibilities for marketing, brand development, entertainment, and gaming. Since they’re similar in many ways, these two technologies are often confused with one another. In actuality, they have distinct differences that make them more like cousins than twins. Check out this comprehensive comparison between AR and VR.

What Is AR?

AR plate
Image via Flickr by jeanbaptisteparis

AR is a combination of the physical world and computer-generated virtual elements. The virtual elements are projected over actual physical surfaces so that the two will enhance one another. One example of the use of AR is the display of score overlays on a telecasted sports game. AR blends digital content into the real world using a smartphone, desktop, headset, or other devices. Since it’s accessible via common devices such as mobile phones, it’s highly usable for retail, movies, and games.

What Is VR?

49467767318_c407bfe2ea.jpg
Image via Flickr by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

VR refers to a computer-generated simulation of another world or reality. It creates simulations that shut out the physical world and immerse viewers in the alternate world. One good example of VR is the deceptively realistic virtual-reality setting in “The Matrix,” a hugely popular futuristic action movie released in 1999. VR is mainly used in 3D movies and video games, but it has also been applied to education, training, and science. In some cases, it uses visual, auditory, and tactile stimulation to create a more immersive constructed reality. It typically requires the use of a special VR headset.

What Are the Differences Between AR and VR?

The main differences between AR and VR are as follow:

  • AR augments real-world scenes, whereas VR creates a completely immersive virtual environment.
  • AR allows its users to continually experience a sense of presence in the physical world, while VR controls its users’ visual experiences.
  • AR inserts virtual objects into the real world, while VR generates an entirely fictional world.
  • AR enhances both the actual and virtual worlds, whereas VR enhances only the simulated environment in a game or movie.
  • AR doesn’t require a headset, while VR generally involves using a special VR headset.

How Are AR and VR Being Used in the Real World?

In today’s fast-changing world, businesses need to constantly stay up to date with the latest technologies to maintain a competitive edge. As such, an increasing number of companies have begun to adopt AR and VR for a wide range of purposes, from staff training to marketing. Discover the real-life use cases of AR and VR.

Uses of AR

  • Retail: In recent years, shoppers have been increasingly using their smartphones to look for product information and compare prices. Famous motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson is one of the brands that has been taking advantage of this trend. Harley developed an AR app that its customers can use in-store. This app allows its users to view specific motorcycle models in different colors and with different features so that they’ll know exactly how they want to customize their bikes.
  • Tourism: AR makes it possible for travel companies and agents to give their potential customers an immersive experience of their preferred destinations before they travel. Now, travelers can take virtual “walkabouts” in the cities or towns they plan to visit or enjoy virtual tours of museums, art galleries, shopping areas, and other attractions.
  • Maintenance and repair: AR is also widely used for maintaining and repairing complex equipment. Whether they’re working on an MRI machine or car engine, maintenance and repair technicians can use AR headsets and glasses to get a wide range of useful information on the spot, such as suggested fixes and potential problem areas.

Uses of VR

  • Fashion: VR technology enables fashion retailers to create virtual simulations of store environments before they start building their new stores, helping them prevent costly mistakes and changes. In addition, popular brands such as Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, and Coach have begun using VR to allow their customers to virtually try on clothes and enjoy a 360-degree experience of fashion shows.
  • Education: More and more schools are realizing that VR can help students learn more effectively. The technology gives students the opportunity to interact with one another in a three-dimensional environment, go back in time to different eras, and even take a tour of the solar system.
  • Sport: VR is also revolutionizing the sports industry. Players and coaches can use VR to make training more efficient as they’re able to view and experience specific situations repeatedly. Also, sports broadcasters are starting to stream live games in VR to give fans who can’t afford to attend live sports events the chance to watch their favorite teams play in real time.

AR vs. VR: Which Is Better for Businesses?

Understanding the differences between AR and VR can also help businesses make the right choice between them. Basically, AR is more suitable for businesses that prefer to interact with their customers without completely taking them away from the real world. Companies that sell physical products such as furniture and cars will find AR a truly beneficial tool. By providing an AR experience, they can help their customers visualize how specific products will look in their homes or with certain customizations, which can speed up the buying decision process.

VR, on the other hand, is most valuable to businesses that offer VR experiences as their main products, such as gaming, entertainment, and tech companies. In this case, its value is in its ability to immerse users in an alternate world that provides a unique and entertaining experience. Businesses that aren’t in the entertainment or tech industry can use VR as a marketing tool to stand out from their competitors. They can use VR in many ways to improve customer engagement, such as virtual stores and showrooms, virtual stories about certain products, and virtual demos.While they have their differences, AR and VR are both expected to see rapid adoption in the near future. If you want to stay ahead of your competition, consider working with Dom & Tom to develop cutting-edge AR and VR applications for your company. Contact us today to propel your business into the future.

Never miss a thing!

Enter your Name & Email below to get the latest Dom & Tom posts in one convenient newsletter!

Get Started Today 👋

Let's Talk