Discovering the Difference Between VR, MR and AR
Star Trek introduced us to the Holodeck, and X-Men introduced us to the Danger Room. These rooms were designed to catapult our favorite heroes into a re-creation of reality with some sort of catch—often for escapism or training under duress.
It was a fun sci-fi future that amused viewers. But as technology continues its forward progress, consumers aren’t far removed from these once fantastical ideas.
Retailers and real estate agents continue to find new implementation strategies for VR, AR and MR. With devices such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, VR can be used to sell anything from furniture to houses.
Virtual Reality has proved to be more than a fad, it is becoming a large part of retail and gaming trends.
What is Virtual Reality (VR)
Using CGI graphics and special headsets, consumers can be transported into different worlds. Or, they can tour a house with their real estate agent present. VR is also entering the retail world. Buy+ is experimenting with VR as a means of enhancing the shopping experience. Ikea and even Lowe’s have been dabbling with incorporating VR into their consumer experience as well.
And it is catching on. A week after its debut, Buy+ had seen 8 million users engage with the platform. While the novelty may seem like the driving factor, the convenience of the VR shopping experience can’t be overlooked.
What is Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented Reality relies on special technology, usually in the form of a smartphone or tablet, to let users engage with digital elements in the real world.
Pokémon GO is the most common example of AR at work. Players could walk around their favorite spots, and while using their phone they could encounter and engage with the popular creatures from the game. And though Pokémon GO has lost a bit of steam, AR doesn’t look to be slowing.
Apple’s iOS 11 introduced an AR-enabled system. And stores like Ikea and Target have incorporated the technology into their shopping experiences as well—to varying degrees of success. Users can use their smart device to look at how furniture can be laid out and moved around in their home before purchasing it.
What is Mixed Reality (MR)
Mixed Reality marries the technology of AR and VR to let digital projections interact with real-world objects. As Medium points out, “An example would be if you placed a virtual object (a cup for example) onto a real-world object (a table). The cup would remain in that same position as you walk or change locations.”
MR is being incorporated in many of the same ways as VR and AR. It is also being used in education. The HoloLens from Microsoft is being developed to let students explore and study their own body in a real-time, 3-dimensional experience.
The Reality of the Matter
CNBC reported that “more than $11 billion” is expected to be spent on VR headsets and accessories in the coming years. And while it doesn’t look like we’ve seen the full realization of what VR can offer, it is becoming more common in different arenas—from marketing and education to real estate and ecommerce.
Petra does carry a variety of headsets that you can offer to your customers.
The rise of VR is a trend we will continue to keep an eye on as it looks to have a far-reaching impact we can all benefit from.