Companies are increasingly aware of the importance that technology represents in people’s lives and, for this reason, many are looking for new alternatives to attract the attention of their audience through digital transformation processes.
In this context, Augmented Reality can be of great help, since, in addition to being extremely efficient, it opens up infinite possibilities compared to other technologies.
The versatility of this resource allows it to be implemented on different occasions, in order to achieve different objectives.
But what is Augmented Reality? In this article, we explain its concept, characteristics and the advantages of its application in the different strategies of a business.
What is augmented reality?
Augmented Reality (AR) assigns the interaction between virtual environments and the physical world, allowing both to intermingle through a technological device such as webcams, mobile phones (IOS or Android), tablets, among others..
In other words, AR embeds virtual objects in the physical context and displays them to the user using the interface of the real environment with the support of technology. This resource has been revolutionizing the way we deal with our tasks (and even those we assign to machines).
In this way, we can affirm that Augmented Reality is characterized by:
- combine the real and virtual world;
- offer real-time interaction;
- adapt to the environment in which it is inserted;
- interact with all the physical capabilities of the environment (in three dimensions).
Have you noticed that we refer to Virtual Reality as an integral part of Augmented Reality? This is because AR and VR are two different concepts, although commonly confused, and in many cases they work together.
What are the differences between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality?
Although they have a very similar name, their characteristics and objectives are quite different.
While Virtual Reality creates a totally new environment detached from the real world, Augmented Reality includes digital components in the physical world around us..
Both require a technological intermediary to access them, however, they offer totally different experiences for users.
Virtual Reality replaces the “real” with 100% virtual content. This type of technology allows, for example, to enter games, scenarios and environments, where the user performs actions, moves and interacts with fully digital content, through complete immersion.
On the other hand, Augmented Reality projects information (such as images, graphics, characters, texts) in the real world, providing a new vision of physical space.
A practical example is the game Pokémon Go, which shows the characters that must be captured in the environment in which the user is playing, as if they were part of the place.
How does Augmented Reality work?
The integration between the real (physical) world and the virtual world is the main objective of this technology. Thus, for Augmented Reality to be reproduced, 3 fundamental components are needed:
- a real object that functions as a reference for the interpretation and creation of the virtual object.
- The presence of a device with a camera, such as a mobile phone, to transmit the image of the real object.
- A software responsible for interpreting the signal transmitted by the camera.
Through the camera, the real object is transmitted to the software, which receives the image and combines it with 3D projections.
In turn, the projections are inserted into the image and superimposed on the physical environment, reflecting the result of the AR to the user.
What advantages does Augmented Reality offer companies?
Although the most popular applications of Augmented Reality are, for the most part, intended for entertainment —such as games— companies from different segments (such as education, medicine, fashion, real estate, etc.) can also apply it, for example, in the development of their products and in their marketing strategies.
Augmented Reality creates many opportunities and can completely transform the way brands approach and engage with their consumers.
AR enables the customer to better interact with a productits properties, characteristics and details of operation, and in this way, you can get to know it better before purchasing it.
This allows the company to reduce its costs with the production of samples and reduce situations such as exchanges and returns.
In addition, it offers the customer new perspectives on the product, allowing them to use custom parameters to simulate their use and interaction.
Let’s see a practical example: imagine that you are looking for shoes on Google Shopping and you find an irresistible model, but, before clicking on “buy”, you would like to discover how it looks with some of your clothes.
Although it seems impossible, Google has already developed this type of Augmented Reality function through the use of the camera, as we show you in the image. The app is called Google Lens.
Despite being an example of one of the greatest global technological powers, many other companies, large, medium and small, are already investing in this type of AR.
Interactive Marketing Experience
Already when applied to Marketing, which can be traditional or digital, Augmented Reality strengthens the relationship between the public and the brand, conquers new customers and promotes a perception of an innovative company in front of the public.
A few years ago, National Geographic created an Augmented Reality app that surprised a lot of people in London.
The action turned a space inside a shopping center into a place where people could swim with dolphins, keep a pet cheetah or see dinosaurs walking among them.
Already in another more recent example, McDonalds developed an interactive advertising campaign, in which it applied gamification elements:
Including this type of technology in a Marketing action is an excellent way to:
- offer differentiated experiences,
- impact potential customers
- increase brand recognition (word of mouth marketing)
- and, as a consequence, close more sales.
4 examples of Augmented Reality for our daily life
It is not necessary to look too hard to find practical examples of Augmented Reality that can, and in many cases already are, applied in our routine. Whether for entertainment, optimizing tasks, facilitating processes, among others, AR is always present.
Next, we give you 4 practical examples of its use.
1. Application Filters
A perfect example of augmented reality that has gone viral is the SnapChat and Instagram filters.
The apps algorithm calculates landmarks in the camera image, based on thousands of previously collected photos. In this way, it manages to insert the “digital drawings” of the filters perfectly.
It then uses a kind of 3D mask to interpret the user’s movements, so even when we move or change position, the filter adapts to the scene in real time.
QR Code is an alternative to the traditional barcode. The label made up of black and white squares can store a lot of information, such as the origin and technical specifications of a product.
When the camera captures the image of the figure, the software “translates” that content. The result can be a text, an image or a link to a website.
Google’s translation app allows you to detect languages and translate words and phrases written on signs and plaques automatically, using a photo taken with your mobile phone’s camera.
A resource whose use is very simple, but which can be extremely useful in various situations.
And still on Google products, the Google Maps application also allows you to use Augmented Reality to receive navigation guidance on how to make a certain journey and get to a place.
The feature, called Live View, uses the mobile phone’s camera to project turn-by-turn directions onto the real world.
Augmented Reality is already a trend in various markets and is being used more and more by companies around the world, making the consumption of information and products more practical, easy and fast.
From what everything indicates, the use of AR technology will undoubtedly cause an even greater impact in the coming years, turning the shopping experience into an even more personalized experience.
Therefore, it is possible for the customer to become loyal to a brand that demonstrates efforts to turn a simple purchase into something fun and interactive.
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