Augmented reality and virtual reality are often confused. Let’s explain both in plain terms and examine some AR and VR use cases.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are often talked about in the same breath . AR and VR do share a lot of commonalities.
For people who’ve never actually seen an AR or VR device, it's very easy to assume everything is VR.
However, AR and VR today are two distinct thingsVR gets much more coverage.
Since AR and VR are not one and the same, they require different strategies for implementing these technologies in their organizations. Let's clarify the differences and look at some real-world examples.
AR vs. VR: Key differences
AR lets the user experience the real world, which has been digitally augmented or enhanced in some way. VR, on the other hand, removes the user from that real-world experience, replacing it with a completely simulated one.
Because VR requires complete immersion, VR devices shut out the physical world completely. The lens on the smart glasses that deliver AR capabilities, on the other hand, are transparent. Understanding these differences is critical in determining the best use cases for each.
Many people have already experienced virtual reality games, and VR is of growing importance for training and education in fields like medicine, engineering, and the sciences. Some of the world’s leading technology companies — including Microsoft, Sony, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Samsung — are spending heavily to develop VR equipment and applications.
In its simplest forms, virtual reality is experienced as 3D graphics, images, or 360-degree videos on computers or smartphones running mobile apps. More elaborate VR systems use wraparound computer displays or even entire rooms with high-resolution displays integrated into the walls.
AR vs. VR use cases
At a high level, AR applications are best suited for use cases where users need to be connected to and present in the real world. Some AR enterprise solutions include remote assistance, on-the-job training, remote collaboration, and computer-assisted tasks.
Research has found AR to be well-suited for industrial use cases, particularly workforce training and product maintenance. In particular, companies that are facing knowledge gaps and expertise loss as workers retire are capturing that knowledge and sharing it with less-experienced workers via AR tools.
Maintenance professionals create AR headsets to record and narrate their tasks – which will then be used to train new workers.
One example: Honeywell is dealing with an aging workforce. Instead of writing out training documents, its maintenance professionals created AR headsets to record and narrate their tasks – which will then be used to train mew workers in a hands-on but digitally assisted way. The company says workers trained in this fashion tend to retain 80 percent of what they’ve learned, compared to 20 to 30 percent when they read a manual.
VR applications are best suited for simulation or complete immersion: For example remote collaboration with 3D elements, point-of-view training, and virtual tours. The Johnson & Johnson Institute, for example, developed virtual reality software to improve training for orthopedic surgeons and nurses. Walmart uses VR to create both unlikely scenarios (such as weather emergencies) and common ones to give associates a first-hand training experience without disrupting operations.
During the next three to five years, AR and VR will continue to be applied in different ways. They serve different purposes and offer different value propositions. However, if wearables become more mainstream in the enterprise, these capabilities may converge more with time.
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