Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are transforming the world. From playing Pokemon Go on a smartphone to wearing a VR headset as part of a fun, exciting in-store shopping experience, AR and VR empower individuals to engage with one another and the world around them never like before.
You don’t need to be a tech wiz to enjoy AR and VR technologies, either. Innovators worldwide are using AR and VR technologies to help people, young and old, enjoy unprecedented experiences from any location, at any time.
AR and VR technologies are constantly evolving, and these technologies may lead to new applications in the foreseeable future.
Now, let’s take a look at these Six innovative AR and VR applications that could reshape the world.
1. Sporting Events
Imagine what it would be like to feel the roar of the crowd as your favorite football team scores a touchdown – all without having to leave the comfort of your home. Soon enough, AR and VR technologies could transform this vision into reality.
NBC aired more than 50 hours of live VR coverage during the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. VR headset users could explore 360° virtual environments, access team and athlete stats, and other data, and stream 3D audio throughout the Winter Games. Meanwhile, smartphone and tablet users could enjoy 360° and 180° live Winter Games video experiences via the NBC Sports VR app.
At the 2018 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles, NBA All-Stars Anthony Davis and Bradley Beal showed off the power of “mixed-reality” technologies. Davis and Beal wore black-out goggles with a headset-mounted camera that streamed video back to the goggles. Next, the duo launched virtual free throws and three-point shots as part of a one-of-a-kind mixed-reality experience.
5G low latency Goggles take the center court with Anthony Davis and Bradley Beal
Of course, the aforementioned examples highlight just two of the potential applications of AR and VR technologies in sporting events.
Virtually every major sports league has invested in AR and VR technologies thus far. As these technologies improve, expect sporting events to become more interactive and engaging, regardless of where and when you watch them.
U.S. families spend an average of $2,100 annually on vacation transportation costs, according to ValuePenguin. Yet these families may have to deal with flight delays, traffic, construction, inclement weather, and other travel problems during their trips.
Thanks to AR and VR technologies, you can explore the world at a fraction of the cost of a typical vacation. These technologies also ensure you won’t have to worry about packing luggage, dealing with long flights, or other travel issues.
Many museums and visitor bureaus are already using AR and VR technologies to connect with tourists. The American Museum of Natural History, for example, recently introduced the “Skin and Bones” app for visitors. The app enabled guests to overlay their smartphone on a “Bones” exhibit skeleton inside the museum. Then, guests could see what the creature would look like if it were still alive.
AR tours are gaining momentum, too. Tourists wear smart glasses that display 3D holograms, videos, and pictures in conjunction with real-world art, artifacts, architecture, and landscapes during these tours.
Today, tourists can enjoy AR tours of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, James Monroe’s Highland home, and other historical landmarks. As tourism boards search for ways to deliver unparalleled guest experiences, the push for AR tours may increase accordingly.
Remember when you needed to go to a mall to find and buy apparel, electronics, and other items and accessories? AR and VR technologies are quickly making those days distant memories for shoppers.
VR headsets make it possible for shoppers to check out a store’s inventory and try different apparel and accessories any time they choose. Plus, retailers can use AR and VR technologies to keep shoppers up to date about promotions – something that could lead to increased sales.
Artificial intelligence (AI) could play a key role in using AR and VR to deliver exceptional shopping experiences.
For example, a retailer can use AI tools to learn about a shopper and analyze his or her purchases over time. A retailer then can identify a shopper’s preferences and offer custom AR- and VR-based discounts to this individual. As a result, a retailer can provide a shopper with a personalized and memorable AR or VR shopping experience and differentiate itself from the competition.
4. Home Decorating
Let’s face it – no one wants to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on home dÃ©cor that fails to impress. Fortunately, AR and VR technologies make it simple for you to see what a couch, dining table, or other furniture or home decor looks like in your house before you buy it.
Consider the Houzz app for iOS and Android devices. This interior design app gives you the ability to place virtual furniture and home decor inside your living space. That way, you can take a first-hand look at assorted furniture and home decor in your house and determine whether it matches your personal style.
Houzz is just one of several AR- and VR-based home decorating apps available to novice and expert interior designers.
AR- and VR-based interior design apps like Homestyler, Members, and IKEA Place are available to help you take the guesswork out of decorating a house. Perhaps best of all, most of these apps are available free of charge and enable you to quickly and effortlessly decorate your home; however, you choose.
5. Car Design and Manufacturing
With AR and VR technologies, automakers can speed up and improve their design and manufacturing efforts.
Ford uses Microsoft HoloLens VR technology to visualize full-scale models in 3D. The company’s engineers can work in a 3D environment and manipulate all aspects of a virtual model. Thus, if an engineer wants to see what a model would look like in a specific color or material, he or she can use HoloLens VR technology to do just that.
AR and VR technologies simultaneously eliminate the need for automotive engineers to build expensive models from scratch and accelerate the design and manufacturing processes. Most importantly, these technologies foster innovation and ensure automotive engineers can optimize a model’s style and performance before it goes into production.
If you want to set up a garden or keep your lawn looking great day after day, AR and VR technologies may be ideal. To better understand why this may be the case, just consider landscape contractors.
In the past, landscape contractors often were forced to invest significant time and resources to use landscape estimating software. They then needed to learn how to use this software to create 3D renderings for prospects and clients.
Today’s landscape contractors can use AR and VR technologies as budget-friendly and effective alternatives to landscape estimating software. These technologies help landscape contractors superimpose a 3D rendering over a real-world setting. As such, they enable landscape contractors to show prospects and customers exactly what it will take to achieve an awe-inspiring garden and lawn.
Microsoft HoloLens: Partner Spotlight with Ford
The Bottom Line: AR and VR Technologies Are Here to Stay
Don’t expect the demand for AR and VR technologies to slow down any time soon. The global AR and VR market is projected to be worth $27 billion this year, International Data Corp (IDC) predicts. Furthermore, IDC projects this sector will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 71.6% between 2017 and 2022.
Clearly, there is a lot to like about AR and VR technologies. Keep an eye out for these technologies, and you are sure to find innovative ways to integrate them into your everyday activities.
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