Most people have probably heard about it, and maybe even used a device or application that use augmented reality (or AR) but what do you really know about it – I’m talking about what it is, how it is used, and why it is used.
Augmented Reality for Dummies
Augmented reality is precisely that: an augmentation of real things. In practical terms, it's a view of the real, physical world, with digital elements overlaid in an effort to modify reality. Ultimately, it is the integration of digital information with a user’s physical environment.
You may have heard the term virtual reality in the past – but, this isn't the same thing. The difference between the two is that VR creates a completely new, digital environment, and does not use the real world at all.
Augmented reality programs typically use a smartphone’s GPS to pinpoint a user’s precise location, then use other gesture and object recognition technologies to pull up digital information about the world around them.
Many years ago, AR wasn’t really a thing outside of certain niches – and even then, it was highly specialized. However, it's becoming much more mainstream, beyond just the tech industry.
Why Augment Reality?
The app already has over 26 million daily active users. It is truly taking over the iTunes and Google Play Store; the AR element on the app was a definitive part of making this app a success.
Augmented Reality can be used in industries all across the board. Some industries that have already adopted this new technology are: retail, travel, healthcare, education, and automotive.
AR in the future means that the second that we lay our eyes on something (or someone), we could instantly gain access to copious amounts of information on the subject. It could be used to gather information on our surroundings, no matter the location.
This technology could very soon be integrated into our everyday lives. Although AR may only be trending in the gaming and entertainment space, the gaming/entertainment industry will account for less than 50 percent of the software market in the years to come.
This means that AR will become much more mainstream in other industries, as shown by the graph below:
AR Is Here to Stay
AR is here to stay. More likely than not, AR will become a part of nearly every major industry, touching all of us in one way or another. And that’s a good thing.
AR has the potential to benefit us all, considering the degree to which it can simplify common tasks. The possibilities are endless, and yes, a little frightening. But the potential for quality of life improvement is profound, and hard to ignore.