1. What is the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality

Over the years, with technological advancement at its high, reality is no longer real. Its fundamentals have been fragmented to create two new versions of reality. Contrasting reality in its very element, first came virtual reality, away from what is known and far from what is considered to be real to open a portal into a ???parallel universe??? where all that can be imagined can be real.

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By definition, virtual reality (VR) is a term that applies to computer-simulated environments that can simulate physical presence in places in the real world, as well as in imaginary worlds. It had its time, especially in the 1990s, perhaps culminating with Second Life in the decade that just closed. But with the rise of the digital era, it really has lost its glory. It??™s more like ???been there, done that??? now. People have already moved onto the next ???big??? thing that technology have to offer ??“ augmented reality.

Augmented Reality (AR) is an environment? where a real life is enhanced by virtual elements in real time.? The purpose of AR is to enhance the information we naturally receive through our five senses, by adding superimposed, constructed virtual elements to bring complementary information and meaning that may not be possible to see by natural means.? 

Although the transition between virtual and augmented reality all blurs at one point with reality itself, given the growing usage and popularity, but they can still be differentiated. There are certain key elements that distinguish the two.

* Augmented reality embeds digital information into real-world contexts, while virtual reality creates digital contexts that behave in ways that mimic real-world analogues.

* When you engage augmented reality, you are engaging an ordinary place, space, thing or event in a way that is partly unmediated (your 5 senses engage non-digital objects). ? An additional information appliance also helps you access digital media objects related to at place, space, thing or event, so part of your overall experience is digital. ? Its a blended experience. On the other hand, when you engage virtual reality, your whole sensorium engages digital objects in a digital environment – its all media. ? Typically, its immersive, so you have a 1st-person view of it, and objects in this context are arrayed in all three spatial dimensions, so you move around in them.

* Both realities differ in their uses and interpretations. Augmented reality hosts several applications like Layar, Tagwhat, Junaio, Wikitude, etc., that aim towards learning, more specifically in terms of maps and GPS. The Microsoft Kinect is by far one of the most successful in the gaming arena, featuring AR in its systems.? Social virtual worlds like Second Life or Small-Worlds are virtual reality environments, as are some persistent-world MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and Heroes of Newearth amongst the most popular. ? Museums also sometimes feature virtual reality kiosks or simulations as exhibits, which are believed to make the educational tours, especially for children a lot more interactive and interesting.

Interestingly, the generic museum experience itself is kind of like AR – there are real-world objects in the space, but you find out about them by seeing labels attached to them, or by listening to audio that is synchronized to each object on a tour. ? Museum-ology may provide some theoretical underpinnings for AR design. But that just goes to show how each of the segments of reality itself are integrated and merged into the very fabric of our existence in the world today, as we move forward in the age of scientific and futuristic development.

2. Why is augmented reality so appealing to marketers

In times like this, every sale is crucial to every business. That??™s probably why most firms have their marketing department striving for creative innovation in any way possible. Like they say, desperate times call for desperate measures, and marketers nowadays are willing to try anything that becomes a trend in the market. It is the up-and-coming technology that holds a promising future for those who give it a shot.

The hope for marketers is that augmented reality will engage an audience more deeply than other forms of social media, such as viral videos, fan pages on Facebook, or Twitter followings. The total market for augmented reality is expected to hit $350 million in 2014, up from about $6 million in 2008, according to ABI Research. Of the total five years from now, almost $170 million will come from mobile augmented reality advertising. But it??™s not all just talk; augmented reality shows tremendous prospect in terms of marketing and its appeal to the consumers.

* The novelty factor of such applications will obviously wear off as more and more are created and used, but for the meantime, the priority for the brands is to make the most of this exciting technology and its USPs. The possibilities of augmented reality are only just being explored, and any new developments are likely to achieve further exposure.
* The concept of uploading one??™s own media, such as the image in the above examples, helps to create a highly personalized piece of media for the user. It relates specifically to them, which is likely to be far more engaging than a standard video or image.
* The novelty factor mentioned above will surely enhance users??™ desire to share their creation with their extended networks, and the fact that the content is personalized will only add to this.
* It??™s likely that the vast majority of users wouldn??™t possess the ability or expertise to create a complex video like the ones indicated in the examples above; augmented reality apps allow users to create a quality piece of content that they wouldn??™t otherwise be able to create themselves.
* As well as being high quality, the content created by augmented reality applications is highly entertaining and in many cases fun. The element of surprise that is achieved when sharing such content makes for very entertaining viewing by other users, stimulating them to create their own version and share it once again, completing the viral loop.

Augmented reality holds potential for a wide range of industrial and consumer uses, but marketing projects are one of the few areas where augmented reality tech companies are doing steady business today. The face that it can be infused into an existing website, being fairly inexpensive, and the new ???big??? thing at that, its rapid growth is only to be expected.

3. What makes augmented reality useful for real estate shopping applications

Augmented reality in real estates basically uses the technology to enhance the convenience for house-hunters on-the-go at any geographical location using their mobile devices. Users can hold up their GPS-enabled phone in a neighborhood and open the app and the phone screen shows surrounding house information, sales data and listing agent contact info.

Augmented reality is proven to be a really creative way to give context to a neighborhood or to a house and be a part of the lifestyle marketing toolbox many brokers are seeking as their marketing angle. It not only makes shopping in real estate a lot more convenient, in terms of all the information being available right at your fingertips, but it even allows it to be information, interactive, and interesting as an experience of being on the hunt to buy a home.
The ultimate winner in the augmented reality game will likely be whichever developer pulls together multiple sources like YouTube, Gowalla, FourSquare, Twitter, Facebook Places, Google Places, and others that give full context to peoples??™ surroundings, a key element missing in the current augmented reality world. The current state of augmented reality is relatively fragmented and users have to download a new app for every layer they wish to see.
Currently, real estate is focused on QR codes and the like and most are missing the boat when it comes to augmented reality, mostly based on pricing for development, not to mention the invasion of privacy issues as details about any particular house is readily available to anyone, anytime, anywhere, but the rise of augmented reality is making the price point more within reach of major brokerages, so it will be interesting to watch its growth in the real estate industry in coming years.

4. Suggest some other knowledge work applications for augmented reality.

With augmented reality being the future today, it is no wonder that developers are keen on creating numerous different applications for multiple uses, many of which are knowledge based, either informational or educational.

Learning is one of the most attractive forms of using augmented reality, whether it be through detailed maps with personalized information, historical data from geological locations, or encyclopedic knowledge about objects, materials, etc.

In the business sector, consumer reviews on products and services could be a promising aspect of utilizing the means of augmented reality. Yelp was one of the first to accomplish that, where users could simply point the device at a location and read reviews about the nearby restaurants with ratings. Beer maker, Stella Artois, has even developed an augmented reality application that allows people to locate bars selling their brews nearby.

Tourism is another industry that can benefit immensely from the use of augmented reality applications. Tour guides can be virtualized with entailing details about the history, culture, food, travellers??™ spots, etc. just by pointing the mobile device at a location upon visiting a foreign country or new place. Hotels, car rents, guides, etc. could also be enlisted there with quick links for consumers??™ convenience.

Language interpretation and translation could also benefit from applications using augmented reality, where foreigners can cope up with the different languages, whether that is in case of a menu to order from or a street sign to navigate with.

Many other industries such as gaming, automotive, and designer wear, are all harnessing the benefits augmented reality has to offer, making it their next move towards the digital future, where hardly anything will be left manual, even if it is web browsing. The introduction of artificial intelligence in applications like Siri are a proof of just that ??“ the world is headed to the future, the very one that we only see through movies in virtual reality.


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