When it was introduced, augmented reality technology was not specifically designed for mobile devices, but it is already becoming an increasing trend. Some analysts even predict an astonishing speed of progress of this technology and its use in mobile applications, claiming that in just a few years 2021 will be considered the “stone era” in its development.
It is interesting to note that augmented reality is not new – the first AR mobile application dates back ten years. However, the boom came only in 2016 with the success of Pokemon Go- the game that started the current trend. We can now talk about this technology as a factor in the development of mobile applications, for four main reasons – much faster processors, better cameras and higher quality displays on smartphones and tablets, as well as higher speeds of mobile internet connection.
This technology requires the processing of a huge amount of data in seconds and mobile smart devices are already advanced enough to respond on this. It can already be argued that mobile 4G connectivity is widespread globally, and 5G technology, which is considered fundamental to the operation of augmented reality mobile applications, was made available to consumers in early 2018.
What to expect from AR in the future? Let’s look at how augmented reality can change different areas of people’s lives when integrated into mobile applications. We will look at the main categories in which it is believed that there will be the greatest practical application – trade, tourism, business and education, but first let’s get acquainted with the technology a little closer.
What is augmented reality?
This technology adds virtual objects or holograms to the real environment in real time. In this way the so-called enrichment is obtained. Let’s take the example of the game Pokemon Go. When you turn on the mobile application, it automatically launches the rear camera of the smartphone, which really shows what is around you. AR technology comes into play and “stacks” Pokemon in different places in the “perimeter”. GPS and Google Maps are also used for this purpose. This technology can be used not only for entertainment.
Augmented Reality to Increase Sales in Commerce
The rapid evolution of E-Commerce and the increasing availability of the technologies needed to make it possible allow many companies in various fields to sell goods online. Another evolutionary point to note is that already 61% of online shoppers use their smart mobile devices for this purpose. At the same time, it remains difficult to fill the gap between online shopping and a real store, despite the availability of high-quality photos, detailed product descriptions and even videos showing how the items are used. Augmented reality offers an effective solution.
AR technology embedded in a mobile application creates an interactive environment in which users can try products virtually. Many cosmetic brands already have successful applications that allow ladies to see how they will look with different types of makeup. The so-called magic mirrors use a system with algorithms that allows accurate facial recognition when using the smartphone’s camera. The system focuses on a large number of facial points, expressions and head positions in order to realistically show the vision that is obtained with a specific combination of makeup.
This principle can be successfully applied in the online trade of clothes, shoes and accessories. Customers can try out how an item fits them and be more confident when making a purchase. This will significantly reduce the number of returned goods and the associated costs. Also, furniture companies could take advantage of augmented reality mobile applications to show their customers how different furniture would look in their home.
Augmented reality mobile applications do not need to be limited to online shopping. There are already successful examples of their work in real stores. Consumers can “scan” various products they see to view online ratings for them or learn more about the brand. Companies that use this type of application in online and live commerce claim that the user experience and engagement are improving tremendously, and this leads to higher sales.
Innovations in tourism based on AR technology
Towards a coin, tourism is emerging as the economic sphere in which the opportunities for using augmented reality are the more and more diverse. At the same time, it is in tourism that the use and supply of mobile applications is one of the biggest growths.
Hotels, restaurants, spas and other similar establishments can offer a virtual tour with personalized elements, which will give potential customers an idea of what awaits them through their mobile applications. This gives a huge additional motivation to consumers to make a reservation. New facilities, products and services can also be promoted through augmented reality. Of course, the apps themselves can offer much more, such as virtual discount vouchers, customer cards and a digital card payment option.
Mobile applications can be created to play the role of next-generation virtual guides. With the addition of AR technology, guidance becomes much easier and more effective, as people will see direction signs imposed on the real environment in which they find themselves. The use of public transport, especially in a foreign country, can also be greatly facilitated, as when scanning a stop with a smartphone, the numbers of the lines that pass through it appear, as well as how long you will have to wait for the next car on each of them. You can do this even from a greater distance, for greater convenience. When scanning landmarks with your smartphone, you can get information about historical events and people related to them directly, and when you scan the landmarks, reviews about them will appear.
With specially designed AR mobile translation applications you will never feel lost wherever you are. With their help you can read road and any other signs, information boards at ticket offices and attractions, as well as menus in restaurants. You just need to turn on the appropriate application and place your smartphone on the appropriate object, and modern technology will do the rest.
Applying augmented reality in business activities
Each company can create its own mobile application for “internal use”, which will increase the efficiency of employees. It can also use AR technology to support certain activities. Here are some guidelines in which this idea is already developing.
Augmented reality can make maintenance professionals more efficient by directly presenting manuals when needed. Specialists will be able to see diagrams and instructions that are imposed directly on the machines and equipment that need to be inspected or repaired. Here we must note that the use of accessories, such as specially designed glasses, would increase productivity further.
In many industries, augmented reality is already used in product design. This technology is mainly used in the construction of complex machines with many parts, such as cars. In most cases, it is used by superimposing different components on a layout. Thus, they can be organized together and changed and improved individually.
Augmented Reality at the Service of Education
In the near future, students may be provided with mobile applications that allow them to study the details of three-dimensional models in a real environment. These can be prototypes of various devices, models of species and buildings and much more. Imagine, for example, how medical students study the organs and tissues in the human body using various virtual models that can be easily manipulated.
The use of AR technology in education has several significant benefits. First of all, it increases the effectiveness of learning, as each student can use the learning mobile application when needed. In most cases, the cost of creating virtual prototypes and models is lower compared to building and using real ones. These new educational tools can be used not only by schools, universities and related institutions, but also by the business to train new staff.
In 2020, we witnessed the emergence of many innovative mobile applications using augmented reality, as well as hardware products that can increase the efficiency of this technology additionally. In 2021 we can expect it to develop with even greater speed and in new directions. As we mentioned at the beginning, it is expected to progress extremely fast and very soon to become an integral part of our lives and work.
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