Mobile App Development: The rise of augmented and virtual reality apps

Augmented and Virtual Reality is poised to become a part of our everyday experience. Investors are pouring money into start-ups as they recognise the potential that this technology has to transform not only how we live in our world but also how we conduct business.

But let’s take a step back and properly define what we are talking about. Mobile application development concerns application software for mobile devices. This includes phones, tablets, and wearables – headsets, goggles, watches, jewellery, fitness trackers, and intelligent clothing.

Virtual Reality (VR) in essence is a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment. This environment can be explored; you can interact with it; and you can manipulate it. The obvious applications of VR are found in the billion-dollar entertainment industry, especially immersive films and gaming. There are many more uses for virtual reality however such as in architecture, engineering, medicine, and in the military. Users can gain real world experience in a risk free environment.

Augmented Reality (AR) is superimposing digital information on the reality we see to provide a new and composite view. Whilst VR places a person in a world detached from reality, AR provides the user with additional information to be used within their reality.

At the moment VR and AR technology is centred on hardware such as AR capability in smartphones and headsets. Many pundits predict, however, that new technologies will take over from smartphones. This could include goggles, contact lenses or smart glasses. In this scenario the whole world becomes your stage instead of you staring at a small phone screen.

So, what is the potential for VR and AR applications?

Goldman Sachs predicts that by 2025 this industry will be worth $80 billion a year. This will comprise of $35 billion in software and $45 billion in hardware.

Video games, live events and video entertainment are set to dominate this sector but there are also many applications in healthcare, business, education and enterprise.

Hot AR and VR apps

The AR app that brought this technology into mainstream consciousness has to be Pokémon Go. This app is said to have 500 million downloads with 20 million daily users. The average daily time that users are active on this app is 26 minutes. To date the app has generated $1 billion in revenue.

Snapchat is another wildly popular AR app. It allows one to overlay 3D stickers over real time pictures. It has captured the imagination of all those that love selfies, from the age of 3 and upwards.

The Ikea app enables customers to see how a piece of furniture will look in their own home. The app scales against a piece of paper to place the desired piece of furniture in your room. Try before you buy. You can make sure the colour is going to work and it is actually going to fit in the room.

The new reality

Augmented Reality is much more than just Pokémon Go. Companies and marketers are waking up to the possibilities that this technology presents.

  1. Brand awareness: It can be used as a means of raising brand awareness. This can be done by creating an experience of the brand itself. It is also possible to maximise exposure of your company when it is mentioned or presented in an AR app. With geo-location, an app can suggest the best place to go for a meal, have a drink, see a movie, or get the latest special.
  2. Customer experience: With this technology it is possible to create a whole new and enhanced experience for your customer. Explore the store from the comfort of your home; buy online from within the shop. Enable your shoppers to interact with your products and experience them in their own home. Try on new clothes, make-up, eyewear or a new hairstyle without ever stepping foot in a store. This is the potential that AR presents.
  3. Healthcare: In the field of healthcare, AR and VR present many opportunities. These vary from applications as diverse as apps that assist new mothers with breastfeeding to those that help surgeons with complex operations.
  4. Architecture: Architects can bring their floor plans to life as homeowners explore their new home. Clients can access the vision of the architect and can experience how it would be to live in the imagined space.
  5. Education: In the classroom, AR and VR offer many opportunities. How much richer is learning when it is possible to have a first hand experience of an event? History can come alive; Geography is no longer theoretical; Physical forces can be experienced; Art and Design can be completely engaging; and Language and Culture can be accessible.

Future forward

AR is in the very early stages of its development. It has high barriers to entry as at present it is too expensive for mass uptake, and the technology is still cumbersome. Millions are being invested however, and companies are racing to establish dominance in the industry. It is only a matter of time before VR and AR become part of our mainstream experience and are accessible. Ignore the potential that these technologies present for your business at your peril, and risk becoming obsolete.

At Indivirtual, we transform businesses through digital experiences: contact us today to explore how to incorporate AR and VR into your business.

About Indivirtual
Indivirtual are a Dubai based Digital Agency. We are proud to work with some of the largest and most prestigious companies in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East.

As a Sitecore Gold Implementation Partner, Indivirtual can help you to make sure you get the best out of Sitecore CMS, and the Sitecore Experience Platform.

As a full service digital agency, Indivirtual offer Sitecore consultancy, strategic planning, UX and creative design, maintenance, migration, support, training and analytics analysis.