Creating Immersive Experiences: Exploring AR and VR in Mobile App Development

Exploring AR and VR in Mobile App Development

To provide greater value, the mobile app development industry is constantly reinventing itself. One way of doing it is by providing a close physical experience for products and services. With the strengthening of internet connectivity across the globe, service providers came a lot closer to their target audience. However, they still lagged in terms of providing an equivalent or close to equivalent experience of a brick-and-mortar store.

With the inception of AR and VR technology, the possibility of providing a realistic product or service experience is slowly and steadily turning into a reality. These technologies also have the capacity to provide higher ROIs considering the content published by them is inherently immersive in nature.

To further extrapolate on this idea, we will be discussing these technologies via this article and their usability alongside mobile app development.

So, here we go…

What is Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)?

Augmented reality is a technology that allows artificial objects and elements to be simulated in a real-world or simulated environment. Several devices are using which AR technology can be used such as Mobile AR, AR kits, Smartglasses, AR headsets, AR Contact Lenses, etc.

Using this technology, the user can see and interact with these artificial objects and elements creating visual and auditory stimuli. Also, there are technologies such as HaptX that are gaining prominence and allow the user to feel sensory stimuli via microfluidic actuators while experiencing AR objects.

On the other hand, Virtual Reality is an artificial simulation of an entire environment. Using this technology, users can experience virtual tours, roller coaster rides, airplane simulations, and any other environment possible or imaginable.

Virtual reality can be experienced using VR headsets. These VR headsets are primarily of three types that are:

  • Tethered – These are tethered to a PC or laptop for experience the VR experience.
  • Standalone – These are wireless connected to systems and a complete all-in-one VR headset that include both components for both visual and auditory stimuli.
  • Smartphone VR – These are used by mounting a smartphone on the VR kit itself. They utilize a side-by-side display for the app using the gyroscope sensor.

Combination of AR and VR – For an Immersive Experience

There are numerous mobile applications currently in the market that are utilizing both of these technologies standalone as well as in combination. The great thing about utilizing the combination of AR and VR is that it enables app development companies a much more immersive experience. The users can both experience as well as interact with the virtual world. There is a term for the combination of AR and VR i.e. Mixed Reality.

There are several headsets in the market that allows the user to experience mixed reality such as:

  • Dell Visor
  • HP Reverb
  • Samsung Odyssey
  • Acer H101
  • HoloLens 2
  • Magic Leap Headset

Several aspects of mixed reality enable its users to experience the tools and apps developed for it with complete immersion. These are:

  • Understanding of the Environment: Mixed reality is capable of superimposing a virtual world over a real world.
  • Tracking of Human Motion & Inputs: It is equipped with sensors and a camera that can track human speech, movement, and other inputs for processing.
  • Spatial Sound: Mixed reality compatible headsets and the technology provide the experience of 360-audio creating a much more realistic and immersive experience.
  • Spatial Positioning: These mixed-reality headsets can detect the location and position of objects and provide a navigable experience.
  • 3D Elements: The user can experience 3D objects that are digitally created and rendered in the mixed-reality headset.

Benefits of using AR and VR for Mobile App Development

The combination of AR and VR aka mixed reality enhances the way users consume content to a level that feels natural and way more immersive. This is the reason multiple app makers are exploring the technology to improve their user experience.

Here are some benefits of using mixed reality to help you further understand the efficacy of the technology for app implementation:

  • Higher User Engagement: The application of MR places the user directly in a simulated environment governed by 2D and 3D objects. It increases the quality of experience, thereby, aiding in higher user satisfaction and retention.
  • Enhanced Learning and Training: There are multiple ways anyone can learn a skill. However, there isn’t anything better than experiencing it. MR bridges this gap by artificially simulating the learning environment and objects.
  • Innovative Experiences: Considering, the technology is still in its nascent stages, there can be many innovative experiences that can be created using it which can’t be replicated via traditional 2D and 3D apps.
  • Provides Novel Experience: Almost every person with a smartphone has experienced MR or anything between AR & VR in some shape or form. However, the combined experience of these two technologies remains novel.
  • Cheaper Options: There are dedicated standalone rigs for experiencing the technology. However, there are multiple cheaper options too in the form of Google Cardboard and other smartphone-based VR headsets.
  • Enhanced Quality of Content: Till now, we have only experienced content in 2D or 3D. However, with apps that use MR, we can simulate a 3D 360-degree environment for the user.
  • Detailed Demonstration: Normal PPTs only provide a two two-dimensional view of the product. However using MR, we can provide a 3D dimensional and even deconstruct the entire product.
  • Scalability: With cheaper devices to access the technology and the easy availability of smartphone devices, the apps created via MR can be scaled to reach every possible target audience.

Application of AR and VR in Mobile App Development

There are numerous applications of AR and VR in different industries that are revolutionizing the way users interact with content. Here are the applications of these technologies industry-wise:

1. Gaming

Pokemon Go is one of the biggest examples of the application of AR in the gaming industry. In this game, the gamer is required to roam around and catch as many Pokemons as possible. These Pokemon are situated in different locations and to catch them, the gamer has to be there. Aside from this, there are several other games and experiences that AR and VR provide to the user. For example, Ingress, Among Us VR, Hado, etc.

2. Education

AR and VR are promising technologies in the field of education. For instance, students can learn about human anatomy in detail without actually dissecting a cadaver, learn about historical artifacts, assemble automotive parts, etc. In the field of education, the application of mixed reality is simply limited by the imagination.

3. Training

Several driving schools utilize a simulation machine to initially make a new learner understand and become comfortable with gear patterns, and the ABCs (accelerator, brake, clutch) of driving. A similar application is also being used in flight schools and other similar places. The technology enables a much more realistic environment and is greatly beneficial for training purposes. For example, it is much safer for new pilots to practice first in a simulated environment and then sit inside an actual airplane after acquiring theoretical knowledge. This technology can also be used for learning complex surgeries.

4. Retail

IKEA is one of the best examples in retail to explain the capability of AR and VR in the industry. The IKEA apps AR allows customers to envision the furniture of their liking to be virtually placed in their home environment. There are multiple other brands that are using these technologies such as Nike, L’Oreal, Warby Parker, BMW, Tom, Asos, etc.

5. Architecture and Engineering

AR and VR combined in the industry of architecture and engineering allow the user to envision things that were never possible before. It is possible to create virtual tours of entire buildings without physically building them. There are also several tools and applications that enable the user to import 3D models, create virtual designs, produce floor plans, draft an architecture, etc.

6. Healthcare

There are numerous applications of AR and VR in the field of healthcare. We have previously extrapolated on its capability to aid surgeons’ training for surgeries. However, there are other applications as well such as generating 3D models for brain mapping, CT scans, angiograms, etc. The technology can even be used by therapists to provide patients with therapy simulating a real-like environment.

7. Manufacturing

Manufacturing comprises multiple operations and workflows. By using AR and VR technology, the employees can be provided with relevant training to improve efficiency and safety. Adding to it, the tech also allows the user to simulate the dangers of the environment and can be trained with best practices. There are several use cases for which AR and VR can be utilized such as:

  • Handling complex assemblies
  • Assuring the quality of the product
  • Handling the logistics
  • Training employees for maintenance and repair
  • Handling the design and development of the product

AR and VR  Applications – Most Popular Apps

The AR and VR industry is populated with multiple engaging applications. However, to inspire, we have mentioned the most popular AR VR Apps. These are:

  • Pokemon Go (Gaming)
  • Wanna Kicks (Retail)
  • Magic Plan (Architecture and Engineering)
  • Beat Saber (Gaming)
  • Half-Life: Alyx VR App (Gaming)
  • Embodied Labs (Healthcare)
  • Jigspace (Education)

Wrapping Up!

AR & VR are already mainstream technologies and are often recommended by IT consulting services for new tech enablement. However, once technologies like Metaverse become more prominent, we’d be seeing a new reinforced way of consuming content and conducting communication via AR and VR tech. The combination of AR and VR has the capability to bridge the brick & mortar experience for online e-commerce platforms. It has the potential to provide a close physical experience to the users. The combination has the capacity to entice customers, gratify them, and hold them with a higher immersive experience.

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