Virtual reality and augmented reality - closely related, yet different. And when we talk about their impact on enterprises, the distinction is significant.
Virtual reality creates a simulated three-dimensional world. With the help of motion-tracking and detailed graphics, one is immersed into a virtual world away from reality. In simple words, it transforms a real world into a simulated one.
Augmented reality provides a composite or a modified view of real world to the user with the help of a layered computer-generated image. It enhances the real-world with the help of computer-generated sensory inputs.
Any entrepreneurial project that starts anticipates an end-product or service. Changes that are required in the later stages torment the development team and those closely related. What if we could anticipate changes much before the development process began? It might sound as a pleasant fantasy far from reality. Not anymore! With Virtual reality and augmented reality this is completely possible. Virtual reality can make a virtual end-product, while augmented reality can simulate the process. For example, a house is planned to be built. Both Virtual reality and augmented reality can help us see a virtual end-product of the house as a three-dimensional image much before actual work has started. This allows for hassle-free transformations with the design of our house. Needless to say, it can improve decision making immensely. Similarly, Virtual reality and augmented reality can provide limitless benefits in various industries from manufacturing to corporate communications, medical sciences to education, from defense to scientific research, 3d-modelling to sales and marketing, so on and so forth. People situated in different parts of the world can participate in a conference. With the help of Virtual reality and augmented reality, a virtual world can be created to simulate a meeting in which everyone is present together.
Where's the difference?
Both Virtual reality and augmented reality immerses us into a simulated world. But, it is the way and extent to which this immersion takes place that makes the difference. Augmented reality immerses us, however, the connection with the real world is not lost completely. It is only enriched by the modifications produced by the virtual objects around. Virtual reality takes us away from the real world into a completely virtual world. While Virtual reality recreates the real world, augmented reality overlays the real world.
Virtual Reality versus Augmented Reality for Enterprise
Modelling - Systems and products are built on the basis of a model that is formed at the starting phases of the project. Virtual reality can help in enhancing the modeling activity by creating a virtual end-product based on the model. One can also try out various options that might be available and seem equally applicable to the system. For example, from the model of a car, a virtual end-product can be made and several colors can be tried out to find which one would go best with it.
Education and research - Apart from theoretical learning, practical training and testing is the key area of education and research. We cannot, however, perform testing and training in every case due to its hazards or due to impracticality or any other reason. For example, a medical practitioner cannot determine the impact of a drug that is still under study, for its safety by directly testing it on human beings. Similarly, the area of impact of an explosive under study cannot be determined by directly launching it to explode. In such cases, an amalgamation of Virtual reality and augmented reality can provide ground-breaking success.
Sales and Marketing - Sales people are the ones looked upon with utmost skepticism. "Who knows what he's selling would turn out tomorrow morning?" Not anymore with Virtual reality and augmented reality. You can see what the end-product would be with the help of that headset that takes you to a different world or more precisely, future world. In marketing, augmented reality helps to create interactive marketing strategies, from documents to whitepaper, collaterals, advertisements, etc. augmented reality apps can help the sales people by allowing them to demonstrate their product from a remote location.
Communications - Face to face business is not possible always. In our small world connected by Internet, enterprises may now and then require to communicate with a remote client, located seven seas apart. Virtual reality can make business activities such as meetings, presentations, conferences, etc. more realistic. For example, you may be sitting physically on your couch with a headset and yet be present virtually at the presentation that your boss is giving.
The portability of augmented reality makes it a popular technology. It can reside in the smartphone of a user and provide an interactive experience. Virtual reality leads you to a new world of simulation with the headset. Both these technologies can have colossal impact on business. To a world obsessed with "Who's/What's best?" it is important to realize the fact that one should not look upon these two technologies differently all the time. Sometimes, in unison, Virtual reality and augmented reality can lead enterprises to reap benefits monumentally.