How to use Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality and 360-degree video for your business?

Reality technologies are not exactly the latest topic. Although there is still a lot of myths and misunderstandings about their application and purpose. No matter how is your personal approach ignoring their potential can be a huge mistake. In the article you’ll get to know the differences between Virtual, Augmented, Mixed Reality. We will also give a few words about 360-degree videos and show its practical use relevant to the business needs.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality is definitely the most popular term that has been a scoop since many years. And the hype about VR is not going to fade away because of its wide range of possibilities both for scientific and entertainment value. But what exactly is Virtual Reality?
It is digitally generated environment in three-dimensional space that has to replicate the real experience. It appeals to human senses like
  • vision

  • hearing

  • touch.

The more senses are involved, the more spectacular impression is created. Another important thing to get the whole image of VR potential is an opportunity to interact and manipulate the objects.
Immersion is exactly a feeling of physical presence in the artificial world. According to its level we can find the three types of Virtual Reality:
  • non-immersive the most basic system that uses the smallest number of VR attributes. The hardware requirements are not so demanding. The non-immersive VR works even with high-resolution monitor for displaying and a keyboard or a mice to control

  • semi-immersive –  it is a system that let the user dive into a digital environment a little deeper. It creates a feeling of partial immersion. It is frequently implemented in flight simulators.

  • Fully-immersive –the highest level of immersion possible to achieve. It requires the dedicated equipment such as head-mounted displays. The perspective is very close to that created by the human brain because of the point of view changes. It’s a greatest benefit of this technology.

There are many fields where the Virtual Reality can be used:

  • medical sciences and healthcare – interactive training courses, anxiety disorders healing, VR diagnostics

  • computer aided design process

  • flight simulators, bootcamps for the military

  • art

  • entertainment – games, interactive exhibitions and performances

  • business – interactive training courses, presenting destinations and buildings

  • marketing

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality can be described as a real world view with the overlaying digitally modeled objects – data, images or videos. The technology is accessible to mobile devices. The AR applications use the camera to recognize the environment and the augmented image is presenting on the screen. You can also use the headsets or smart glasses to experience Augmented Reality.
Of course, that kind of technology seems to be very attractive and entertaining. It is only the tip of the iceberg. Implementing AR will bring the satisfying results, that is gladly used by the experts in the fields such as:
  • sales e.g. IKEA Place app for iOS, Visualizer app launched by Akzo Nobel that let the users check if the paint fits the interior
  • promotion and advertising
  • navigation – for example Compass 360 – an application that shows the geographic directions from the spot that you are standing with a live preview
  • medicine, repairs and any areas that the displaying instructions are helpful
  • entertainment – one of the most famous apps using AR is obviously Pokemon Go

Mixed Reality

Mixed Reality sometimes also called the Hybrid Reality. It is not as famous as VR but its popularity, as well as Augmented Reality, is increasing. It is a combination of the real and virtual environment. The user can interact in real time with computer generated objects anchored to the existing environment. And, what is more interesting, this two kinds of worlds can interact each other. There are two types of Mixed Reality worth mentioning:

  • starting with the real world with the synthetic content that appears on it

  • starting with the virtual environment that can displace the real world. The main difference between the system and VR is the overlapping of real and digital generated objects.

Let’s focus on the most important matters to understand the power of Mixed Reality:

  • SLAM stands for simultaneous location and mapping that is essential for calculation where one is located in the real world. SLAM allows to create the environments map and monitor the person movement.

  • Image recognition is, obviously, about identiyifing the objects and their features that are able for a person to interact with.

For business purpose, the educational and communication aspects of MR are worth noticing in the first place. Firstly, it allows people to gain some knowledge benefiting from the real and digital environment. All with the use of holograms that make the whole learning process more complex. It is also useful for manufacturing and quality management. How does it work? Holographic instruction or the flow can be displayed while the workers keep carrying out their duties. That reduces the chance of making a mistake.
When it comes to the communications, Mixed Reality can be useful for remote working teams. One of the benefits being the improvement in their cooperation conditions.
The last pretty immersive technique that you cannot miss is a bit different from the previous ones. And it is especially attractive for video marketing. You have probably heard about 360-degree video. That kind of videos place the watcher in the center of the action. It gives him a possibility to look in any direction, just like in the real life, to get the whole view. It is a great experience that stands out from all standard videos.
In comparison with above-mentioned reality techniques, there is a huge advantage on the spherical video side. It’s quite accessible. For the creators and for the audience. Video makers are not forced to introduce very advanced and complicated technology. Omnidirectional camera or specific lens are enough to provide the material. Nonetheless, preparing 360-degree video is a challenge. The effect of showing the full spherical perspective needs a fresh and flexible approach to the filming process.
The market offers the equipment like the headsets for 360-degree watching. Although the fast development of mobile devices make it convenient to use the smartphone instead. That circumstance encourage companies to provide the content that can be widely spread.

Spherical videos can be used in:

  • video tourism to present the locations, destinations and objects such as museums, galleries or a zoo.

  • sales – giving the extraordinary buying experience

  • showing the adventures of extremal sports

  • automotive

  • events promotion

There are just a couple of sample cases but the immersive videos create an opportunity to tell a story in a new remarkable way. It increases the level of the audience emotional engagement and helps to catch the attention. That’s why 360-degree technique is expected to be a bright future for the video marketing.

Final thoughts

To sum up, let’s highlight the biggest differences between VR, AR and MR:

  • the environment in Virtual Reality is digitally generated in total
  • Augmented Reality combines the real existing world with virtual elements
  • Mixed Reality, similarily to AR, share the features from real and digital environment but it also gives a possibility to interact with the objects
So we’ve described it all – Virtual, Augmented, Mixed Reality, as well as 360-degree videos. There is no doubt that by using these technologies for business reasons is both time-consuming and pricey. And there are many challenges that we have to face. Especially while incorporating them into the company’s strategy.
There’s no doubt that VR is still considered as the most powerful and promising. Although AR and MX have the same or even bigger potential for living up to the expectations of our demanding society.

Which of these techniques do you find the most promising?

Don’t hesitate to share your insight in the comments below!

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