Augmented Reality (AR)

Definition

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive technology that overlays computer-generated digital elements onto the real world in real-time. These elements can be visual, auditory, or even haptic (touch-based), creating an enhanced and enriched user experience. AR utilizes cameras, sensors, and software to track the user’s environment and seamlessly blend digital content within it.

Examples:
Retail (B2C): A furniture store offers an AR app that allows customers to virtually place furniture pieces in their homes before purchasing. They can see how a couch would look in their living room or how a lamp would fit on a specific table, all from their smartphones.
Digital Commerce (eCommerce) (B2B): An industrial equipment supplier uses AR to provide remote maintenance assistance. A technician wearing AR glasses can see the equipment through their lens with superimposed digital instructions or visualizations, allowing them to guide a customer on-site through repairs without needing to be physically present.

Types

There are different approaches to experiencing AR, but they generally fall into two categories:

Marker-based AR:
Requires scanning a specific image or object with a device to trigger the AR experience.

Markerless AR:
Uses environmental recognition and real-time mapping to overlay AR content onto the physical world without needing a specific marker.

Benefits

Enhanced Visualization:
AR allows users to see and interact with digital information in a more intuitive and immersive way compared to traditional 2D displays.

Improved Decision Making:
AR applications can provide valuable data and visualizations, allowing users to make more informed decisions, such as product purchases or maintenance procedures.

Increased Engagement:
AR can create engaging and interactive experiences that capture user attention and improve brand recall.

Remote Assistance:
AR facilitates remote collaboration and troubleshooting by allowing technicians to visualize and interact with equipment through a technician’s device on-site.

For example, an AR app for trying on makeup virtually can increase customer engagement and sales in the cosmetics industry. Users can experiment with different looks and color combinations before purchasing products, leading to a more satisfying shopping experience.

Related Glossary

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