Who will be victorious? Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality?
Ever since we as humans created and left the industrial revolution, technology has been an integral part of how we live our lives. Back in the day there was a war between Edison and Tesla which has come to be known as “The war of the currents”. Edison created an electrical system called Direct Current (DC) and Tesla created Alternating Current (AC).
We know that with AC the range of transmission was so much greater that it proved to be the more viable, and cheapest option to take. In this case there was a clear winner in the electrical war.
Since then though there have been many more tech battles, with big corporations crying for attention to use their products over another. It’s not all about who’s technology is better though. It all comes down to user adoption. We as consumers have more power than you think.
Lets Get On With The Show…
Before I talk some more on why a technology reigns supreme, I’d like to take this opportunity to go a bit more into a bit more depth about virtual reality and augmented reality. Virtual reality has been around for ages, anyone remember The Lawnmower Man? 1992 was a great year. Those out of school summers were the best.
Anyway, I digress, while not wanting to spoil the plot of the film for people who are now dying to see it, the point here is that the film studio used virtual reality as its focus point, it was one of the first uses of VR in a commercial setting. At the time of writing this film is 29 years old, it’s fair to say it’s not new technology.
So what is Virtual reality?
Virtual reality uses a headset the user places on top of their bonce so that their vision is completely covered by the view of the headset. They are then immersed in the new environment, the headset doesn’t alter reality in any way but it provides the user with a sense of depth compared to their usual vision. The user has the ability to look around in a full 3 Dimensional space making it appear that they are in their new world.
Most virtual reality kits come with some kind of joystick or gloves so that the user will still be able to use their meat sticks inside to interact with the environment in a regular way. In many cases it is an extremely immersive experience. When you’ve finished reading head, check out these clips of people really enjoying VR.
Why would virtual reality be useful in real life? Imagine a high street fashion brand looking to fit out a new shop they’re looking at buying or renting, the dimensions can be plugged in and designed and a virtual shop can be created to simulate how things would look in real life.
Another example where virtual reality is used already in in a military capacity, virtual reality can simulate training environments without the need to actually be there, a huge benefit of using the technology is a massive reduction in costs.
Tell me about Augmented Reality.
Augmented reality is an interactive experience using your own real world environment which can be enhanced by computer generated information. So in the case below, my super cute kitty Baloo was totally unaware that this pokemon was about to pounce. How AR differs from VR is that it blends the real world with the digital in order to enhance it.
Google captured the imaginations of folk across the globe a few years back with their contraption Google Glass which i’m sure everyone will vaguely remember how much of a flop it was at the time. They then decided it wasn’t best suited for everyday people to be walking round and have redesigned the whole thing to be used in certain sectors. How can this be helpful in a real word environment though?
Tourism can take advantage of such technology. Guided bus tours can enhance details to capture the users attention, overlaying the real world with the digital allows the user to interact with the application to provide rich context about the tour they’re taking.
The gaming industry has already had some degree of success with AR already. Think Pokemon Go and you’ll know exactly what I mean about a rich immersive world. Pokemon Go captured the attention of tens of millions of people when it was released back in 2016, even I was walking around the local parks with my step-sons trying to capture beasts in tiny red and white balls.
Not too long ago, there was another secret battle taking place in the DVD realm. We as users had the choice between HD or Bluray. We all know how that turned out because no-one remembers HD. There’s 5 different types of people in technology adoption:
- Early Adopters
- Early Majority
- Late Majority
Innovators make up 2.5% of user adoption, they are the first to adopt new technologies and are not afraid to take risks.
Early Adopters make up 13.5% of adopters, they care about progressing their lives in terms of adopting a new technology to make their lives easier/better.
Early Majority make up 34% of the group, they tend to be slower in the adoption process and will usually wait to see how a technology fares and if other people are adopting it before implementing and committing to the technology.
Late Majority also make up another 34% of the group, these people tend to be skeptical about new innovations and technology.
Laggards take up the last 16% of people, advanced in age and will generally only adopt a new technology in one of two scenarios:
- There is no alternative
- They are being penalised for not using the new technology in some way.
As 64% of the bulk of people taken up by the Early and Late Majority of people, it’s almost down to them who gets to choose which technology will come out on top whenever there are tech battles like this.
In the case of winning a tech war, it’s all about how the end user perceives their new technology, how much theyre willing to pay for something that enhances their prodictivity or life in general.
Who’s going to come out on top?
There’s no clear winner at the minute, despite virtual reality being around for decades, its still in it’s infancy. Surrounding factors like computing power are holding back its full potential.
Augmented reality doesn’t require such energy draining resources and is readily available in many different platforms despite being a much younger competitor. Still, it doesn’t mean that it’s quickly going to topple Virtual reality. If you’re not aware, quantum computing is just around the corner.
But thats for another blog post.
I also wrote my first Embryo post last month, go on, treat yourself. Have a look.