What is Augmented Reality & How Could it be Used in Business?

Augmented reality is, without doubt, one of the more exciting technologies of the future. Over the coming years, we are likely to see it appear in many different forms that help with real use cases in a vast amount of areas, whether it’s educational institutions, construction, manufacturing, sports, the medical industry or even just at home in your living room. You can check out five examples of AR that really impressed the Appoly development team.

When Apple released iOS 11 back in September 2017 with ARKit it gave developers access to new tools and capabilities in millions of handsets. Google followed suit with its interpretation with ARCore, which allows select Android handsets to have AR capabilities.

Why then, is it so misunderstood?


The Difference Between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

One of the main areas of confusion regarding augmented reality is the association it is often given to virtual reality. There is, however, a distinct difference between the two. Virtual reality places you in a completely virtual environment using screens, headsets, bodysuits etc. This is a different function to AR, which contains a mixture of your real-world environment and virtual objects.

To summarise:

Virtual RealityCompletely virtual environment.

Augmented RealityVirtual objects in a real-world environment.


How Does Augmented Reality Work?

In the case of a mobile application, it uses the cameras of the device to map out an environment. A key part is recognising where the walls and floor are, establishing the basic geometry of the space.

There are already many different systems and creative ways for augmented reality to work. Let’s explore a few of them:

  • Projectors – One of the most famous examples of augmented reality being used in media would have to be the Princess Leia hologram in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. While augmented reality and hologram technology aren’t completely the same, this example does give a good idea of what projection AR is like. Projector based AR is a very good option due to the fact that it cuts out the need for screens and can be 3D.


  • Marker AR – Marker AR uses a marker-based system, so you place markers such as dots, an image or a QR code onto the location that you’d like your virtual object to appear on and using a camera or image recognition the AR software will detect these markers and know where to place the virtual object.


  • Markerless AR – Markerless AR is one of the most commonly implemented forms of augmented reality, this is because it uses location sensors like as GPS and accelerometers, such as the ones built into most smartphones in order to detect your location and place the virtual object using that information.


  • Superimposed Augmented Reality – Superimposition AR is another fairly common form of AR which can partially or completely alter a real-world view with one that is partially superimposed (such as individual items added to the real view) or completely superimposed, where the whole image is a superimposed version of your real-world view.


How Could Augmented Reality be Used in the Real-World?

As AR technology advances further, it is sure to be picked up for some very interesting real-world uses. There are many industries that could stand to benefit from the advancement of this impressive technology in various ways.

A few examples of industries that could benefit from augmented reality technology are:

  • The Medical Industry – Augmented reality technology could be a great tool in training medical staff without putting any patients at risk, this is a great use of the technology since AR objects are fully interactive and the circumstances are easily changed in order to test medical students in various situations.


  • The Furniture Industry – For furniture companies and other home improvement companies alike, augmented reality is a great idea. Customers will be able to augment virtual furniture into their homes and choose which pieces they’d like to buy based on how it looks when augmented into their desired space.


  • Educational Institutions – The ways in which augmented reality technology could help in education are vast. Whether the technology is used to teach art, science, graphic design, it is clear to see how educational institutes could benefit in numerous ways from AR technology.


Contact Appoly for Augmented Reality Development

At Appoly we offer augmented reality software development services, if you’re looking to be a step ahead of the game with your business’ technology and processes, get in touch and we can discuss your potential augmented reality project.


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