Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have a great deal in common. They’re both emerging technologies, they both utilize exciting new hardware and software, and they’re both brimming with endless possibilities for creative applications.
But when push comes to shove, you will need to decide which eggs you place in which baskets in 2018 and beyond. Do you opt for the immersion and excitement of VR? Or do you explore accessible Augmented Reality investment opportunities instead?
VR has potential, there’s no doubt about that, but AR is backed by real numbers. And this makes it the obvious choice for the immediate future. In short, if given the choice between AR and VR, you should invest in Augmented Reality.
Here are a few reasons why:
1. AR is here, and it’s ready to roll
There are plenty of VR headsets on the market today, but the number of users just doesn’t match up. For Virtual Reality to fully breakthrough and enter the mainstream, it needs to go beyond the niche product it is today. As it stands, VR is predominantly being sold as a gaming product, with a number of obstacles to mass market success – notably issues with motion sickness. Until improvements are made and the hardware becomes more intuitive and affordable, VR will remain the domain of enthusiastic early adopters.
In contrast to this, Augmented Reality doesn’t require a mainstream adoption of new technology to succeed; millions of people worldwide already possess the necessary hardware to use AR. The modern smartphone is primed and ready to roll when it comes to AR applications.
And this fact hasn’t escaped two of the biggest names in tech today: Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook.
Zuckerberg’s Facebook does appear to be playing the odds with a major VR investment (it bought Oculus in 2014 for a whopping $2bn), but that doesn’t mean he’s overlooked the potential of AR. He recently announced that the camera would become the first mainstream AR platform at the most recent F8 developer conference in San Jose.
Meanwhile, Tim Cook is on record as saying that Augmented Reality is as big an idea as the smartphone, and recent iOS innovations certainly add weight to this assertion.
2. AR is being used every day, by millions of people
Both Zuckerberg and Cook see a big future for AR. And while the more complex applications are still around a decade away, this hasn’t stopped Augmented Reality from being used each and every day by smartphone users worldwide.
Even those who aren’t quite clued up on the ins and outs of AR will likely be familiar with Pokémon GO and Snapchat. It’s little wonder that Instagram’s parent company Facebook is actively introducing AR features to its properties.
In fact, Pokémon GO bypassed $1.2bn in revenue and 750 million downloads by the summer of 2017. It exists today as the benchmark for AR app success, but the potential of AR goes far beyond gaming and entertainment. It will likely shape the future of ecommerce, while handy apps such as Google Translate have been complemented with clever AR features that add a great deal of value to the user experience.
3. AR already has investors, and they’re huge
Sometimes it pays to follow the leaders, and in the case of Augmented Reality investment opportunities, you’d be wise to replicate the biggest names in tech.
As discussed, Facebook are actively following up their VR play with AR technologies to stake their claim in a combined market expected to be worth in excess of $215bn by 2021. But it’s not just Zuckerberg’s social media behemoth that’s making moves in the AR space.
Google has launched Project Tango and ARcore, allowing developers to create AR experiences on Android smartphones and tablets. Moving forward, these devices will have AR capabilities built-in from the outset.
And hot on the heels of Google’s AR play, Apple announced the inclusion of ARKit as part of the most recent iOS update. This developer tool was announced at the most recent WWDC with the intention of transforming iOS into the largest AR platform on the planet.
So, if you were previously indecisive about investing in Augmented Reality, the fact that Facebook, Google, and Apple are all very much ‘in’ should tip the balance.
In Summary – VR vs AR Investment
There are of course plenty of reasons why you should invest in Virtual Reality. But for the here and now, VR is likely a more attractive proposition for B2B organizations rather than B2C.
VR has a growing reputation in various B2B industries, such as military and medical training, and of course there’s no shortage of investment in either of those spheres. But widespread consumer adoption is still a long way off due to the fact that VR requires users be tethered to a computer and a physical location. This might make it ideal for serious gamers, but beyond this it’s difficult to know where VR fits with passive technology consumers.
On the other hand, Augmented Reality is – as discussed – already widely available. And in addition to its accessibility, AR is also relatively affordable when compared with VR. Producing VR applications is still an expensive endeavour, and the necessary investment doesn’t always guarantee quality.
Add this to the fact that VR hardware is still largely unproven and it’s clear to see that VR investment is still something of a crapshoot for small and medium-sized enterprises. Of course, this isn’t to say that developing an AR app is easy, or indeed cheap. But thanks to the 400 million iOS11 users, it’s fair to say that it’s certainly less risky. With a ready-made distribution channel, companies investing in AR won’t be left waiting for an engaged customer base to take an interest in their product.
Ready to Invest? AppReal Can Help
If you’re ready to take the leap and invest in Augmented Reality, you’ll need a talented development team to lead the way. And with a talented team of AR app developers ready to help, AppReal can bring your AR idea to life.
We’re well-versed in both Apple’s ARKit and Android’s ARCore, and we’ve kept our fingers firmly on the pulse of the fast-moving AR industry. In short, your AR app will be in good hands.
Our team has unrivalled industry experience in custom app development, working across a range of diverse industries. We’ll be there every step of the way, guiding your idea from concept to completion, ultimately producing an AR application that will excite and engage your customers, and make your industry sit up and take note.
Now is the time to bet big on Augmented Reality. Join the biggest movers and shakers in tech and embrace AR with AppReal. Contact us today to speak with one of our AR app development experts.