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VR vs Augmented Reality: Which One Is Best For Your Business Idea?

If you are an entrepreneur or a senior leader in an enterprise business then you are likely already keenly exploring Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). Both of these technologies can add significant value to your business.

I have elaborated several VR use cases in “Benefits of building a VR app for your employees”. At the same time, AR offers many benefits too, as I have explained in “The ultimate guide to choosing the right enterprise AR solution”.

Given their strengths and drawbacks, you must weight up the differences between VR vs Augmented Reality to best decide which one is best for your business.

In this guide, I will explain exactly what these differences are to help you make the most informed decision. Read on!

Contents

A brief introduction to VR and AR
The growing global market for VR and AR
What is the key difference between VR and AR?
Choosing between VR vs Augmented Reality for your business idea
Planning to unlock business value with VR or AR?

A brief introduction to VR and AR

Let’s start with a brief overview of VR and AR. VR is a technology, however, the phrase “Virtual Reality” also refers to the environment it creates for users. This promising technology uses a combination of computer hardware and software to create an immersive experience for users.

When users put on their VR headsets, they temporarily suspend their connection with the physical world and. They experience a 3D simulated world, moreover, they also receive realistic responses to their actions in a VR environment. You can read more about VR in “What is virtual reality?”.

On the other hand, AR utilizes the physical environment of a user and integrates digital information with it. AR apps use special 3D programs, and they recognize visual cues from the physical environment.

Subsequently, they superimpose contextual digital information on the image of the real environment. Read more about AR in “augmented reality (AR)”.

The growing global market for VR and AR

VR and AR have a growing market, and the following market research reports illustrate this:

 

What is the key difference between VR and AR?

While both VR and AR are highly popular technologies, there is a key difference between them. You need to consider this difference when choosing between augmented reality vs virtual reality.

VR completely absorbs users into a virtual environment, and users suspend their contacts with the real environment. The simulated environment created by VR software and hardware also responds to users’ actions, which further creates an immersive experience for users.

On the other hand, AR doesn’t eliminate the physical environment from the experience of a user. It superimposes digital content on the physical environment, which is a key difference from VR. Read more about it in “Demystifying the virtual reality landscape”.

Choosing between VR vs Augmented Reality for your business idea

Should you opt for a virtual reality app development project or is developing augmented reality apps a better idea for your business? You need to pick the technology that serves your requirements better, therefore, you need to analyze key VR and AR use cases and compare your requirements with them. We will do so shortly, however, let us review the generic decision-making factors first.

Apart from the use case in question, you need to consider the following when choosing between augmented reality vs virtual reality:

1. Finding virtual reality developers vs finding augmented reality developers

Both VR and AR have a growing market, therefore, you could find it hard to hire developers. You should factor in the following considerations:

2. Finding the right tools for developing virtual reality or augmented reality apps

You can expedite your project by using the right tools. The good news is that there are several robust development tools for developing VR or AR apps, e.g.:

3. Choosing the right managed cloud services provider

Whether you choose augmented reality vs virtual reality, you need to find the right managed cloud services provider. I recommend AWS since it offers several advantages:

  • Amazon Sumerian is a great tool for both AR and VR development, and it integrates well with AWS managed cloud services.
  • AWS has excellent cloud capabilities.
  • If you only want Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), then you can sign-up for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).
  • AWS offers a robust Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) platform called AWS Elastic Beanstalk, which can help with web app development.
  • It also has AWS Amplify, which is a Mobile-Backend-as-a-Service platform that can expedite mobile app development.
  • AWS has robust integration between its various offerings, making life easier for development teams.

4. Budget

Both VR and AR are affordable technologies, however, there will be minor differences when you estimate a virtual reality vs an augmented reality app development project. When you estimate an AR development project, you need to consider the costs of development manpower, infrastructure, and tools. There could be other administrative costs too.

Estimating a VR application development project will involve the same cost components, however, there could be some variances. You can read more about it in “How much does it cost to build a VR app?”.

Your business requirement: The key consideration to choose between VR vs AR

You need to analyze your business requirement to choose between VR and AR. A review of VR view cases vs those of AR would help, so let’s do that now.

Key use cases of VR

Prominent use cases of VR are as follows:

1. Virtual reality in healthcare

The healthcare industry uses VR in many different ways, e.g.:

  • VR simulators in healthcare industry help to impart training to doctors and nurses. Doctors and nurses have complex jobs that require hands-on training, however, such training is expensive. Simulators can help significantly, and I have explained this in “How to build a VR simulator for your healthcare business”.
  • Doctors often use VR in diagnostics.
  • Hospitals deploy VR for virtual robotic surgery, which combines human expertise and a robotic device to reduce the time taken for surgeries. You can read more about this in “Virtual reality in healthcare”.

2. Virtual reality in manufacturing

There are several use cases of VR in the manufacturing industry, e.g.:

  • The technology enables enterprises to design complex products, and this is especially helpful in the automobile, defense, and aerospace sectors. Engineers can prototype products easily with VR.
  • VR can help in designing workplace layouts in the manufacturing industry, which helps enterprises to avoid safety hazards.
  • Remote maintenance and servicing of equipment is another VR use case in the manufacturing industry.
  • Many manufacturing jobs are complex, and providing hands-on training can be costly. VR helps to reduce the training cost for manufacturing companies.

You can read “Application of virtual reality in manufacturing” for more insights.

3. Virtual reality for improved efficiency in the workplace

VR can bring about improved efficiency in the workplace in the following ways:

  • Apart from facilitating on-the-job training and product prototyping, VR can help to improve the workflow in a complex environment.
  • You can use VR to better manage meetings involving distributed teams and remote employees.
  • VR rooms can facilitate employees in an organization to collaborate better.

You can read more about this in “Using VR chatrooms to manage your remote employees”.

4. VR in sales and marketing

Enterprises can significantly improve their sales and marketing with the help of VR, e.g.:

  • They can create VR-powered demos that help their customers get hands-on feel about their product.
  • Marketers in the travel and tourism industry can use VR to give a feel of the destination to the potential tourists.
  • Beauty and fashion brands can use VR to provide tips about beauty and promote their events.
  • Home improvement brands can use virtual reality to help customers that want to take a DIY approach for home improvement.

You can read more about these in “9 VR marketing examples that you’ll want to steal for 2019”.

Prominent AR use cases

There are various prominent AR use cases, therefore, let’s review a few.

1. AR in retail

Retailers can use AR to create a virtual shopping experience for their customers. Customers can try out their products using AR-powered apps running on their smartphones, and you can read more about this in “Tech industry analysts and visionaries say augmented reality will revolutionize business.”.

2. AR in gaming

AR has widespread use in the gaming sector, and the popularity of Pokémon Go illustrates that. Players find AR-powered games very engaging, therefore, gaming engines like Unity, Corona, and CRYENGINE are very popular. I have explained the use of AR to create games in “How to make a game like Pokémon Go?”.

3. Augmented reality in manufacturing

Enterprises can improve their manufacturing processes using AR in the following ways:

  • They can expedite the design and assembly processes.
  • Maintenance teams can use AR to resolve shop floor problems, moreover, they can cut down the maintenance time.
  • AR can help in training employees, reducing production downtime, and preventing errors.

You can read more about this in “7 ways augmented reality in manufacturing will revolutionize the industry”.

4. AR in the beauty industry

Beauty enthusiasts can try out various beauty products virtually with the help of AR, and this helps businesses to sell their products easily. AR also helps brands to offer beauty coaching.

Several top beauty brands like L’Oréal, Maybelline, Yves Rocher, Smashbox, etc. are already using AR to engage their customers. I have explained the use of AR in this industry in “How to build an augmented reality hairstyle app”.

5. AR in healthcare

Healthcare providers can use AR along with diagnostic images to create 3D visualizations of patient anatomy. This can be very helpful during surgery since surgeons can view this to understand the unique individual makeup of a patient.

Using AR to view images in 3D helps to gain a more intuitive understanding, which helps train doctors. Read more about this in “Enterprise AR use cases”.

6. AR in home improvement

Augmented reality can help homeowners and interior decoration enthusiasts to try out various design themes virtually. E.g., apps like Design This Home use AR, and such apps enable users to design and build virtual homes. I have explained this use case in “How to build a home design app like Design This Home”.

Planning to unlock business value with VR or AR?

Reviewing the prominent VR and AR use cases will help you to decide which one works best for your business idea, moreover, you can use both. Having said that, a software development project to implement VR or AR solutions can be complex.

I recommend that you engage a reputed software development company for such projects. Our guide “How to find the best software development company?” can help you to find such a partner.