Trend Watch: AR Steps Out From Virtual Reality’s Shadow in 2016
How virtual reality's sister technology is adding another layer to our reality
In 2015, countless industries clamored to be involved with virtual reality (VR). Everyone from brands (North Face, Marriott) to education organizations (Dali Museum, Google Apps for Education), media outlets (New York Times, CNN) and more have used VR to tell immersive and memorable stories. Yet, despite the VR buzz, it is its sister technology, augmented reality (AR), that is poised to take over 2016.
Though both AR and VR aim to entice, entertain and inform viewers with visual content, like most sisters, it is important to remember they each have unique and distinct strengths. AR overlays virtual objects and information into the real world without taking viewers out of their physical environment. It is especially adept at helping people envision how virtual objects would exist in their physical surroundings. Conversely, VR takes people out of their environment and immerses them in an entirely new world which has powerful implications for storytelling.
Perhaps part of AR’s problem is the very public failure of Google Glass. Launched as the future of AR in 2012, Glass offered people the ability to layer and access relevant information when and where they needed it along with a “cool factor” only Google could offer.
Companies like Virgin Atlantic and Vice rushed to experiment with the new tool. Despite initial excitement, the $1,500 price tag, privacy concerns, and numerous problems led Glass to being mocked out of existence in 2015.