AR and VR: Cutting through the hype

There has been huge excitement in the trade press about augmented and virtual reality. But how developed are these trends? In our latest research, Tech Trends Set to Reshape The Insight Industry, we set about cutting through the hype.

Augmented reality is already widespread

Whilst augmented reality has received much less attention than virtual reality, it’s actually much more commonplace! Most of you will have tried Snapchat filters or the overnight sensation that was Pokémon Go. These are some of the best-known examples of augmented reality. Beyond this, AR is being used in a whole range of apps, allowing consumers to do everything from trying on jewellery to testing out new paint colours from the comfort of their own home.

So how does the technology work? Most AR experiences are delivered through smartphone apps. Here, the phone’s sensors and camera are used to overlay information onto a real-world environment. AR experiences can also be delivered on other devices, such as smart glasses. But given that these are such nascent pieces of kit, these applications at present are limited.

Virtual reality is much less developed

In comparison to AR, VR is much less developed. The technology has been embraced with much excitement by gaming giants. But companies in other industries are only just beginning to dip their toes in the water.

We’re starting to see marketers experiment with virtual reality, using it to reach their audiences in new, exciting ways. And it’s easy to see why. As Tom Impallomeni, CEO and Co-Founder of Tribe VR, and one of the experts we interviewed as part of our research, puts it:

“VR is a really good way to communicate a brand’s message, rather than watching a TV ad or putting billboards up. To create a VR experience where someone puts a headset on, they’re 100% focused on that experience. They’re not on their mobile phone just glancing at the TV, they’re fully immersed and a brand can tell a story, or put you in a situation that then cements your relationship with that brand. It’s an area of innovation.”

Consumers that have tried virtual reality are few and far between

Despite the excitement surrounding VR, relatively few consumers have had access to the technology:  74% of consumers are yet to try using a virtual reality headset. And recent research from Nielson suggests that very few US consumers are likely to buy one of the big VR headsets on the market today.

So what’s next for augmented and virtual reality? To find out what the future holds for these technologies as well as their applications for the world of research, download our report.