You can increase engagement in your applications and take advantage of the popularity of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) by integrating one or both technologies into your mobile application development process.

There’s no guarantee that including AR will bring your app the success that Pokemon Go does or that including the VR mechanics will make your app the next Playstation VR headset hit. Either can bring certain cachet along with utility. Keep in mind the following five facts when considering the inclusion of VR and AR.

  1. Augmented reality and virtual reality are very different. AR augments existing worlds while VR creates one from scratch. With AR, you equip the real world with additional information. For example, in construction, an architect might project a full-size 3D AR model from building to site. He can show you several designs, giving clients the opportunity to select their favorite using a full-scale view. Within the same industry, AR helmets provide health data to every construction worker, measuring items such as heart rate and fatigue levels to help reduce construction site accidents.

With VR, you create a world. This completely fictional environment replicates the infrastructure of the physical environment in a virtual, computerized environment. This requires hardware and software to access, such as a computer and peripherals such as goggles or gloves. The most common application, by far, is immersive gaming. Wearing glasses allows the user to experience the game environment in 3D.

  1. According to Stanford University, learning enhancements and impressions deepen when using AR. Virtual Human Interaction Lab researcher Jeremy Bailenson says using AR and VR causes the brain to absorb 33 percent more effectively. Another benefit, exposure to “manifested cognition” increased behavior change by 20 percent by allowing the person to experience the impact of the decision.

This effect makes AR and VR a profitable choice for applications involving:

build brand affinity,
increase brand loyalty.

  1. AR costs have come down tremendously. In 2015, Nvidia introduced a green 2.3-TFLOPS computing board that consumes a miniscule 15W of energy. It costs $ 59. You can use a software developer or you can use software like Vuforia Studio Enterprise (VSE) which combines animation, code sequencing, and 3D modeling tools with ThingWorx’s Creo tools and Internet of Things data. This allows you to build your app without requiring you to learn to code.

VSE provides only one example. Other similar software includes:

AR Tookit,
Arpa Solutions,
13th Lab,
Total Immersion.

These design environmental applications range in cost from free to several hundred dollars. The basic cost of the AR mobile app is $ 5,000. Large scale deployments cost over $ 10,000.

  1. Reduced costs and a simplified development environment have put AR within reach of small businesses. Some AR development environments sell per project subscriptions. ZapWorks offers a one month free trial and charges $ 45 per month or $ 135 per month for the enterprise version.

Area Sq, a UK interior design firm has an AR app in development that lets clients see how fixtures and maintenance will actually look in their home or office before ordering it. The beauty industry has been using AR for several years. Hairstylists typically use online technology that allows their clients to upload a photo of themselves into the app which then allows them to change their hair color with a single click. They can also try different haircuts, styles, and look at themselves with curls from home. They enter the salon with a print of the right mix of colors, cuts, and styles needed for the desired look. They can even print a photo of themselves with a conceptual hairstyle for use by stylists.

  1. All of the above and consumers’ desire for a more immersive, trustworthy and even tangible experience contributes to the growing market potential for AR and VR. The 2016 VR market value is $ 1.9 billion, states Digi-Capital but its 2020 projections place it at $ 22.4 billion. That figure includes sales of hardware and software. Add that in the AR market and the projected value rises to $ 121 billion by 2021.

Reduced costs and increased development simplicity make AR and VR more desirable additions to mobile application development. As Po’s fondness showskemon Go, users want an interactive and immersive environment that engages reality and imagination. Integrating AR or VR into your app allows you to provide this to increase brand loyalty and sales.