Select Page
Pastguide – umobile time machine case study for Historic Museum in Krakow

Pastguide – umobile time machine case study for Historic Museum in Krakow

Move tourists back in time

The Historical Museum of Krakow had amazing 3D models of medieval Krakow made in Sketchup, which were used for presentation in the rooms on TV screens. The most difficult thing was to translate it into tourist mobile devices and to lift it outside the walls of the museum for a wider audience. In 2014, mobile devices were not as efficient and we also had the optimization issues.

Mobile time machine

The project from the Museum received direct funding from the EIC Accelerator of the European Commission as the first project in Poland to receive this prestigious grant. We built a prototype application in Unity and then in Unreal Engine visualizing full 3D scenes using accelerometer, compass and GPS, making sure the graphics match the actual surroundings behind the tablet. Tourists were invited by the Museum in two places using roll-ups to download applications for mobile devices (android). The museum has also made several posts about the app on social media. 3D content has been rebuilt to low poly with nice textures. The entire square has been carefully reconstructed so that even the texture of the stone floor matches the stones used in the 15th-century Krakow.

Results

We have recorded over 2,000 downloads from users visiting the square in almost a month based on two roll-ups and limited activity in social media. We also received over 50 media mentions.

The project received the Galileo Masters award for innovative use of the GPS signal and was invited to participate in the Finnish Creatifi accelerator based in Helsinki. It also enjoyed great interest from travel service providers (agencies, restaurants, guides) who limited themselves to advertising their services in places of strict importance.

Deploy Pastguide in your location

Virtualist – High fidelity remote 3d workspace for design teams

Virtualist – High fidelity remote 3d workspace for design teams

Broken remote meetings

Video calls and conferences are the easiest way to meet remote employees. Both parties can chat online and it enables team members to build virtual relationships. However, current email and shared screen technologies do not meet the basic need for teams to stay close and connected. As a result, colleagues who are geographically separated cannot connect easily and experience great social distancing, and struggle to develop effective interactions. So we took up this challenge and asked ourselves: How can immersive technologies motivate a remote team without personal supervision and create a sense of belonging?

Togetherness.

With Virtualist, app employees can immerse themselves in a simulated workspace where they can interact with other colleagues, no matter where they are. It’s simple: you install the app, create your own scene with custom details and invite guests to your 3d space. Moreover, the Virtualist application can be called an ideal tool for remote viewing and collaboration on architectural and design projects.

By being face-to-face with your team at least once a week, you can be sure you know what’s going on and where everything is going.

Cut costs and efforts

The results show that the week of traditional email and phone communication has been compressed into two hours of remote session. In addition, the users emphasized the advantages of VR and AR meetings:

  • Reduction of travel costs,
  • A higher degree of interaction,
  • Reduce decision-making time thanks to virtual project demonstrations;
  • Increasing employee loyalty to the company.

Start your virtual meeting


Virtualist

Smart City Dome – urban planning for local communities

Smart City Dome – urban planning for local communities

The architectural vision of our competition extends over the next 20-30 years in the little-known, everyday commuter, industrial part of the city. We were looking for a solution that would help them visualize this large and varied space in the best possible way.

Artur Ratuszyński, Project coordinator @ Szczecin City

Szczecin is a city awarded for the best construction project by the World Architecture Festival, the Mies van der Rohe Award and the European Award for the best public space. The city has two hundred hectares of space in the center and has hosted the largest architectural competition in this part of Europe. More than 240 architectural firms competed for the main prize. To promote this extraordinary venture, the city council required residents to participate in the design process and understand the architectural challenges of the planned space.

Citysphere

We have partnered with Freedomes, an Architizer A + award winner, to work together on an interactive projection system called Hyperdome. Their domes were part of Ridley Scott’s Martian movie and are incredibly distinctive, always pointing to something interesting about the local landscape. The device was already able to display spherical vision inside. We added an interactive city design table to it and put it all together.

Results

6000 users 150 scenes saved in cloud

Additionally,

We were able to win the award of the President and the City Council of Szczecin for innovative services in the commercial category.

VR interactive experience at the Forum of Regions Conference in Brussels

VR interactive experience at the Forum of Regions Conference in Brussels

West Pomerania

Located on the Baltic coast of Poland, this region is full of sandy beaches, green forests, hills and glacial lakes. Every four years, Szczecin, the region’s capital, hosts the two millionth Tall Ships Races festival. Historic Wolin, once the largest trading emporium in the Baltic Sea, hosts the world-famous Viking festival.

Interactive history

We have created an interactive walk in VR through the historic reconstruction of the Koński Kierat market in Szczecin, the capital of Western Pomerania. Users at the stand could move freely around the market square, watch the inhabitants, pick up historical items and use them.

 

Results

Our stand turned out to be a hit. Users recommended them to their friends. We were singled out as one of the four regions.

Sebastian Gójdź / Director of the Brussels Westpomeranian Region office

During the four days, the stand was visited by nearly 500 people, including representatives of other regions, heads of marketing from commercial companies, lobbyists, educators and children. Everyone asked about the region, its location, and the relationship between the presentation and the region.

VR Software Development – what do you need to know?

VR Software Development – what do you need to know?

VR has become one of the important technologies that can bring huge benefits in the real world. Recently, the improvement of software and hardware of computer leads to develop and improve the VR technology and its applications.

What is VR Software?

The system of VR essentially has four basic elements:

  • Virtual World that consists of objects and principles of 3D space
  • Immersion, or the sense of presence, that included mental and physical engagement
  • Sensory feedback (visual, aural, haptic and more)
  • Interactivity.

VR systems, and as a consequence, VR software tools,  can be classified according to the level of technological supply and immersion they provide. In our main article, we mentioned that usually all VR systems are divided into content management systems, VR SDKs (software development kits), game engines, and others. Every VR environment is created and constructed by many aspects  (modelling, coding, and then executing) and these aspects should be integrated into a single package. Some of those VR applications belong are considered as frameworks, while others are complete development environments. For example, the main features typically provided by a game engine include a rendering engine, collision detection, sound, scripts, animation, AI, streaming, multithreading, support localization, and others. Top key players in the field of VR game engine software include Unity Technologies, Unreal Engine, Epic Games, Crytek (CryEngine) and others. 

VR SDKs provide fundamental tools for designing, creating and testing VR experiences. In short, this is a plugin that you add to the engine of your choice, which includes resources, content and methods specific to the engine that are forming a common native experience for each device. Most of SDKs include the basic drivers, an interface to access tracking data and call graphical rendering libraries. The developer can start with basic software development kit from a VR headset vendor and build their own virtual space from scratch. It’s important to define the requirements of your project before choosing a proper tool. For example, Google VR SDK can be used only to build apps for Daydream and Cardboard. 

Additionally, the market offers ready-made virtual world generators (or full-fledged development applications) for particular VR experiences with options to add personalised scripts. 

How does VR work?

In order for users to accept an artificial, virtual environment as real, it has to not only look real, but also feel real. This feeling can be achieved by wearing a head-mounted display (HMD), or VR headset, that displays a recreated life-size, 3D virtual environment without the boundaries usually seen on a computer or tablet screen. The primary subject of VR is simulating the vision. Each VR headset puts up a screen in front of eyes that eliminates any interaction with the real world. Two autofocus lenses are placed between the screen and eyes, so they are adjusting based on individual eye movement and positioning. The visuals on the screen are rendered either by using a phone or HDMI cable connected to a computer.

In order to create a truly exciting virtual reality, there are certain values – the frame rate is at least 60 frames per second, and the minimum field of view (FOV) is 100 degrees. The frame rate is the frequency at which the GPU can process the image per second, and FOV is the degree to which the display can support eye and head movement.

Immersiveness can also be achieved with portable input devices, such as motion trackers, which base interactivity on user movements. By stimulating many of the same feelings that could be used for navigation in the real world, VR environment can be felt more like a natural world.

How to develop VR software?

The level of skills and specific requirements is unique to each platform that is used for VR apps development. Ordinary, a good virtual reality developer has to possess a certain set of skills:

  • software engineering (C/C++/C# programming languages)
  • 3D design skills
  • video/sound production skills
  • game development
  • UI/UX.

Similar to most software development projects, VR starts with design.  Sometimes, for prototyping or educational purposes, this step is skipped, so developers can use assets from community-run libraries. You also can find online backgrounds or textures that can improve a project without any additional effort. Nevertheless, 3D modelling is obligatory for customised experiences.

The second decision you should make is the type of platform. Any development requires VR team to pick the starter SDK to shape a virtual experience around. Among community-provided APIs and tools, it’s advised to start with each brand’s official SDK.

For those who want to integrate VR solutions into their businesses (for example, create a remote 3D space or show the clients a prototype of your design project) without having all of the skills above, the best option is to use ready-made software designed specifically for the industry you are working in. It doesn’t require any specific knowledge and allows to add 3D models into virtual space on your own. Let’s say, you are a designer, and wants to present to stakeholders your concept with VR. Here you can see how to make it possible step by step if you have downloaded the app Virtualist created by our team:

  • Import your 3D model from popular software packages in FBX, OBJ, DAE and 3DS format. We are also working on native SketchUp integration.
  • Customize it to your needs
  • Start collaborating by inviting the participants for VR tour. 
  • No programming or game development skills required. Only VR headsets and the dedicated app are necessary.

What is the cost of VR software development?

If you don’t have VR development team at your company and want to build a customised software from the beginning,  you can expect to spend between $40,000 and $75,000 for a non-gaming mobile VR application. For a mobile VR game, it may between $50,000 and $100,000. Moreover, it requires plenty of time. Each development process should start with detailed project documentation. It is the guarantee that VR software will exactly meet the needs of your business. Usually, project planning is done by the software development company and takes about 1-2 weeks, and this is just the first step of developing your own application.

If you are limited with resources or want to use VR only for one particular project that doesn’t require huge costs, the ready-made software mentioned above becomes the best option in terms of time and budget costs. Our app price starts from 44 eur/month with 14 days of free trial. This price already includes multiplayer, English-speaking support, Amazon hosting and other necessary features.

How can Augmented Reality (AR) be used for business?

How can Augmented Reality (AR) be used for business?

Augmented reality blends out the line between the real and the digital world and gives customers the possibility to be more intensely and vividly involved. The core advantage of this technology is that the hardware (phones and tablets) is available for everyone, and the usage is intuitive and understanding.  The latest market study provided by Juniper Research shows that total AR market value will increase up to $26.1 billion by 2022. Due to the global technology explosion, software improvements and the prevalence of wearable devices, Juniper predicts extending interest in the features of Augmented Reality among businesses. 

Source: https://www.juniperresearch.com

AR benefits for business

All companies share a common goal of getting customers to use their service or purchase their product. To do this, businesses have to educate users about their products, engage meaningfully with potential clients and create lasting connections for future commerce.  AR is able to satisfy all these needs since its framework is very intuitive in nature and operates simultaneously with real-time environment. Augmented reality more deeply engages customer senses by immersing them in enhanced environments via digitally altered venues particularly involving visual, auditory and touch. With the mobile versions of Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit, millions of users are walking around with an augmented reality-capable device in their pockets. 

What industries use Augmented Reality?

Immersive technologies offer new opportunities for a vast amount of markets and spheres, among them design, e-commerce, real estate, healthcare, and even manufacturing. Let’s take a deep-dive into use-cases, which we are considered as the most promising ones.

Augmented Reality in job training

Traditionally, AR and VR are preferred by employers around the world for hands-on training and education processes. In the hospitality industry, service staff is guided on how to properly complete their duties. For complex manufacturing scenarios, factory workers trial equipment maintenance using AR, without any real risk. For example, to increase the efficiency of installing its devices, CISCO ordered a customized AR app to let technicians launch virtual demonstrations straight from the devices. Due to this innovation technicians could see how to install various parts of the machine in an AR overlay on top of a physical device. Experience eliminated the need to read manuals that increased installation efficiency by 30% and accuracy on first use by 90% according to CISCO research.

Augmented Reality in e-commerce

The main reason businesses are using AR in e-commerce is that it generates greater engagement with their brand. Surveys show the likelihood of a successful online sales conversion is about 40% if a consumer is able to view the product in AR. For this reason, retailers have already integrated AR technology into customers’ in-store experiences. For instance, Lacoste created the LCST Lacoste AR mobile app that allows users to try on shoes virtually. So, prospective customers aren’t just looking at your content – they’re interacting with it.

One more example: in 2017 L’Oreal and Perfect Corp. announced their partnership and integrated makeup collections from L’Oréal brands worldwide in AR app called YouCam Makeup. This collaboration offers hundreds of millions of customers the opportunity to virtually experience makeup collections, learn about the products, and shop through the app or instore. This made the app incredibly popular, with over 3,6 millions of users on Android and over 65,3K ratings in the App Store.

Augmented Reality in healthcare

Immersive technologies have an aptitude for changing medical and healthcare industry. From brain operations to reconnecting blood vessels, research groups around the world are applying AR solutions at work. In addition, AR is used for teaching medical university students. Human Anatomy Atlas is an app that lets students explore the body to understand how it works. The app shows 3D models of a human body and allows students to rotate and interact with them. Human Anatomy Atlas provides more than 10,000 anatomical models and multi-language description. The app also has a test bank for quizzing to help students check and improve their knowledge.

Augmented Reality in marketing

Companies are developing computer-generated graphics that are superimposed with real-life scenes to add a new dimension to marketing. When considering mobile AR, the market value for marketing and advertising is worth over $1.09bn. The virtual try-before-you-buy approach that shows products in the context of how they will actually be used, is an ideal use case of how AR makes marketing more efficient. In addition to this part, Augmented Reality offers the opportunity to deepen the digital storytelling experience. It definitely helps to satisfy the craving of audiences to get closer to the story.  In cooperation with Historical Museum of the City of Krakow we have launched AR app called Pastguide that creates a 3D visualization of the Main Market Square in Krakow from the times of King Casimir the Great (the 14th century). This project received Galileo Masters award and became popular among tourist service providers.

Augmented Reality in manufacturing

Training, product development, complex assembly, logistics, quality control, maintenance – all of these fields companies are getting benefits from AR implementation due to increasing productivity and reducing errors.

When it comes to warehouse organization, employees have to multitask to manage orders and regular duties. With emerging AR technologies, however, the same workers can simply tap into a connected system that tells them exactly where products and goods are, allowing them to work at a much faster pace. DHL reports that thanks to integrated AR solutions, their employees can simultaneously scan items and register the whole process, which allows updating inventory in real-time. In addition, such systems reduce the amount of time required to train new employees, as well as bridge any language barriers with expat workers.

Thyssenkrupp (German multinational conglomerate) incorporated HoloLens solutions to make the design process more personal for customers and to reduce turnaround time. The digitization of sales and manufacturing has reduced delivery times by 400% due to AR.

Augmented Reality in construction

Advanced construction firms are already using AR in construction modelling to save their time and budget. This technology allows engineers and contractors to build the right thing at the first attempt and helps to significantly improve different aspects of the construction process. Immersive solutions in construction and architecture projects involve placing a 3D model of a proposed design onto an existing space using mobile devices. Moreover, it doesn’t require high costs. AR applications are accessible for companies of different project budgets and requirements due to ready-to-use apps such as Virtualist developed by our team. By installing the app on the smartphone or tablet, you can hold it in indoor and outdoor locations and prototype your imported designs and created scenes. 

The most important benefit of using AR is the opportunity to give a client a sense of scale that isn’t possible on a computer monitor or paper printed drafts. Additional benefits of using AR in construction and architecture can be found in our blog.

How will augmented reality (AR) affect your business?

According to Digi-Capital’s recent report, AR applications can reach 3,5 billion installed base within 5 years. With the evolution of mobile apps, we can see virtual images in real context while also staying connected with these objects, and interacting with them. All you need is a camera of your device.

Here are a number of advantages that businesses can derive by using AR apps:

  • since the technology is still new and noticeable, it allows you to surprise customers and attract more attention to your company;
  • more active interaction with the brand due to the high interactivity and involvement level;
  • the possibility of a higher level of personalization compared to using the usual content;
  • increasing employee training effectiveness through work processes visualization;
  • sales growth due to eliminating doubts regarding the practicability of purchase.
How can Virtual Reality (VR) be used for business?

How can Virtual Reality (VR) be used for business?

What is Virtual Reality
If you need to grasp the basics of technology first before diving into specifics we have written an introductory article to Virtual Reality.

Virtual Reality enables customers to experience previously inaccessible environments and is considered as extremely valuable in various industries, from gaming to spaceship construction. This technology can significantly reduce prototyping costs and speed up time to market. When it comes to VR in businesses, we are talking not only about revenue growth but also about maintaining since the late entry into the market often makes it difficult to catch up. Besides, VR cut automation costs by decreasing the manpower required to oversee warehouses and assembly lines and enables more efficient training sessions for employees who are working either with operating machines or fully simulating scenarios with virtual customers.

Below, you will find more examples of VR benefits for different business areas.

Real examples of how you can expose a business to VR technology

1. Audi: a better way to sell cars and attract new customers

Audi has launched a virtual reality-enabled Audi Customer Private Lounge (CPL) at their in Gauteng, bringing the brand in line with global trends and offering an innovative retail solution which allows potential buyers to customise the vehicle of their choice. Digital technologies like the VR headset and 75-inch screen allow sales managers to present the entire Audi model range, including all specifications, equipment options, colour combinations, packages during the customer sales dialogue. More than 400 Customer Private Lounges or digitalised consulting suites are already operating in Audi dealerships around the world.

2. Virtualist: reduce business travel expenses due to Remote 3D Workplace

Industry data suggests that 445 mln business trips take place each year, and on the average international trip companies spend 2,600 USD per person. With a virtual reality meeting, managers, freelancers and remote workers can conduct an actual face-to-face meeting without leaving their apartments or offices. To make it real, all participants should have just VR helmets and installed application. Moreover, Virtualist app can be used as an ideal tool to review architecture and design projects remotely.

3. The New York Times: take your marketing and social engagement to the next level

One of the most popular American newspapers launched its virtual reality application called NYT VR, distributed one million disposable Google cardboard VR headsets to its subscribers, and published its first 360 video that tells the story of displaced children. This wasn’t created as a marketing campaign, but in fact, it became the biggest ever project for Cardboard. The VR app was downloaded more times in its first few days than any previous New York Times app. Apart from it, The New York Times has won the Entertainment Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for its virtual reality work.

What industries are using Virtual Reality? 

No matter what kind of business you’re running, VR  solutions can be effectively applied everywhere. More and more industries have started implementing transformative behind-the-scenes applications for VR. The price cut is accelerating the types of changes we’ve already seen in fields as diverse as education, automotive, retail, tourism, real estate, recruitment, sports and others. In a picture below you can notice that engineering and healthcare are considered as the most booming industries for VR adoption. 

vr for business
source: architosh.com

It’s not surprising if you take into account the fact that 53% of adults would prefer to buy from a brand that offers VR functionality.  Let’s take a look at some examples.

VR for Architecture 

Communicating design intent and conveying space to non-technical customers has always been a challenge for architects and designers. Architects have been using 3D models for years but using immersive tools allows them to understand and explore the space at the deepest level possible. The most immersive and effective solutions are ones that empower professionals to fully navigate 3D models. Using VR application, a client interacts with the design and makes changes as he wishes so you no longer need to go back and forth with project changes.  There are many benefits attached to moving architectural practices into a virtual environment. Here are a few of them

  • The best space visualization of unfinished or remote projects
  • Change design in real-time
  • Better collaboration between stakeholders
  • Lower cost of implementation

VR for Construction    

Prototyping is another way VR advancement is changing the way we work. It’s not the secret that every business wants to cut costs, if possible. However, nowadays no new buildings, cars, phones, electronic devices and other high-tech products are created without a detailed mock-up. Virtual reality enables construction managers and foremen to see how the next phase of construction fits into what they already constructed. Industrial designers can use immersive technologies to showcase their plans and get input from consumers. As a proof, Build Change that constructs buildings all over the world including disaster-prone areas use VR to help onsite stakeholders understand the project needs during the planning phase. Additionally, they use it to ensure remote employers can view progress and provide input throughout the construction phase. The main benefits of VR for constructors are similar to the described in a paragraph above:

  • Streamline collaboration between stakeholders
  • Improved client’s experience
  • Time savings
  • Complexity Reduction
  • Improved training safety

VR for Engineering

High-fidelity VR systems already exist in such corporations as Caterpillar, General Motors and Ford Motor Co. At Welsh Water, not-for-profit company which supplies drinking water to Wales and England, VR projects virtual images to provide a 360° view and allow designers, engineers, and architects to visualize space more efficiently, and particularly, to design its water and waste water works. The costs for this were recouped on the first project and is now being applied to 50 more projects. That case shows us the following advantages for companies who have already applied VR at work:

  • Cost savings
  • The accuracy of projects
  • Safety Increase
  • Complexity Reduction.

How to pick the right business software tool for VR?

If you are not looking for ready solutions and want to create VR scenes just by yourself, you can choose between primary game engines such as Unity, Unreal Engine or CryEngine. For inexperienced users those tools might seem complicated to use, thus, the market offers plenty of user-friendly apps with a more intuitive interface. One of the simplest examples to try VR is the Virtual Desktop app: you just need to slip on a supported head-mounted display, and the Windows desktop appears before you, floating in space. The VR wrapper supports web browsers, video streaming, and even some types of software. More advanced solutions such as Virtualist app can help you build the whole scenes using simple solids, import 3D models from the web or from any other standard 3d authoring tool. 

The application can be used either by engineers, designers, constructors as it mentioned above in the article or by managers who would like to try a new form of business conferencing and organise a meeting in a virtual space.

Virtual Reality – what you need to know?

Virtual Reality – what you need to know?

Czym jest Wirtualna Rzeczywistość?

  • A virtual space
  • Immersion: mental (a deep engagement state) and physical (physical engagement  makes our mind to suspend disbelief that we are in a virtual environment.)
  • Sensory feedback: visual, aural, haptic
  • Interactivity

Every VR device places one or two screens in front of users’ eyes and thus eliminates any possible real-world interaction. Two lenses that are auto-focused, are placed in between the eyes and the screen. These adjust depending on the positioning and eye movement of the user. It makes you feel like you are there mentally and physically.

How can VR be used for business?

Many businesses find Virtual Reality as a cost-effective way of developing a product or service. For example, this enables them to test a prototype without having to develop several versions of this which can be time consuming and expensive. Companies are able to use VR to better visualize and design the product that they are developing like never in various fields. Here are some of them:

Manufacture

VR has an important role in the manufacturing industry due to its unique applications in the prototyping process and design. Manufacturers such as aerospace giants Boeing and Airbus use the technology to eliminate the need for costly full-scale prototypes of their designs.

Architecture and construction

VR platforms enable architects to walk customers through their designs before they have been built, providing vital opportunities for feedback and changes. Architects and engineers use this technology to represent structures so that they will have a plan for construction that shows them where the flaws are in the architectural plan and any changes that need to be made.

Korzyściom z wirtualnej rzeczywistości w architekturze poświęciliśmy osobny artykuł

Retail

VR in retail is predicted to reduce product returns, marketing costs, and offer efficient analytics and data. Audi, BMW, Porsche and other automotive brands are opening up virtual experiences in dealerships and rolling out mobile apps. Online shopping giant Alibaba has also introduced their version of full VR shopping experience – the concept is a virtual reality device that allows to walk through a store and buy products.

Business meetings and collaboration

In today’s world where coworkers can be continents apart, the subtleties of this information may be hard to convey using a flat monitor screen and a voice on a telephone or messenger connection. VR solutions allow professionals to gather in a virtual space to jointly review 3D models. From a technical point of view, it has voice over IP, collaborative markups and synchronised cloud models to allow for easier sharing of information.

How to develop VR software?

Experts who work professionally with VR and develop the right software should feel experienced in working with programming languages (such as C ++ / C #), prototyping models, the 3D game engine (the most popular of which is Unity), testing and not only. Thus, virtual reality may seem like a complex field with a high bar for entry. The good news is that currently customers can interact with objects that are already created by developers and use applications that allow creating VR space with just a few clicks. For example, architects can simply import a 3D model, use predefined editing tools to place the model in a virtual space, and then start a VR tour with other participants.

What is  VR software?

As the virtual reality market continues to move forward, more tools are created for VR developers. Although it is difficult to classify all VR systems, some experts divide it into content management systems, VR SDKs (software development kits), game engines, and others. Some solutions provide high-level functions where applications can be created using custom scripting languages and graphical tools, and the system itself takes most of the responsibility for computing, geometry, and interaction. Others are just above the hardware level, using well-known graphical APIs and programming languages to provide a better perfomance for users.

The most suitable option for enterprises that want to use VR solutions are full-fledged development environments, such as Virtualist app.

What is VR hardware?

Any VR experience starts with a headset, or head-mounted display (HMD). It is a device that brings a computer-simulated content in front of your eyes, imitating presence in real environments. The decision to buy a VR hardware system has to be based on your personal use case, the amount you are willing to spend, and the following factors: immersion ( user’s feeling of presence in a virtual environment), comfort, and content. Most popular headsets so far are:

How VR can be used in education?

Many dangerous and simply high-risk operations on Earth also employ virtual reality as part of their practice. Military, firefighter, railway maintenance, and many more simulators are used to prepare trainees to make quick decisions in stressful situations, and all without harming or endangering people as it used to be with traditional training. In 2015, Google announced its new service Expeditions and offered free headsets along with teacher-assisting software to all schools that decide to implement the technology. Using virtual field trips, teachers can take students to travel around the world, explore underwater flora and fauna, and enrich lecture with immersive and engaging experiences.

Is VR safe?

Most VR headset manufacturers say the device is not suitable for children under age 12/13. Although there are no long-term studies, ophthalmologists agree there is no reason to be concerned that VR headsets will damage eye development, health or function. Nevertheless, viewing an image involving motion gives the brain the same visual signals it receives during actual physical motion. That’s why VR headsets usage can lead to dizziness. If you’re susceptible to motion sickness on a boat or rollercoaster, you’ll likely to feel virtual motion sickness as well. In order to use VR without health harm, users are recommended to take breaks frequently and adjust the fit of the headset by tightening or loosening straps before starting the virtual experience.

What are VR games?

Virtual games use a 3D image that can be viewed interactively on a computing device using the keys, mouse, or touch screen. More immersive examples include the headsets mentioned earlier or even virtual reality rooms. Genres such as shooting games, adventures or simulations got enhanced thanks to this technology. Virtual reality games can be played on standalone systems, specialized game consoles, or on laptops / PCs that can be connected to a headset. VR games can be either solo- or multi-played:

  • First-person games. The player is in a physical environment. For example. players experience presence on the battlefield with appropriate sound and visual accompaniment (flying bullets, explosions, etc.).
  • Games with less confrontational activities: auto racing, as an example.
  • Challenging games or missions – to explore new places, solve problems.

Moreover, online game operators (such as casinos) also use VR technology to their advantage

What is Augmented Reality?

What is Augmented Reality?

In simple words, it’s the blending of digital elements – like objects, text, or sounds – with the real world around you. Augmenting your reality. It’s sometimes called Mixed Reality too. It may show overlays on phone screens to help you find directions from street views. Or superimpose a virtual dragon next to you. Augmented Reality applications span commercial industries such as education, architecture, communications, medicine, and entertainment. Let’s say, you want to redesign your apartment but you’re not sure how to go about it. Special home decorating apps allow you to look through your phone camera and virtually add new furniture at will.

Examples of Augmented Reality use cases in the Virtualist collaboration software

Is it the same as Virtual Reality?

No. Virtual Reality creates a fully digital world around you when you strap on the VR headset on your head. It fully replaces and immerses you inside the digital scene and it’s not letting any real-world objects in. That’s why it’s hard to walk in VR headsets. I have written a separate guide about Virtual Reality.

What augmented reality devices can I use?

Smartphones and tablets

Mobile devices are much more powerful nowadays. They contain the necessary components for AR. Cameras, sensors such as an accelerometer, GPS, and a solid-state compass. You can also use the tablet as an AR device. They come with similar hardware for smartphones and have larger screens, so the effects can be more exciting, although that also means they are less portable. Android phones are powered by ArCore. It’s the AR technology developed by Google. It does not require additional sensors in your smartphone. You can check if your device is compatible with ArCore here. If you own iOS device from Apple you need to use a device compatible with ArKit. It’s the augmented reality technology developed by Apple.

Laptops and desktop computers

These devices can also use Augmented Reality through a webcam. Due to the lack of portability and motion sensors, AR computer applications are a bit more limited, but you can add digital effects and animations to video calls.

Eyeglasses, contact lenses, displays

While headsets are not required for AR, there are some more specific devices on the market that directly adds AR visuals to your view. One of the most popular is Google Glass. Devices like this one include eyewear that employs cameras to intercept the real world view, and then project AR imagery through or reflect off the surfaces of the eyewear lens pieces.

How can augmented reality be used for business?

Augmented Reality creates opportunities for businesses to reach their target audience in real-time. Businesses that apply AR to their products gain direct visual engagement with their audiences. This means customers can experience your products or services as they are meant to be. Currently, in the retail sector famous brands (such as IKEA, L’oreal and others) are using AR as a powerful tool to connect with their clients meaningfully and creatively. A special AR app enables Cheddar’s headline news networks to deliver live video feeds into a 3D space for users, who are able to place those anywhere in their surroundings. This new form of marketing is not only effective but it is also budget-friendly in comparison with traditional forms of marketing. Additionally, some companies are starting to build physical products with AR technology baked in. 

How is augmented reality used in education?

AR in education provides unlimited opportunities for teaching and learning. Instead of remaining passive recipients, they become active learners who can interact with their learning environment. The technology provides an absolutely real psychological experience and helps to get a true virtual experience that can be realized in real life: one of the Canadian technology companies turned the wall of the school gym into a ball game by adding an AR layer to it. Then the children can throw balls at the wall to hit the floating figures and, as a result, enjoy physical exercises.

Can I use AR for training?

AR allows companies to develop trainings that are appropriate for each employee, and allow them to develop competence and confidence in their role. CAE Healthcare was integrating Microsoft’s HoloLens into its training programs, allowing physicians to practice complex medical procedures in a 3D environment. By using multi-layered graphics, even the most complex processes and methods can be simplified for the trainees. If it’s not enough, have a look at this example. Based on decades of perceptual-motor research in psychology, researchers at the Aviation Research Laboratory used AR in the form of a flight path in the sky to teach participants how to land an airplane using a flight simulator. 

Augmented reality games

An augmented reality game often superimposes a precreated environment on top of a user’s actual environment. Traditional gaming systems like Xbox or PlayStation require special equipment while AR offers gamers mobility and makes every space a battlefield or playground. The game itself can be as simple as a game of virtual checkers played on a table. Probably, one of the most famous examples of AR is the mobile app Pokemon Go, which was released in 2016 and quickly became an inescapable sensation. In that game, players locate and capture Pokemon characters that pop up in the real world—on the street, in a cafe or your kitchen.

What is AR software?

  • Marker-based AR applications are based on image recognition. They use a camera of a portable device to detect specific patterns or markers, such as QR codes or images. Once the pattern is recognized, the application superimposes digital information on this marker.
  • Location-based apps don’t need markers; instead, they use GPS, accelerometers or other detectors to establish your location and create AR objects.

Various kits for developing Augmented Reality are available on the market, so the choice depends on your needs. From the user’s point of view, ready-to-use applications and platforms that are offered for creating AR scenes can be divided into 2 functional categories:

How to develop AR software?

The implementation of Augmented Reality in consumer products requires consideration of the application design and the related constraints of the technology platform. If you want to create AR software from the very beginning, you should learn about three-dimensional modeling, game engines, know programming languages (e.g. C / C++ / C #) and how to create user interfaces for users in 3D. So it requires specific knowledge. That’s why for those who want to try AR-development for the first time, the best options are AR SDKs, which are easy to use and can be expanded with new features offered by developers. Before choosing the right toolkit, you must include many criteria:

  • the purpose of a project,
  • cost of implementation,
  • supported platforms,
  • 3D image recognition,
  • tracking support,
  • cloud storage,
  • geolocation.

In general, the 2010s witnessed huge strides in AR, that’s why by 2021, experts predict that we will see major growth in this industry with gaming companies focusing most of their budget and energies exactly on AR-based products. 

Investing in Augmented and Virtual Reality. Is it profitable?

Investing in Augmented and Virtual Reality. Is it profitable?

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) is changing our daily lives faster than it could be predicted. According to market intelligence firm IDC, worldwide expenses on AR and VR products and services will be up 69% this year, and the total annual growth over 5 years will increase to 70% from 2017 to 2022. So, what else do the forecasts tell us and why should businesses take a closer look at XR (Extended Reality)?

While consumer spending on XR is and will remain the largest part of the market, it is expected that it will grow at a slower pace than retail, manufacturing, government, and wholesale technology spending. Nevertheless, Virtual and Augmented Reality has the potential to become the next big computing platform, according to Goldman Sachs Research. They predict that the industry can reach a value of $80 billion a year ($35 billion software and $45 billion hardware) by 2025. Despite the fact that forecasts in different sources may vary, they all show the main  – a huge increase in the next 10 years, and all studies show a cumulative annual growth rate of 40–80%.

Bigger players – bigger bets

Many innovative projects have shown the world that Extended Reality has a good commercial value and potential for the future. Large enterprises are witnessing the growth of AR/VR and planning to develop their future projects. The list of companies that invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the development of AR and VR, includes the leading global corporations: Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung and others.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has often expressed his interest in Augmented Reality and his belief that the technology would eventually shape our lives. Recently the company applied for a patent on a mixed reality headset that includes a number of sensors to track eyes, gestures, and facial expressions.It’s just one of Apple patents, and like others, it indicates that Apple is broadly examining how AR might translate from phones to glasses. In March, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimated that the company may start to produce its headset by Q4 of this year, and then publicly introduce it in 2020. 

Worldwide race

Tim Cook and Western companies are not the only one to see huge potential in Extended Reality. Improvements in technology have significantly affected the development of Augmented Reality and Virtual reality in areas around the world, including in the Asia-Pacific region.

Digi-Capital’s AR/VR Analytics Platform that tracked over $5.4 billion AR and VR investments in the last 12 months to Q2 2019, shows that Chinese companies were raising  2,5 times more dollars (or yuan) from their North American colleagues. Global deal value, or dollars invested, was up in the second quarter of 2019 over the previous one, driven by large late-stage deals on computer vision/AR.

Although the US beat China in VR/AR revenue last year, forecasts indicate China may surpass the States soon. The research mentioned before from Digi-Capital also shows that by 2022, China could take more than $1 of every $5 put toward these technologies. It is worth noting that governmental support is propelling this AR and VR growth in China. Last year the Chinese government has released a document entitled “Guiding Opinions of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Accelerating the Advancement of the Development of the Virtual Reality Industry”.  Briefly, it states that the government wants to see growth in all the areas that concern VR. It means that here we are not only talking about manufacturing headsets but also about innovating the technologies for what concerns data processing, 3D modeling, motion capture, localization and so on.

Although China has a leading position in the Asia-Pacific region, other countries (e.g. South Korea or Singapore) are not content with trailing far behind.

Why should brands invest in VR?

There is no doubt that VR and AR will continue to grow, and brands that ignore this fact will be at risk of being left behind pretty soon. Extended Reality provides businesses with a technology that assists with a variety of internal and external tasks: helps them save on an array of business costs, enhances marketing campaigns, and provides new visualization and design opportunities for product development. According to research provided by Accenture, XR is boosting employees’ productivity through human + machine collaboration.

On average, 21% of working time could be augmented by the use of XR.

As you can see below, this share can increase to 30% in healthcare and social services, manufacturing and construction.


Source: Accenture


If you’re doubting  how beneficial investment in AR and VR could be to your business, consider the following ways you’ll get a return on those types of investment:

  • Improve remote collaboration and business meetings. With access to VR technology, employees and business partners no longer have to be connected with geographic boundaries. The technology allows employees who are working remotely to be in the same virtual room, which increases employee engagement, communication and collaboration. It also expands the opportunities available to enterprises and reduces/eliminates the cost of moving.
  • Strengthen consumer relationships.  Virtual reality enables an entirely new interpretation and expression of the brand thanks to building deeper levels of human connection and cultural empathy. Touchstone Research put it in numbers. Brands that invest in VR are more likely to go viral. Brands that invest in VR are more likely to become viral. 81% of consumers using VR tell their friends about it. On YouTube, 360 videos have a browsing speed of 28.81% higher than fixed video. The clickthrough rate for VR reaches 4.51%, compared to 0.56% CTR for fixed video.
  • Take prototyping to the next level. Consider how much of your budget goes to supplying or replacing expensive hardware for employees. VR can eliminate these expenses by allowing you to create a virtual office with screens, boardrooms, and presentation spaces.  Proper software will definitely reduce your operational costs and time. For example, Virtualist app allows creating a shared virtual space just in 3 steps.

    In architecture and design, where the decision-making process is crucial, virtual models and prototypes bring several advantages. While standard 2D designs may look acceptable on paper, nothing compares to giving clients a virtual tour where they can experience an interactive visual representation of the final product, and see the real scale. By using it at a proposal meeting, a designer or engineer can put the client into VR or AR and walk them through the critical aspects of the design. 

As VR and AR both continue to prove their worth at reducing risks and costs, we are going to notice an increasingly rapid pace of investing in other industries involving work with expensive tools or demanding conditions the coming years.