There was once a time when virtual reality just referred to the Google Cardboard and that distant past was only just a few months ago. Since, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have drastically progressed in the past year, amongst a variety of industries.

Virtual reality specifically has a selection of options on the market for consumers and ConsumerAffairs took the liberty of outlining the uses, perks, and pains for each VR headset. Each VR headset has different features that caters itself more to specific user needs. Some are better suited for tech demos and entertainment while others are geared toward software development.

ConsumerAffairs released this report based on the research of Dr. David Chandler (Ph.D. University of Tulsa, 2015), who’s been published in academic journals and online outlets speaking about the intersection of technology and content. Yet Dr. Chandler is also heavily involved in gaming innovation, which lends itself quite nicely to VR.

Augment is heavily involved in thought leadership around the virtual reality and augmented reality space, as both are ultimately progressing the future of mixed reality. We got the chance to speak with Dr. Chandler on his perspective about the relationship between virtual reality and augmented reality and where it’s headed in business.

My immediate interest jumped to where Dr. Chandler thought VR or AR would be more viable in business use cases. Yet, he says more of the direction of this growth rests with the consumers.

The barrier for use will be consumer access. An augmented reality program that works through a mobile device is far easier to market, compared to the virtual tour through a real estate property that can require haptic sensors [to even produce the experience], and not everyone is going to have an Oculus Rift at the moment.”

Touche. The platforms for VR and AR are much different at the moment, despite the fact that there are several AR head mounted displays available to developers at the moment. But for now AR is mostly seen through smartphones and VR is by way of headsets. Likely tethered headsets. But that matches the immersive, yet stationary, experience of virtual reality right?

The future of VR looks as if hardware will start to inch closer towards experiencing the actual environment around the user. With HTC Vive’s front facing camera, Oculus and Google both support hand controls, and more headset renditions are coming; early headsets are certainly adapting. With that said, will VR and AR start to apply to the same use cases?

I believe that’s heavily dependant on things like portability, the Hololens for example is a complete computer on your head and it’s more portable than the HTC Vive that needs an entire room and multiple cameras to operate. Portability will be a big decider in the battle between VR and AR, maybe even more so than price.”

Even if the two realities start to converge towards mixed reality, with the way the hardware is set up will definitely keep their business uses separate. There will also be instances when both VR and AR are needed, that’s not an unlikely scenario.

Still, in the end it has to connect to the consumers. Even business-to-business companies like Augment have clients that ultimately sell to their end consumer. I wanted to grasp an idea of how Dr. Chandler saw the difference in adoption between VR and AR. Despite the (relatively) expansive selection for virtual reality at the moment, he leaned towards AR being more favored.

AR seems more approachable to new users. I mean we saw what happened whenPokémon Go completely crashed the app store. AR is less, not less threatening, but people are less anxious to overlay [virtual] objects on actual reality rather than putting on a headset that completely removes your sight for what’s around you. VR has barriers to entry like cost and portability, but the actually using the controls is a barrier in itself. It’s a brand new medium.”

Virtual reality has shown a great deal of promise in the areas of education, real estate, and overall, experiences that allow you to “teleport”. Augmented reality is showing growth as well, but in retail, design, marketing, entertainment, and eventually gaming. Either way, both technologies are bringing about more conversations and buzz around the future of computing.

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