Virtual and Augmented Reality: Advantages and Disadvantages
In a past article, we talked about the concepts of AR/VR and referred to statistics related to the number of people who are adopting this technology and how many people work remotely around the world. This time we will be focusing on the advantages and disadvantages of this innovative technology as well as the costs of its implementation in our businesses (and perhaps in our daily routine – I don’t know what the future holds!). The following are some key points to keep in mind regarding virtual and augmented reality.
- VR, when properly implemented, can be an incredible sensory journey. Using computer generated imagery, there are no limits – other than money and imagination – to creating worlds, product demos or spaces in new and interesting ways.
- When applied to education, VR makes learning easier and more comfortable.
- Virtual reality users can experiment with artificial environments.
- VR is a fragmented market. The price of a headset can range from $15 USD (Google Cardboard using a smartphone) to $1,500 USD (HTC Vive Pro); Within this range we can find many options with a wide variety of capacities. VR standards are in an early adoption phase, and content created for one platform often won’t work for another.
- Content creation tends to be personalized and often expensive. Also, best practices for effective and engaging content creation are still under development.
- VR is often an isolating and individual experience – it takes users to another place and removes them from the existing environment. This is the opposite effect of events where the main goal is to bring people together to interact as a group.
- For demos, VR is slow. It takes time to set up the headset, test/adjust it, and explain how the controls work so the user can see the content. Even if the content only takes two to three minutes, an exhibitor at an event would be lucky if he can demo it to 15 or 20 people an hour.
- AR, when used properly, can provide compelling and practical information that is layered over a real-world scene.
- Basic mobile AR applications are already well established.
- Apple’s latest phones/tablets and its AR developer kit bring significant new capabilities. Google’s newest Android phones also come with strong AR functionality. Smartphones allow users to see what furniture would look like in their home before they buy it (IKEA), find their way to their gate at an airport (American Airlines RA), play games (Monster Park), view options a rotating 3D menu before placing your order (KabaQ), measure distances accurately (RA tape measure) and much more. As these new phones are used more and more, it is possible that AR apps will become widely used, creating more opportunities for exhibitions and events.
- New tools have been created to help doctors during surgery by allowing them to view patient information throughout the entire procedure.
- AR/MR (mixed reality) headsets are expensive (Hololens: $3,500 USD; Magic Leap $2,295 USD) and in their current state are very limited. Both have a limited scope range and gesture controls are difficult to use. We won’t see widespread use until costs drop significantly and its form improves.
- The RA/RM headsets have a very ‘geeky’ look and will only be used for very specific applications; we will not see its daily use in the near future.
Best Use Cases
Despite the various drawbacks, there are several ways to use VR effectively for exhibitions and events.
- RV site inspection– When used properly, the immersive realism of VR for on-site inspection of hotels or any destination can be the best alternative to being physically on-site.
- demos: Despite its slow pace, a VR demo can display products in an engaging way, and often in a way that could not be displayed in real life.
- Booth design and VR stage: A large exhibition booth can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Before investing the money, an VR tour allows the client to see exactly what the booth will look like and make changes before it is built. This service is already offered by exhibition and event design companies like Freeman.
- VR room layout: 3D room layout has been around for several years; the next natural step is VR. Companies like AllSeated have been the first to implement it, providing a great way to experience how a room will look and feel before an event. Other room layout software companies are expected to join the list in the future.
- Product demonstrations using tablets: AR can bring a product or image to life. You can add video, sound and more. With a pre-installed app, participants simply pick up the tablet and interact with the demo. AR developers like Zappar offer a range of games focused on events, navigation, and product/event information.
- Product demonstrations using the phones of the participants: Although basic AR apps have been around for a decade, they haven’t been widely used at events. But with AR becoming more popular in the marketplace and offering more capabilities than ever before, there are growing creative opportunities to incorporate AR into product demos, event signage, or other event information.
- AR video walls and mirrors: Incorporating video displays and adding gesture recognition to them in an exhibit is a great way to captivate an audience. If implemented correctly, it could draw a crowd to a booth or any other event space.
Some Examples of VR/AR Costs
The development of a VR application will depend on the type of content that you want to create. In some situations, what is sought is a mobile VR application; other times what is required is a VR game. Some applications can be created with simple 360-degree videos, while others must be built based entirely on computer-generated environments.
Interactive 3D-360 video: $10,000 USD for each minute filmed + post-production. Example: https://youtu.be/xAbEm4_8K3g
Applications based on a computer generated environment: between $40k and $70k USD for a non-gaming VR application. Example: https://youtu.be/IgvI2xdYp-E
Game applications based on a computer generated environment: between $50k and $70k USD for game application projects. Example: It will depend on the complexity and other factors, such as the type of platform it will be released on, the quality of the animations, etc.
Marker-based or image recognition AR provides additional information about the object being scanned. An object is detected with the front camera and then information about the object is provided on the screen. This allows the user to see the object in more detail from various angles and potentially rotate the 3D image as well.
Marker-based AR: $5k-10k USD for each interacted modeled object and UI. Example:
Room Scale RA (Room Scale): $40-50k per room, depending on the number of objects. Example: https://demodern.com/projects/ikea-vr-showroom
Although it is clear that there are many possibilities to immerse ourselves in the world of AR/VR and take advantage of this cutting-edge technology, we must also consider its application and cost before starting any project.