Virtual reality and augmented reality: what are the differences?

We talk more and more about augmented reality and virtual reality, but what is the difference? One – augmented reality – contains a lot of reality and the other not at all.

The principle of virtual reality

We call virtual reality a form of simulation in which the spectator has the impression to be in front of a real scene, even inside. At a minimum, the computer displays on a screen animated images whose changes, calculated at each moment by the computer (in “real time”), depending on the user’s actions. For example, a driving simulator gives the impression that the screen is a windshield in front of a real road. Sounds, seat movements or a return of effort in the joystick can reinforce the sensory impression.

A few figures

The virtual reality market is estimated at 5.2 billion dollars by 2018 (a figure provided by the British research institute KZero).
By 2020, the number of virtual reality helmets should reach 26.5 million (according to the Business Insider website).

Virtual applied to the luxury field

Applied to luxury, the virtual is also interesting to immerse the customer in the universe of the brand or a range of products. An experience that combines virtual support with real emotions…

For example, Dior launched its “Dior Eyes,” a virtual reality helmet that plunges the user into the heart of luxury, especially behind the scenes of ready-to-wear fashion shows, to meet models, photographers, designers, etc. A way for Dior to show a small glimpse of the internal functioning of the house.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality is a true image, supplemented in real time by data displayed by a computer. For example, an aircraft pilot looks ahead through a transparent screen with information: city names appear to float above them, and another aircraft flying nearby is surrounded by numbers indicating its speed, altitude, and heading. When this transparent screen is installed on the dashboard of an aircraft or vehicle, it is called a head-up display. Such a screen can also be integrated into a pair of binoculars.

The primary objective of augmented reality applied to the retail sector lies in attracting the attention of passers-by to encourage them to push the door of stores.

The tool, very powerful, would also slow down the phenomenon of showrooming, which consists for a consumer, to see the product in a store then to return home to find more information and order it online.

With augmented reality, all the necessary information will be made available to the customer at the point of sale. Many applications already exist, they allow a “scan” of the product to view information (consumer reviews, price comparison…).

By improving the in-store consumer experience, outlets also improve their brand image. If the experience is stimulating and appealing to the consumer, there is twice as much chance that the consumer will regularly return to the store.

The scenarios and possibilities in reality increased are multiple and allow, finally, to collect consumer data: What actions? What behaviors? What preferences? Answers to these questions allow outlets to better target their campaigns and offer personalized services to their customers.