Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality is one of the hottest topics in the digital area right now.
Almost everybody has at least tried VR glasses once.

But what is actually the difference between those two?

Is there any?

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Something seemingly complicated explained in an easy way

In Augmented Reality it is all about placing artificiality (for example digital people) in the real world.

An example: I am scanning a real QR Code with my smartphone. I then see a digital person, which I can place in the real room.

So in Augmented Reality, I am getting something virtual in a real room.

Virtual Reality makes it possible to interact fully digital. You dive into the virtual world completely. You are detached from the real world.

An example: I generate a 3D avatar and dive in a digital world with it. In this virtual reality (as the name already says), I can interact with other virtual people and things.

Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality – the potentials

Experts see the potentials of Augmented Reality especially in practical work fields.

Examples: Engineering, mechanics, education, social interaction and the preservation of cultural heritages.

Connectivity is mainly possible through Cloud Computing.

The tools which people use in order to have access to Augmented Reality get increasingly powerful.

Such a tool are Augmented Reality Smart Glasses.

Experts say that they will flip our lives up side down pretty soon.

There are no boundaries and no limitations for interaction with these glasses.

An example: An employee is working on repairing a machine while using Augmented Reality Smart Glasses.
The glasses show him digitally which tools to use. The tools are real. Due to the glasses, he know which tools to use and how.
The glasses also react with light, sound and vibration. These effects inform the worker when he is doing something wrong.

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Virtual Reality means to dive into the virtual world completely.

Experts see the potential of Virtual Reality especially in the areas of online gaming and online shopping.

People can dive into these virtual worlds in the most comfortable way from home.
They can fight against enemies in online games, visit cultural heritages and famous cities or simply buy new shoes that fit perfectly.
All of this is also possible because of 3D avatars.

Virtual Reality glasses are already tested in real stores.
You can read more information on that below…

In the long-term, Virtual Reality glasses will be used in retail, as well as at home.

Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality – the background

Both systems are based on so called rich content.
In this case, the visualization of data.

Stores with products of all kind are already making use of the advantages of these technologies.
An example: A customer is equipped with a tablet when entering the store. He can use it, to get additional virtual information on the products in the store.
He therefore scans the product ID with the tablet and uses Augmented Reality functions to show him the additional information.
Additionally, he can use a virtual advisor and put him in the real store to help him search for products.

This way of selling is already tested in shops all around the world.

With this, not only details to the product but also technical details and prices can be visualized individually for each customer.
The customer therefore only gets the information he wants and needs at that time.

Additional opportunities are, for example, to place your digital avatar in your on-screen planned new kitchen to see how it looks like.

Companies like Tesco use Virtual Reality applications to create their shop designs and test their attractiveness as cost-efficient as possible.

They let people test the shops by letting them walk through them digitally and then analyze the behavior of the people with regard to the interaction with the surrounding, the layout and assortment.

People go there shopping virtually several times, before one real person is going through a real store.

Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality – a principle question

For a lot of people the question of  Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality has become a question of principle.

Should you take advantage of Augmented Reality and never really dive into the virtual world completely?

Or is it better to do shopping and gaming completely virtual in the future?

It is clear to us that both technologies have their advantages and that we will hear a lot more interesting and exciting possibilities of them soon.

If you want to know more about the future usage of VR and AR applications in our daily lives, you can have a look at this Tedx Talk at 2018’s Tedx Kufstein “Envision the future”.