WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Technology is everywhere! New things pop up constantly. It can be hard to keep things straight in this landscape absolutely saturated with buzzwords and abbreviations. It’s enough to make you pull your hair out. Fear not, things aren’t so scary once you get a handle on them. We’re here to help! This week we want to take a step outside of the “Nerdisphere” and break down some of the terminology behind today’s biggest tech.
ABBREVIATION AGITATION
Because they’re constantly being talked about, certain types of hardware and tech have little abbreviations that can become confusing. VR, AR, MR… just to name a few. Let’s take a look at what each of these abbreviations means, and how these powerful pieces of technology fit into today’s tech landscape.

AUGMENTED REALITY (AR):

Adding digital elements to the view of the real world.

VIRTUAL REALITY (VR):

100% digitally created world. 

MIXED REALITY (MR):

Marketing buzzword popularized by Microsoft for their brand of Augmented Reality products.

360º VIDEOS:

Immersive videos” or ‘spherical videos.”

AUGMENTED REALITY (AR):

In this example of Augmented Reality, the cityscape is rendered over the camera image of the real tabletop environment.

Augmented Reality Defined: “A technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.” 

Layman's terms: Adding digital elements to the view of the real world. 

HARDWARE EXAMPLES:

Microsoft Hololens (Hololens 2), Tablets & Phones, Apple Glasses (future), Oculus Glasses (future).

GOALS WITH USING:

To build onto the existing world, providing extra relevant content. 

Simply put, Augmented Reality overlays digital images on top of the real world and let’s you see both at the same time. 

Here at V3, one way we have used AR is to provide a way for our clients to demo large, unwieldy products for their customers. Being able to overcome the impossible hassle of lugging massive samples from demonstration to demonstration allows our clients to provide context for what their products will look like in place. From large-scale electrical panels to scale models of entire city blocks, we’ve effectively used AR to paint a picture of “what could be” for our clients and their customers.

V3 has used AR to provide a way for our clients to demo large, unwieldy products for their customers.

Outside of sales applications, AR also generates opportunities for people to connect with their surroundings in the real world in new ways. Imagine exploring a new city while you’re on vacation, and walking directions are provided via your phone’s camera. Or looking for a place to eat dinner, and you can simply point your phone at a restaurant’s sign to read current online reviews. The retail industry is a huge growth area for AR right now. 

Real-world applications are ever-growing and becoming more and more innovative every day. Apple has started making big investments in AR, introducing a library of apps designed to integrate virtual elements into the physical world. IKEA, GE, and American Airlines are some of the partners that Apple has announced so far to debut AR applications to run on iPhone and iPad.

Microsoft’s HoloLens has brought this tech into trend in the mainstream in the wearable tech realm. Rather than viewing virtual objects in the real world through a “window” like one might with a tablet running an AR application, wearable tech like this allows users to interact with virtual objects in their actual space via a transparent “screen” mounted on a headset.

This all sounds great however, the wearable technology just isn’t there yet. Very limited fields of view (think of a postage stamp-sized screen in front of your eye) and limited graphics capabilities have seriously handicapped this type of hardware. We have high hopes for this tech’s future, especially with companies like Apple and Oculus increasing their involvement in meaningful ways. But for now, it’s on the shelf, labeled, “Well, they certainly had good intentions.”

Sadly, the wearable AR hardware just isn’t there yet. Small field of view and poor processing impose limits. We’re hopeful for the future.

VIRTUAL REALITY (VR):

The Oculus Quest Virtual Reality headset (trumpet fanfare). No computer required, no wires, 100% awesome.

Virtual Reality Defined: “The computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment.” 

Layman's Terms: A 100% digitally created world. 

HARDWARE EXAMPLES:

Oculus Quest (also, Oculus Rift S, HTC Vive Pro, Valve Index… the list goes on and on).

GOALS WITH USING:

To create a custom environment specifically suited for a variety of different purposes including training, education, entertainment, social networking, and more.

The main goal of Virtual Reality is total immersion into a different world – a world built entirely of the creator’s vision. Users don a headset and enter a consequence-free virtual environment full of advanced visualizations where skills can be practiced again and again with the touch of a reset button. The virtual space might be a classroom where users can repair the inner workings of a jet engine or perform a cutting edge surgery. These scenarios are engaging and impactful, and most importantly, they feel REAL. Studies have shown that skills learned in VR are retained quicker and last longer than traditional hands-on practice.

A lot of our clients come to us with requirements for enterprise release, so we took that feedback and created the V3CORE Training platform. This powerhouse training platform offers a broad array of benefits like the ones we’ve already discussed, AND allows multiple people to “meet” in the same space at the same time, regardless of geographical distance. Imagine being able to meet with team members from around the world for a training without having to hop on a plane! With V3CORE Training, this is now a REAL Reality! The endless possibilities of this platform let our clients’ vision come to “real” life in a virtual world that can accommodate participants from across the globe. Obviously that carries a huge practical benefit no longer requiring extensive amounts of travel budgets.

There’s TONS V3CORE has to offer that we’re not talking about here, but we’d be happy to discuss. Just find us on social media (links below) or visit our website to schedule a virtual demo.

V3CORE

We’ve created the V3CORE Training platform. Our robust, cloud-based solution that takes VR Training to the next level.

Editor's Note

In researching for this article it quickly became apparent that the notion of “Mixed Reality” and “Windows Mixed Reality” were extremely contradictory in nature. So while there may be conflicting reports and opinions on the subject we’re communicating it the way WE see most useful to you – the people we’re trying NOT to confuse.

MIXED REALITY (MR):

Mixed Reality Defined: “An experience where a live presentation of physical real-world elements is incorporated with that of virtual elements such that they are perceived to exist together in a shared environment.” (sound familiar?)

Layman's Terms: A marketing buzzword popularized by Microsoft for their brand of Virtual Reality products.

To summarize and hopefully lessen the confusion you may have in this area, to us, “Mixed Reality” is essentially the same as “Augmented Reality”. The fact that Microsoft included the term “Mixed Reality” in the marketing efforts of their VR headsets (Windows Mixed Reality), THEN marketed HoloLens 2 as a Mixed Reality device further clouded the issue. Thus all hopes at removing confusion were lost.

And as a Bonus… 360° VIDEOS:

The GoPro Feedom360 camera rig. That’s right. That’s (6) GoPro’s networked together to create the image. Very economical!

360º Video Defined: “Also known as ‘immersive videos’ or ‘spherical videos,’ 360° videos are video recordings where a view in every direction is recorded at the same time, shot using an omnidirectional camera or a collection of cameras. During playback on normal flat display, the viewer has control of the viewing direction like a panorama.”

HARDWARE EXAMPLES:

GoPro Omni or Ozo are the special cameras used to capture video in 360º. (But the videos can be viewed everywhere from VR Headsets to YouTube.) 

GOALS WITH USING:

To provide an immersive, yet affordable experience that relies on video footage rather than custom, interactive 3D software. To many the ability to source this type of content is much more approachable from a cost standpoint. 

This technique definitely wins our award for most often mistakenly referred to as VR. 

You’ve likely seen a 360° videos before, though you may not have known what to call it. They’re basically videos that wrap all the way around you. They pair nicely with tablets and touch-screen phones, which act as a “window” into the video’s world. But rather than just watching the scene from a static view, the user is free to physically move their device and pan around for a better vantage point. And as a bonus, 360° cameras are getting cheaper by the day, and are thus far easier to source than ever, making them very attractive to anyone just starting out with virtual experiences.

The drawback to a 360° video is that while a user is able to physically “look” around a scene (up/down, side-to-side, or on an angle), there is no option to step forward or back to examine something closer or from a distance. This restriction means less interactivity than would be possible with heavier-hitting VR hardware. That’s not to say that 360° video experiences have to be boring! Here at V3, we have taken 360° videos and added additional content in-scene with the video to interact with, making for a far richer experience.

At V3, we take 360º video and add content to it making it interactive. Still way cool!

We want to hear from YOU!

If you have any interest in learning more about any of these tech trends, or if you have any questions, give us a shout! Your next question could end up inspiring our next blog post! Seriously, this is not a sales pitch. We want to tell this story so that this new tech can inspire new ideas and reach its full potential. We hope that this little vocabulary lesson has helped clear some of the fog surrounding some of today’s most popular tech. We are available on our website, Facebook, or LinkedIn.