6 minsApril 16, 2019
Technology has made great strides in the past few years. Mobile cameras have become more capable, connectivity has improved, and processors have become less demanding but more powerful at the same time. With all of these changes, the mediums through
which we experience technology must also evolve. One such transformation is happening in the world of personal devices thanks to strides in Augmented Reality (AR).
Augmented Reality can be broadly defined as a composite view of the world around us with digital overlays. There are numerous applications of this technology that take advantage of the correct balance between immersion and interactivity that it
offers. Here’s how some of those applications are changing the way we see the world around us:
One of the biggest qualms about shopping online has always been the inability to see and feel the real product in your hands before making the purchase. AR technology can help customers reach closer to that reality by creating virtual three-dimensional
representations of products like clothing, furniture, decor and more in front of you. This gives you a better idea of the aesthetics, dimensions and other factors that you wouldn’t normally be able to perceive just by looking at a plain
2D image of the product on a flat screen. This means that if for example you are thinking of buying a particular maple wood side table, you can simply look through your phone camera and see how it'll look when placed in your living room. Not
sure fuchsia pink suits you? Take a mirror selfie and have the dress overlaid on top of whatever you are currently wearing to see if it's your style. The possibilities are limitless.
High-tech innovation isn’t just reserved for the startup space. Augmented Reality is redefining the banking sector as well. Take Axis Bank’s own innovative practices Axis Bank’s Mobile App uses AR to augment existing features as well as create new ones that are immensely helpful to users. Users can experience AR through a feature called Near Me, which is accessible even without logging into the app, in effect making it available
to anyone who downloads Axis Mobile. With Near Me you can tap on the binoculars on the top left and switch to an AR view of ATMs and Branches around you, along with the distance. You can filter the distance between a 1km to a 5km radius as
well. Additionally, you can also see stores where you can pay with Axis eDGE reward points, properties that have been pre-approved by Axis Bank for Home loans,
and even find restaurants where your Axis Bank card gets you the benefits of Axis Bank Dining Delights! The feature is truly versatile and takes the mobile banking experience
beyond the mobile.
One of the most talked about and an implemented application area for AR is the field of education. The immersion and interactivity of AR combine to augment educational experiences in a way that makes them leave a lasting impression. Imagine being
able to see and interact with a floating model of the Pyramids while learning about how they were built. Or watching the birth of the first stars from any angle while listening to the story of how the universe came to be. The possibilities
While AR in education helps improve theoretical knowledge, the technology is even more impactful as a training tool for hands-on tasks. In fact, this has been one of the strongest pitches for head-mounted AR displays in development. A demonstration
of a mainstream AR Head Mounted Display (HMD) in recent years even demonstrated how an AR overlay over pipes in the house can help an average person do their own plumbing. Eventually this could also be helpful in imparting risk-free training
in critical areas like surgery and healthcare.
Not all of us are great with directions or maps. And while navigation apps have been a boon to the directionally deficient, there is much scope for improvement. Augmented Reality can take navigation applications one step further by showing directions
over actual roads and paths. This keeps you immersed in the real world without losing a sense of direction at the same time. For instance, going to a new cafe nearby that you’ve heard a lot about might have traditionally involved looking
at your phone and back up at the road repeatedly to understand the directions. With the AR overlay, you’ll be seeing both of them in the same screen, and also other pedestrians you might want to avoid bumping into. Tech companies are
already bringing this to your phones, but in the future the same tech will be infused into automobile windshields!
Language has been one of the greatest enablers in the history of the human race. However, due to the sheer diversity in languages around the world, it can also end up as a barrier in today’s era of globalisation. Augmented Reality is already
trying to break this barrier through our smartphones. Leading translation apps from tech giants can use the camera in your smartphone to translate text in the real world and display it as an AR overlay, effectively showing you the same text
as it appears in the real world, but in a language of your choice. For instance, when you’re travelling in a foreign country, just firing up the AR translation app and pointing it at a restaurant menu or a road sign in a different language
will translate it to a language of your choice in real time, almost as if the menu or the sign were in your native language to begin with.
From a user point of view, ads are generally disliked. However, they’re necessary for brands and platforms to market and sustain themselves. To transform the way people perceive ads, advertisers are utilising the opportunities that AR provides.
The infusion of AR aims to make the ad experience more engaging, interactive and profitable at the same time. Interactive product catalogues, invisible pop-up shops, even AR screens at bus stops are now part of the advertising world. From
being intrusive, ads are now a novelty experience thanks to AR. In the future ads might even be a form of entertainment!
Disclaimer: This article has been authored by Siddharth Parwatay, a Mumbai based independent tech-journalist, editor, and content-creator. Axis Bank doesn't influence any views of the author in any way. Axis Bank and/or the author shall not be responsible for any direct / indirect loss or liability incurred by the reader for taking any financial decisions based on the contents and information. Please consult your financial advisor before making any financial decision.