I’m sure you have heard at least one of these terms but what the heck is AR, VR, and MR, and what is the difference between them? The next section will address those questions.
Augmented Reality (AR)

AR changes the physical world around you by adding 3D objects, sounds, videos, and graphics. Using AR is very accessible as it doesn’t require more than a smartphone with installed AR software. The virtual object will then show on the screen of users’ devices in the real environment. This allows users to experience the products/services they are interested in, in a very realistic way and a realistic setting before making their decision. It is often used in healthcare, automotive, aerospace, defense, educational, and fashion industries. 

AR
Virtual Reality (VR)

Unlike AR, VR is completely computer generated, but it is made to simulate the real world as it fully immerses the user in its reality. This allows companies to bridge the gap between experience and action with their products.

Whereas for AR you can use a mobile device with a camera, for VR you will need a dedicated VR headset.

VR
Mixed Reality (MR)

Mixed reality is the newest of the three technologies. It involves combining real and virtual elements in various ways to achieve immersion. To experience mixed reality the user has to wear a headset. It is not the same headset that is used for VR as through the headset for MR you can still see the real world but it allows the user to place objects in it which means that the user can interact with digital and physical elements at the same time.

MR

How MR, VR, and AR Can Benefit B2B Businesses:

  • In Marketing and Sales

The internet is saturated with marketing campaigns and B2B companies are doing everything they can to make their products, and services stand out. A great way to achieve this goal is to include augmented, virtual and mixed reality as part of your marketing.

The use of AR, VR, and MR stands out as they do more than sell a product or service to a customer. They offer the customers a realistic experience with immersive interaction which lets them determine what it’s like to interact with the product firsthand. These solutions provide a digital transformative journey to your customers, which will make your product more memorable.

VR can also be used to create virtual trade shows that eliminate the need to send products and employees to a certain location where they can meet up with clients. 

Example: IKEA uses AR to allow clients to superimpose their chosen furniture in their homes and offices before buying it. This improves customer satisfaction and cuts down on the need for customer service both in the purchasing and returns process.

  • In Manufacturing

AR can be combined with other technologies like image recognition, Internet of Things devices, and Artificial Intelligence to create prototypes that simulate customer experiences. This leads to reduced development times, a decrease in errors, higher ROI, and a more streamlined manufacturing and inventory process.

VR can be the perfect solution to improve training within manufacturing as VR can offer space to the workers where they can practice processes and operations without any risk.

Example: Volkswagen’s engineers use VR during the design process. Using VR has simplified the process as it allows them to do quick changes to their prototypes. In the past, they have been creating clay prototypes and with every small change, they had to create a new one.

As another example we can mention Boing, where they use AR glasses to guide their technicians during the process of wiring planes. This helps the technicians to identify and accurately connect the wires. As a result, the production time was lowered by 25% and error rates are nearly 0.

  • In Automotive Industry

AR isn’t used only in designing cars but it has heavily improved safety features in our cars. The driver can for example find GPS, speed information, and weather information on the inside of their windshield via a HUD (Head-up display), which will help the driver stay focused on the road. The newest thing is Augmented Reality Head-Up Displays (AR HUD), which does not only display information in a fixed position on the windscreen like the “old” HUD but can place objects in the right relevant position depending on various factors.

Tesla has started this trend but most of the other big car brands are going in the same direction by investing and developing AR technologies that will improve the safety and driving experience of drivers.

  • In Education 

These technologies are also disrupting the way we learn fairly dramatically. Complex topics like neural pathways, nuclear chain reaction, or the Jurassic Age, all can now be taught more realistically, helping students to engage with the lessons and experience the taught topics differently as they can see the things they are learning about.[1]

Example: Teachers can take their students to the Base Camp at Mount Everest with Google Expeditions or let them explore the internal organs of frogs in Froggipedia.