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What to Expect from AR and VR in 2021

What to Expect from AR and VR in 2021

January 1, 2021

Every year, major players in the tech sector tease new products and host special events introducing these additions to their lineup. Product launches are much anticipated by consumers who may crave the cool factor of the latest gadget. While newer isn’t always necessarily better, in the tech sector newer products often include upgraded features or advanced capabilities that leave their older predecessors looking like dinosaurs. Augmented and virtual reality offerings have evolved from clunky to streamlined. And, in 2021, consumers can prepare for sleeker offerings. Here’s what to expect from AR and VR in 2021 according to experts in the industry. For virtual reality and augmented reality technology, new developments are not necessarily something that can be purchased by consumers. Augmented reality and virtual reality are wired into many sectors of our lives, and this technology is used for many purposes in numerous industries. The future of augmented reality and virtual reality isn’t tangible in the same way as a new phone, tablet or other tech gadget. Instead, augmented reality and virtual reality will affect consumers by interspersing into their lives and habits. Here’s what’s on the virtual horizon in 2021. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-221.jpeg] AUGMENTED REALITY AND THE ‘NETWORK’ When virtual reality and augmented reality devices and programs require an internet connection, the network speed may boost performance. Most consumers likely have stories about a sluggish internet speed; the pages load slowly, videos suddenly stop, it’s a tech nightmare. If speed affects web sites, users may simply click out. As many industries are utilizing virtual reality and augmented reality, the network speed may be an important component. Users don’t want the virtual experience to lag, suddenly drop out or glitch. Virtual experiences, augmented reality experiences need to be continuous, smooth, sharp and without interruption. Back in June, the Consumer Technology Association reported that the use of “socially safe” 5G AR/VR applications. Among them was the use of 5G for healthcare, particularly virtual visits. The Association also mentioned the use of 5G for goggles that aid in prepping doctors for surgeries. A 5G network also aided mental health treatments. The Association noted that “…AR/VR exposure therapy applications are also made more effective with 5G, which reduces lag time and creates a more realistic and immersive experience for the user.” While the 5G element doesn’t point to a new AR/VR product, the speed of these networks seem to be conducive to a better virtual reality or augmented reality experience. While many consumers have seen the commercials touting ‘5G,’ they might simply view it as another gimmick. In the case of virtual reality, though, the upgraded network has helped to improve the virtual experience…at least according to the Consumer Technology Association. In the Association’s article, the 5G network (and its speed) also was noted to improve experiences for virtual tours at museums, gaming, company meetings and even virtual sporting events. If consumers think 5G is fast, though, something better might be on the horizon. Yes, 6G is already under development. And this faster network (think 100 times faster than 5G) will likely boost capabilities for augmented reality and virtual reality products of the future. Until, of course, 7G comes along…because in the tech sector, there is almost always something faster, sleeker and improved right behind the latest new launch. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-222.jpeg] INSIGHTS FROM TRENDFORCE: AR GLASSES AND THE SMARTPHONE One of the predictions for 2021 from TrendForce is related to augmented reality glasses and smartphones. In a press release, TrendForce noted that in 2021 “Integration between AR glasses and smartphones will kick-start a wave of cross-platform applications.” In other words, augmented reality glasses will be using smartphones as their data hub. Since the glasses will rely on the phone, TrendForce stated that the design of the glasses could be lighter…and cheaper. TrendForce predicts that more brands and mobile networks will be jumping into the augmented reality glasses segment. This market segment is already seeing new products and sleeker offerings. Some smart glasses like the Moverio Smart Glasses look very space-age. Vuzix Blade smart glasses look a bit more like standard eyewear. In 2021, more companies may add their own new offerings to the mix. There are rumors about Apple smart glasses, but the company has never confirmed. INSIGHTS FROM STRATEGY ANALYTICS In July, Strategy Analytics released a report titled “Short and Long Term Impacts of COVID-19 on the AR and VR Market.” The report detailed predictions for 2021 and beyond. While augmented reality and virtual reality contracted instead of showing growth, thanks to Covid, the future is predicted to be very good for the market. Strategy Analytics predicts “sixfold growth” in the next five years (through 2025), representing revenue of more than $27 billion. What products will feature in this growth? In the next year (that is 2021-2022), the company predicts that AR headsets for smartphones will be making a “comeback,” and the high-speed 5G network was noted as one of the reasons for this upcoming trend. For those unfamiliar with AR headsets for smartphones, the company Aryzon is one of the players in this area of the market (although it was not noted in Strategy Analytics’ press release). The headset is a bit of a mini version of the standard virtual reality headset and slightly resembles the ViewMaster. Price is noted by the company to be affordable—in fact, Aryzon’s website states that it’s the “World’s first affordable AR/MR headset.” The headset is priced at a little less than $40. If the prediction of the rise of an AR headset for smartphones comes to fruition, this could be an interesting development. While different companies will likely have different price points for their headsets, the accessible price of the Aryzon headset points to the possibility that AR headsets could become mainstream. If they were mainstream, think of the impact on the gaming world! While virtual reality headsets tend to be bulky—and pricey—the idea of accessible AR headsets that are compatible with smartphones opens up the gaming world of all types of AR-powered adventures. Imagine using a headset to play a new version of Pokemon Go or another augmented reality game. With a smaller headset connected to a portable device, gaming could be a more compact and personal experience, too. Players wouldn’t need a console, just the phone. Kids could take them on road trips, perhaps, giving them a mobile gaming experience. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-223.jpeg] CONSUMERS AND TECHNOLOGY While 2021 will likely see new products and sleeker gadgets for augmented and virtual reality, this technology may surround consumers whether or not they purchase the latest and greatest offerings. For some, virtual reality headsets might be out of the budget. While an AR headset could be more affordable, some consumers might not be that comfortable with new technology. Yet, the virtual world is everywhere now. The power of 5G is speeding up virtual tours for museums and helping the healthcare industry provide virtual visits without lag time. Even consumers that have zero interest in virtual reality and don’t own headsets or play AR or VR games, the virtual world may creep into their real world. Covid impacted everyone in some way. Many Americans had to abide by shelter-in-place orders or other health restrictions. Going out for the sake of going out really wasn’t much of an option. So how did the country adapt? Whether consumers realized it or not, we went virtual and embraced this new reality. School days were virtual. Work was virtual. Life went into a virtual reality. Maybe not always with a headset…but in other ways. Employees used fun backgrounds during virtual conference calls to give the illusion that they were somewhere else. Maybe a beach. Or a forest. Those backgrounds were a bit of augmented reality. They weren’t real. Individuals itching to get out of the house couldn’t just jump on a plane and tour Europe. But touring Europe or places within the continent was still a possibility. From the comfort of home, people could take a virtual tour. Museums might have been closed to the public or had limited capacity, but virtual tours could give visitors the museum experience. While the Louvre remained closed through part of December, the famous museum offered virtual tours and other online activities. Among the virtual tours offered by the museum was a tour of the Petite Galerie, where online visitors could see works from artists including Rembrandt. The tour takes visitors up the stairs and provides up close views to sculptures and paintings. While it cannot be the same experience as actually visiting the Louvre, the virtual experience is still an escape from the drudgery of sitting at home. The Sistine Chapel also offered virtual tours so those at home could gaze at the works of Michelangelo. With the click of a mouse, visitors can guide their own journey through the chapel. On a daily basis, many individuals also likely experience augmented reality during their drive time. Using backup cameras or other features in the car that include the real world environment with graphic overlays is an augmented reality experience. As Covid kept many out of the stores, online shopping also featured virtual elements. Car dealerships included virtual showrooms and offered virtual test drives. Financing also could be completed online. While 2021 will likely introduce many new virtual reality and augmented reality products, it will be interesting to discover which products grab the attention of consumers. And influence them to open their wallets! Will this be the year of smart glasses? Will AR headsets for smartphones become the must-have item? Only time will tell!

New Year’s 2021 AR/VR Resolutions

New Year’s 2021 AR/VR Resolutions

December 31, 2020

Statista reported that, in 2020, the augmented and virtual reality market was projected to soar beyond $12 billion worldwide and that consumers across the globe were projected to spend more than $6 billion for this technology. From virtual reality headsets to augmented reality video games like Pokemon Go!, technology that embraces aspects of a hyper reality have captivated consumers and transformed the way they view the world. Speculation abounds regarding what’s next for this tech segment, but consumers who have not yet jumped into the virtual realm might be ready to make a few AR and VR New Year’s resolutions for 2021. How can this technology transform the drudgery of daily habits? Check out all the ways to embrace virtual and augmented reality as a consumer. Just be sure to set a budget! [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-218.jpeg] RESOLVE TO JUMP INTO THE WORLD OF AUGMENTED REALITY VIDEO GAMES One of the simplest ways to experience augmented or virtual reality is through video games. For those who may be unsure about investing in high-tech virtual reality headsets or other savvy gear, games can be an introductory platform to dip a toe into virtual or augmented realms. The games consumers choose may depend on the tech that they own. Some games work for a specific console, others can be downloaded onto a phone or tablet. Pokemon GO is an extremely popular augmented reality game, and, really, the hunt for these cute Pokemon allows even the most inexperienced gamer to check into an augmented experience. This game’s premise is simple. Pokemon are hiding in the real world. The game shows the live environment, and the augmented reality aspect is the virtual Pokemon that seemingly pop into random real world locations. Maybe they are hiding in the cupboard, on a table, behind a tree…Pokemon can be anywhere. The phone or tablet uses the camera for a real-time gaming experience. While Pokemon GO is suitable for anyone four and up, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Players can become so preoccupied with staring at the screen searching for Pokemon that they might not pay attention to the actual world around them, which could lead to accidents and, in some cases, allegedly death. While an augmented realm can transform the real-life environment, gamers also have to be mindful of traffic, pedestrians and, of course, places where trespassing isn’t acceptable. For those who aren’t interested in hunting for Pokemon, there are many other augmented reality gaming options. Zombie, Run is a fitness augmented reality game where players run from zombies! Those who love the Harry Potter or Jurassic Park movies/books also can step into augmented worlds with Harry Potter: Wizards Unite or Jurassic World Alive. Feeling creative? Minecraft Earth takes the build into an augmented reality. CONSIDER A VIRTUAL REALITY HEADSET There are many virtual reality headsets on the market, and some of the most popular per CNET include Oculus Quest, Valve Reverb and HTC Vive Cosmos. Prices can vary considerably, with the Quest being the least expensive (less than $300), and the Cosmos hitting $700. Why would a consumer need a virtual reality headset? Gaming! While augmented reality games can be an introductory experience to semi-virtual realms, headsets let the consumer step into another world. Virtual reality heightens the gaming experience; players can step into the world of Star Trek, Star Wars, or even virtually climb mountains. For consumers who invest in virtual reality headsets, game options may vary per brand. Although some games may be compatible with multiple headsets. Not sure what headset is the best one? That’s really a matter of opinion. Consumers can check out online reviews via tech publications or on company sites. If the budget is an issue, then the cost may be the key deciding factor. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-219.jpeg] CHECK OUT AUGMENTED REALITY EYEWEAR Consumers can wear augmented reality technology. Yes, there are glasses that feature augmented reality. Tom’s Guide lists the choices for augmented reality eyewear. Some of these options look like regular glasses or eyewear, but the guide also lists some standard headsets/glasses, too (like Hololens). Features can vary; some display phone notifications, others show an actual video that appears like a screen in front of the eyes. Again, prices can vary considerably. This market segment also may include new products in future years. Like most technology, virtual and augmented reality is constantly updating and becoming more streamlined…and perhaps even sleeker, too. In the past, virtual or augmented reality eyewear was limited to bulky headsets. The introduction of eyewear or glasses that look like what consumers wear to read or for vision correction allows this technology to really integrate into the personal fashion and style of daily life. This is a market segment consumers may want to watch…and research. UNSURE ABOUT VIRTUAL REALITY? TRY IT OUT THIS YEAR! Consumers who are really digging in their heels about this technology don’t have to commit to purchasing any new gadgets. For those who may be not so comfortable with technology in general, investing in a new platform or new device can be a bit overwhelming. Curiosity about augmented or virtual reality, though, can be explored in museums, stores and even in the car. Most new automobiles include basic components of augmented reality; the backup camera and its grid lines is the perfect example. And these automotive features can make driving and parking a bit safer. Drivers can better understand their turning radius and can see what’s lurking behind the vehicle. While augmented reality in the car can seem fairly basic, it still may take time for individuals who aren’t comfortable using it to feel at ease. Most older drivers were used to looking behind them as they backed out of a space; the camera does this sight work for the driver. And adjusting to watching the screen instead of looking out of the rear window might be a difficult change. What about other augmented or virtual reality experiences? How can consumers dip a toe into this technology without investing money? Virtual reality and augmented reality are incorporated into many shopping experiences. For consumers who might be shopping for furniture, stores like Ikea offer augmented reality experiences so shoppers can preview a new couch or other possible purchase in their home space. Even beauty stores are in the augmented reality market. Consumers can upload their photo and try on new lipstick or other products. No need to worry if that berry shade is going to flatter, just try it on! Both Sephora and Ulta offer consumers the chance to virtually preview cosmetics. Museums also could provide virtual exhibits that take the visitor into a new world or experience. Those stuck at home can still enjoy cultural experiences, though. There are many virtual tours online that take visitors to historic and iconic sites…and these trips can be enjoyed from the comfort of home! Explore the Amazon Rainforest, Mesa Verde, the Tower of London and more! RESOLVE TO…ACCEPT THE RISE OF VIRTUAL! Most Americans likely cannot wait for the moment when the world goes back to pre-Covid normalcy. The pandemic has limited—or perhaps completely halted–visits to entertainment venues, museums, restaurants and maybe even the office. The days of browsing leisurely in a store seem ages ago. Yet while the pandemic has upended the very definition of normalcy, it also has helped consumers embrace technology platforms that mimic these experiences. Covid might have accelerated the daily acceptance of virtual reality and augmented reality platforms. When stores were closed, online experiences at some stores tried to replicate the in-store experience. While virtual platforms or augmented reality features couldn’t completely give consumers the full in-store experience, they did come close. Consumers might have relied on those virtual try-on apps offered by stores. They also might have utilized virtual showrooms for browsing automobiles when shopping for a new car. In-store experiences were the reality of the past, and online shopping experiences became the Covid norm. Has the pandemic changed shopping forever? When the pandemic subsides, shoppers may once again flock to the brick and mortar locations. However, many may believe that online experiences are more convenient. Visiting a store could be a trend of the past for these consumers. The pandemic also transformed the way Americans work. Many companies implemented work-from-home practices during Covid, and many employees may continue to use their home as their office space. The rise of virtual conference platforms became mainstream, and, really, a necessity. Kids learned via Zoom. Their parents also popped into virtual conference rooms to meet with their coworkers. Zoom and other virtual conference platforms pulled everyone into a different type of virtual reality. Meetings now showcased employees with unique backdrops to add some fun to the daily work routine. Backgrounds for virtual conference platforms could include beach scenes, holiday scenes, cartoon scenes, nature scenes and more. Workers could make it appear as though they were part of a popular show, on a tropical vacation or lounging in a lush locale. Work-from-home setups might have been a money saving option for some companies. And the virtual workforce could become much more accepted than it was in the past. The prominence of virtual and augmented reality platforms in daily life means that this technology could be here to stay. Those who are hesitant about virtual and augmented reality may need to accept that these platforms may become even more prominent in the future. Resolve to accept the rise of virtual! [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-220.jpeg] RESOLVE TO…CONSIDER UPGRADING YOUR AUTO! In the automotive market, virtual and augmented reality are utilized for many different capabilities. Augmented reality helps mechanics make repairs through the use of special glasses, manufacturers use virtual reality to aid in the car design process, and, in the future, augmented reality may be used for avatar passengers to join during a drive. The future in the automotive sector is very much virtual. Consumers shopping for a new car need to be prepared for tech savvy features that include augmented reality or virtual reality. While virtual experiences—especially holographic avatars—are not yet a reality, augmented reality is wired into many new cars. When shopping for a new car, consumers have to understand that these features are more prevalent than ever. And augmented reality in many cars goes beyond the backup camera. Some vehicles feature numerous cameras that allow drivers to see many different vantage points. Cars also connect to handheld devices like smartphones. The phone allows maps and other GPS capabilities to be displayed on the screen near the dashboard. When new tech is introduced by manufacturers, these features could be offered as an upgrade. But eventually, they may make their way into standard features. The backup camera was once an upgrade, now this safety feature is standard on many new models. Having the choice to adopt a virtual or augmented reality lifestyle can allow consumers to slowly adapt to it. The future may bring incredible changes, and we may have virtual tour guides joining road trips. Or perhaps screens that project a conference call. When shopping for a new car, consumers may inquire about augmented reality features to learn more about this rising technology. This doesn’t mean that every consumer can splurge on these features, but dealerships may allow shoppers to preview the new options. Again, today’s upgrades may be tomorrow’s standard features! RESOLVE TO…BUDGET WISELY! For some consumers, virtual and augmented reality features and technology are simply not a priority. Others, though, may jump on the virtual bandwagon with gusto. This is where understanding any spending limitations may come into play! If there is no budget, have fun! However, most consumers don’t have the luxury of a bottomless account. For consumers who want a virtual reality headset, wish to try out augmented reality games or completely deck out their car, understanding financial limitations can help ensure that they don’t spend more than they can reasonably afford. Knowing what is affordable helps keep the purchase impulse in check…hopefully. Every consumer’s budget may be different. And spending habits differ, too. Some consumers are comfortable setting up payment installments on new items like virtual reality headsets, others want to only pay what they can afford to spend in one lump sum. With new technology, however, it can be really easy to get caught up in the cool factor. Having the latest greatest tech may be appealing. It also may be really tempting to hit the buy button when shopping online. Take time with the purchase, do research, set the budget and…hunt for sales! Sometimes the best deals for new tech items can be found in last year’s model. For those wanting to try a headset or a new game, earlier models or games can be cheaper! Stores also could offer sales after the holidays. So waiting may be a game changer. Augmented reality and virtual reality may be here to stay, and, as 2021 approaches, make resolutions to become familiar with these platforms. This may be the time to purchase a new game, headset, augmented reality glasses or just try a store’s virtual platform. The New Year will bring new technology trends, but virtual reality and augmented reality may be the new normal.

Augmented and VR Industry Trends in Business for 2021

Augmented and VR Industry Trends in Business for 2021

December 30, 2020

2020 has seen a massive shift toward immersive digital experiences. Augmented reality and virtual reality systems have been a mainstay in gaming over recent years, but this revolutionary tech is transforming the way we connect with each other – and our favorite brands. Online and traditional businesses are using these systems to give customers a way to build a digital environment that meets their needs, respond to real stimuli in real time, and track their movements with key data. Retail brands, service providers, and even hands-on professions have been able to stay afloat with the help of AR/VR communication systems, reporting programs, and mobile storage apps. Read on to learn more about how augmented and VR industry trends in business are expected to grow heading into 2021. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-212.jpeg] AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY MARKET GROWTH The AR/VR industry as a whole has grown significantly in just 2020 alone. The pandemic drove people inside and online, and VR/AR systems bridged the gap between their online lives and their everyday routines. Chatting with friends, buying groceries, or even trying a new car in your driveway are all functions that can be completed entirely online with the help of augmentative or virtual reality technology. Growing tech brands and developers saw this need and met the demand with: * Mobile-friendly apps * Cloud-based storage bases * Local and online connectivity with friends * Affordable auxiliary equipment * Smart wearables * Sophisticated AI-enabled reporting This industry’s rapid growth is largely due to the human need for connection and seamless collaboration, without the ability to meet in person. The augmented and virtual reality industry generated more than $37 billion in revenue last year alone, but that number is expected to rise exponentially. By 2030, industry experts expect AR/VR tech to be pulling in upwards of $200 billion. AUGMENTED REALITY AND WORKING FROM HOME Among other parts of the market that are skyrocketing this year, remote assistance programs are soaring off the (virtual) shelves. Technicians, engineers, shoppers, and even homeowners are using these systems to connect with people independent of their physical location. With headsets also taking off and becoming more affordable, it’s easier for anyone to gain a higher level of control and detail when it comes to online actions. With just a mobile device (and wearable headset, in some cases) users are able to talk with their colleagues, simultaneously manipulate digital models, and review cloud-hosted information from any protected account. Now, co-workers can continue to work on joint projects with ease, while also reducing their timelines with sensitive task automation and AI-assisted project management tools. Video chat services that use multi-angle lenses and responsive movement tracking are also being used to simulate an in-person meeting environment. Additionally, this level of audio/visual connectivity has immensely helped those who have been forced into less-than-optimal home office environments. Building a virtual office environment reduces the amount of physical space and equipment needed to complete the same tasks. Augmented, virtual, and mixed reality solutions have the potential to drastically reduce corporate spending and employee investment responsibility across a wide variety of industries and specializations. CAN AUGMENTED REALITY INCREASE SALES? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-213.jpeg] Just like consumers are looking for an easier way to talk with brands and peers online, they also want to simplify any and all tasks they can. The growth of smart tech and in-home assistance tools that sync with our mobile devices has led to an interest in an even more immersive experience. COVID-19 shook up the existing commercial space, and built a new model that’s dependent on remote connectivity and online mobile user engagement. Adding VR/AR elements to their existing online presence has helped brands to: * Improve CTR metrics * Keep users on the page longer * Increase conversions * Build brand loyalty * Boost sales pipelines through referrals Retail brands are using AR/VR technology in a variety of ways, from advertising to product sampling to the customer service process. Being able to visualize products, gain a deeper understanding of brand offerings, and speak to representatives “face-to-face” is boosting engagement and retention rates across many commercial spheres. Additionally, customers are enjoying the use of AR-enabled mobile apps to guide their in-store experiences. For brands that are still operating in person, customers can use augmented reality to virtually try on a blouse – or find the same item in a different size and color with a helpful on-screen visual guide. This has largely increased seller revenue by reducing operational costs, such as additional floor staff, while increasing sales due to increased brand awareness and ease of use. For brands that operate entirely online, this growth has occurred ten fold. Those who are skeptical about online purchases can easily try on a product with a virtual widget through their desktop or a mobile app. Additionally, customers can get bonuses and discounts from fun, immersive minigames and 360-degree images that are saturated with the brand’s unique branding. Whether intentionally or subconsciously, augmented and virtual reality technology is completely transforming the way we shop in person and online. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-214.jpeg] HOW DOES VR AFFECT ONLINE BUSINESS? One of the main struggles online businesses faced in 2020 was resuming standard production and daily operations without a central office location. Now, employees and consumers around the nation are still trying to conduct daily commerce from home – or their local coffee shop. Virtual reality has provided an interesting tool for staff and managers to stay connected – and productive – during this unprecedented time. With dynamic reporting, automated task management, and realistic 3D model projections, virtually every commercial sphere has changed as a result of this tech innovation. For larger markets like home and automotive, this feature has proven to be imperative for a successful remote purchase. Essentially, the addition of a digital way to “try before you buy” has significantly increased buyer satisfaction and brand recognition in a shorter amount of time compared to traditional shopping methods. For example, car brands are using augmented and VR industry trends to make the car-buying process easier for every consumer. Instead of heading to the dealership just to leave empty handed, customers can find the exact car they want, take a virtual test drive, and even apply for financing directly from the VR car showroom. Helping consumers visualize what they’re buying with high-quality 360-degree images and videos is just one way brands are boosting sales with this innovative system. Additionally, customers are reducing returns and improving satisfaction by knowing exactly what they’re shopping for before they buy. WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF AR/VR? The augmented and virtual reality industry have come a long way, but these revolutionary tech systems aren’t slowing down anytime soon. In fact, experts expect this sphere to gain billions in revenue over the next few years. Just like social media took over and became the primary point of contact for millions of online users, VR/AR technology will likely be the main way to communicate and connect online. Gamers are enjoying the increased graphics and sensor capabilities that allow them to mimic real-life actions and maneuvers. Shoppers, on the other hand, are saving time and money by improving the way they buy products they use everyday. Quite simply, augmented and virtual reality experiences make mundane hopping tasks and UX features much more fun for current and potential customers. Why would you just view a demo video when you could take a virtual test run of the product in question? Or, why would a customer want to keep track of a punchcad when they could spin a wheel with their own hands (through their mobile phone) to win a discount? The possibilities are endless, and brands across the world of global retail and ecommerce have used similar systems to make customers more likely to return to their stores. AR/VR is also driving consumers to save money in the long run, but increasing their security in their purchases and preventing buyers’ remorse. For larger purchases that require a lengthy investment, this change alone is helping consumers save thousands a year in standard incremental costs. The need for seamless and constant mobile connectivity has driven the growth of smart home platforms, voice-enabled assistance devices, and in-car augmented displays. These changes have improved consumer safety, security, and satisfaction in a major way. Now, it’s not likely that consumers will want to return to manual methods once their lives have been simplified by AR/VR technology. If you plan on being on the internet in the near future, you’ll be seeing more of these increasingly influential trends. Everything from social media advertisements to online checkout platforms will be using these innovative software tools to speed up the process, and save both parties money over time. Keep an eye out for these growing spheres to see how augmented and virtual reality tools will become a mainstream component of American lives moving forward. 2020 has seen a massive shift toward immersive digital experiences. Augmented reality and virtual reality systems have been a mainstay in gaming over recent years, but this revolutionary tech is transforming the way we connect with each other – and our favorite brands. Online and traditional businesses are using these systems to give customers a way to build a digital environment that meets their needs, respond to real stimuli in real time, and track their movements with key data. Retail brands, service providers, and even hands-on professions have been able to stay afloat with the help of AR/VR communication systems, reporting programs, and mobile storage apps. Read on to learn more about how augmented and VR industry trends in business are expected to grow heading into 2021. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-215.jpeg] AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY MARKET GROWTH The AR/VR industry as a whole has grown significantly in just 2020 alone. The pandemic drove people inside and online, and VR/AR systems bridged the gap between their online lives and their everyday routines. Chatting with friends, buying groceries, or even trying a new car in your driveway are all functions that can be completed entirely online with the help of augmentative or virtual reality technology. Growing tech brands and developers saw this need and met the demand with: * Mobile-friendly apps * Cloud-based storage bases * Local and online connectivity with friends * Affordable auxiliary equipment * Smart wearables * Sophisticated AI-enabled reporting This industry’s rapid growth is largely due to the human need for connection and seamless collaboration, without the ability to meet in person. The augmented and virtual reality industry generated more than $37 billion in revenue last year alone, but that number is expected to rise exponentially. By 2030, industry experts expect AR/VR tech to be pulling in upwards of $200 billion. AUGMENTED REALITY AND WORKING FROM HOME Among other parts of the market that are skyrocketing this year, remote assistance programs are soaring off the (virtual) shelves. Technicians, engineers, shoppers, and even homeowners are using these systems to connect with people independent of their physical location. With headsets also taking off and becoming more affordable, it’s easier for anyone to gain a higher level of control and detail when it comes to online actions. With just a mobile device (and wearable headset, in some cases) users are able to talk with their colleagues, simultaneously manipulate digital models, and review cloud-hosted information from any protected account. Now, co-workers can continue to work on joint projects with ease, while also reducing their timelines with sensitive task automation and AI-assisted project management tools. Video chat services that use multi-angle lenses and responsive movement tracking are also being used to simulate an in-person meeting environment. Additionally, this level of audio/visual connectivity has immensely helped those who have been forced into less-than-optimal home office environments. Building a virtual office environment reduces the amount of physical space and equipment needed to complete the same tasks. Augmented, virtual, and mixed reality solutions have the potential to drastically reduce corporate spending and employee investment responsibility across a wide variety of industries and specializations. CAN AUGMENTED REALITY INCREASE SALES? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-216.jpeg] Just like consumers are looking for an easier way to talk with brands and peers online, they also want to simplify any and all tasks they can. The growth of smart tech and in-home assistance tools that sync with our mobile devices has led to an interest in an even more immersive experience. COVID-19 shook up the existing commercial space, and built a new model that’s dependent on remote connectivity and online mobile user engagement. Adding VR/AR elements to their existing online presence has helped brands to: * Improve CTR metrics * Keep users on the page longer * Increase conversions * Build brand loyalty * Boost sales pipelines through referrals Retail brands are using AR/VR technology in a variety of ways, from advertising to product sampling to the customer service process. Being able to visualize products, gain a deeper understanding of brand offerings, and speak to representatives “face-to-face” is boosting engagement and retention rates across many commercial spheres. Additionally, customers are enjoying the use of AR-enabled mobile apps to guide their in-store experiences. For brands that are still operating in person, customers can use augmented reality to virtually try on a blouse – or find the same item in a different size and color with a helpful on-screen visual guide. This has largely increased seller revenue by reducing operational costs, such as additional floor staff, while increasing sales due to increased brand awareness and ease of use. For brands that operate entirely online, this growth has occurred ten fold. Those who are skeptical about online purchases can easily try on a product with a virtual widget through their desktop or a mobile app. Additionally, customers can get bonuses and discounts from fun, immersive minigames and 360-degree images that are saturated with the brand’s unique branding. Whether intentionally or subconsciously, augmented and virtual reality technology is completely transforming the way we shop in person and online. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-217.jpeg] HOW DOES VR AFFECT ONLINE BUSINESS? One of the main struggles online businesses faced in 2020 was resuming standard production and daily operations without a central office location. Now, employees and consumers around the nation are still trying to conduct daily commerce from home – or their local coffee shop. Virtual reality has provided an interesting tool for staff and managers to stay connected – and productive – during this unprecedented time. With dynamic reporting, automated task management, and realistic 3D model projections, virtually every commercial sphere has changed as a result of this tech innovation. For larger markets like home and automotive, this feature has proven to be imperative for a successful remote purchase. Essentially, the addition of a digital way to “try before you buy” has significantly increased buyer satisfaction and brand recognition in a shorter amount of time compared to traditional shopping methods. For example, car brands are using augmented and VR industry trends to make the car-buying process easier for every consumer. Instead of heading to the dealership just to leave empty handed, customers can find the exact car they want, take a virtual test drive, and even apply for financing directly from the VR car showroom. Helping consumers visualize what they’re buying with high-quality 360-degree images and videos is just one way brands are boosting sales with this innovative system. Additionally, customers are reducing returns and improving satisfaction by knowing exactly what they’re shopping for before they buy. WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF AR/VR? The augmented and virtual reality industry have come a long way, but these revolutionary tech systems aren’t slowing down anytime soon. In fact, experts expect this sphere to gain billions in revenue over the next few years. Just like social media took over and became the primary point of contact for millions of online users, VR/AR technology will likely be the main way to communicate and connect online. Gamers are enjoying the increased graphics and sensor capabilities that allow them to mimic real-life actions and maneuvers. Shoppers, on the other hand, are saving time and money by improving the way they buy products they use everyday. Quite simply, augmented and virtual reality experiences make mundane hopping tasks and UX features much more fun for current and potential customers. Why would you just view a demo video when you could take a virtual test run of the product in question? Or, why would a customer want to keep track of a punchcad when they could spin a wheel with their own hands (through their mobile phone) to win a discount? The possibilities are endless, and brands across the world of global retail and ecommerce have used similar systems to make customers more likely to return to their stores. AR/VR is also driving consumers to save money in the long run, but increasing their security in their purchases and preventing buyers’ remorse. For larger purchases that require a lengthy investment, this change alone is helping consumers save thousands a year in standard incremental costs. The need for seamless and constant mobile connectivity has driven the growth of smart home platforms, voice-enabled assistance devices, and in-car augmented displays. These changes have improved consumer safety, security, and satisfaction in a major way. Now, it’s not likely that consumers will want to return to manual methods once their lives have been simplified by AR/VR technology. If you plan on being on the internet in the near future, you’ll be seeing more of these increasingly influential trends. Everything from social media advertisements to online checkout platforms will be using these innovative software tools to speed up the process, and save both parties money over time. Keep an eye out for these growing spheres to see how augmented and virtual reality tools will become a mainstream component of American lives moving forward.

Turning Massive Challenges Into Meaningful Change

Turning Massive Challenges Into Meaningful Change

November 29, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented economic hardship and concern for consumers around the world. Nearly every industry has been negatively impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, including the automotive industry. Automotive manufacturers faced a number of unique challenges as a result of the pandemic. Production slowdowns, decline in consumer demand, and local lockdown or stay-at-home orders caused significant disruptions in operations for most automotive manufacturers. The pandemic is still raging, so it’s too soon to measure the full impact that COVID-19 had on the automotive industry. However, Cox Automotive recently released a comprehensive mid-year review report that provides some insight as to how the automotive industry is faring in the face of this year’s unique challenges. Here are some key findings from this report: ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN THE U.S. The report provides a snapshot of the economic conditions in the U.S. that reveals the extent of the devastation caused by COVID-19. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-12.png] Experts typically assess the state of the economy by measuring the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, which is the value of all goods and services produced in the country during a specific timeframe. The GDP dropped by nearly 40% in the second quarter of 2020, which indicates that the economy suffered substantial losses due to the pandemic. The unemployment rate also increased to 13.3% during this timeframe. This is primarily due to. lockdowns and stay-at-home orders related to the coronavirus pandemic. A drastic drop in GDP combined with a rising unemployment rate has left consumers worried about the economic future. Between May 2019 and May 2020, buyer confidence dropped roughly 28 points. The higher this score, the more likely consumers are to spend money and stimulate the economy. So if consumer confidence is dropping, this could hurt the economy even further. CONSUMERS DELAYING VEHICLE PURCHASES The report revealed that consumers who want or need a new vehicle are in no hurry to make a purchase or sign a lease. In fact, over one-third of these consumers are putting off purchasing or leasing a vehicle. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-13.png] There are several different reasons why consumers are choosing to delay purchasing or leasing a vehicle. Some cite the general uncertainty in the market right now, whereas others are specifically concerned about unemployment and their own job stability. Consumers also cited the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 as a reason for delaying vehicle purchases and leases. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-14.png] Automotive companies shouldn’t expect these consumers to change their minds overnight. In June, 41% of these consumers predicted that they would delay purchasing or leasing a vehicle for up to two months. Another 43% predicted that the delay would last between three to six months. This means automotive companies should not expect consumers to return to their pre-pandemic purchasing habits right away. CONSUMERS DELAYING VEHICLE MAINTENANCE & REPAIRS Purchasing a vehicle isn’t the only thing that automotive consumers are putting off during the pandemic. Many consumers are also putting off visiting a dealership or auto repair shop for routine maintenance and repairs. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-15.png] In early March, only 5% of consumers reported that they were delaying vehicle maintenance and repairs. This number peaked at 40% in early April, but holds steady at 25% in June. Out of these consumers, 95% are delaying routine vehicle maintenance and 52% are delaying vehicle repairs. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-16.png] Maintenance and repair delays could affect foot traffic at automotive dealerships, which could in turn affect sales. CORRELATION BETWEEN COVID-19 INFECTION RATE & AUTOMOTIVE SALES DROP There are countless factors that could impact the health of the automotive industry, so some people may wonder whether COVID-19 really is solely to blame for this year’s challenges. The report answers this question by showing a clear correlation between the COVID-19 infection rate and automotive sales. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-17.png] According to the report, automotive sales suffered the most in states that were hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the state of New York was considered the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in March and April of this year. During these two months, automotive sales in New York dropped by 63% compared to the same time period last year. Automotive sales drastically declined in other states with high COVID-19 infection rates, such as Pennsylvania and California. However, automotive sales did not suffer as much in states that had low COVID-19 infection rates at the time. Automotive sales in Arkansas, for example, only dropped by 12% compared to last year. SALES REBOUND AS STATES RECOVER FROM COVID-19 The report shows that state-level automotive sales declined as the state’s infection rate increased. But it also shows the opposite—state-level automotive sales start to rebound as the state begins to recover from COVID-19. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-18.png] As previously mentioned, automotive sales in New York dropped by 63% during March and April, which is when COVID-19 first began to take its toll on the state. But over the next month and a half, sales increased by 1.3%. This may not seem significant, but it indicates that getting the pandemic under control can help automotive companies recover. LOWER FINANCING AND OWNERSHIP COSTS Another bright spot in the Cox Automotive report is the data related to the cost of vehicle financing and ownership. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-19.png] The effective federal funds rate dropped from 2.39% in May 2019 to 0.05% in May 2020. This means that banks were able to borrow money at a lower interest rate and pass these savings onto consumers. Furthermore, the average new auto loan rate dropped from 6.30% in May 2019 to 4.56% in May 2020. This may persuade consumers who are on the fence to take action in order to take advantage of the lower interest rate. The lower the rate, the less the consumer will pay in interest on their vehicle loan. Mobility costs, which are the costs associated with using a vehicle, are also lower this year. The average retail price of unleaded gasoline dropped from $2.82 per gallon in May 2019 to $1.98 per gallon in May 2020. The lower the price of gasoline, the cheaper it is to own and use a vehicle. Promoting low interest rates and mobility costs could help automotive companies attract more customers and increase their sales. LOW SUPPLY COULD IMPACT THE INDUSTRY’S RECOVERY & LIMIT CONSUMER OPTIONS The report clearly shows that it is possible for the automotive industry to recover once COVID-19 is under control. But automotive companies may face another obstacle on their road to recovery: low inventory. Many production plants were closed due to lockdown or stay-at-home orders, which means automotive manufacturers were unable to produce new inventory. Then, sales started to slowly rebound at the same time the production plants were reopening. This led to a rapid drop in the available supply of vehicles. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-20.png] In March, there were about 3.5 million vehicles available for sale in the United States. But just three months later, this number dropped to roughly 2.6 million. The days’ supply also fell below 80, which indicates that the automotive inventory could have been depleted in less than three months. Inventory issues affected some manufacturers more than others. Toyota, Subaru, and GMC were three of the manufacturers that were low on inventory, whereas Nissan and Ford had the highest numbers of vehicles available. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-21.png] LUXURY AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURERS MAY SUFFER THE MOST Many consumers are experiencing financial hardship right now, so it’s not hard to understand why the pandemic may have the biggest impact on luxury automotive manufacturers. During times of economic uncertainty, consumers tend to gravitate towards lower-priced vehicles. This is why manufacturers such as Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, and Kia may not be as greatly affected by the pandemic as more high-end automotive manufacturers such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and Jaguar. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-22.png] Lending requirements often change during economic uncertainty, which is another factor that could make it harder on luxury automotive manufacturers. Lenders are more hesitant to take on risk during periods of economic uncertainty. To avoid risk, they may only lend to borrowers with higher FICO scores. This means it could be harder for some buyers to get approved for a loan that they need to afford the purchase of a luxury vehicle. OPPORTUNITY FOR USED VEHICLE SALES GROWTH One of the silver linings included in the Cox Automotive report is the opportunity for used vehicle sales growth. The market for both new and used vehicle sales bottomed in mid-April, which is when most lockdowns and stay-at-home orders began to take effect. Both new and used sales started to slowly improve in the weeks that followed. But as of June 15th, new vehicle sales were still well below last year’s figures, whereas there was a positive gain in used vehicle sales compared to the same timeframe last year. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-23.png] This data indicates that automotive companies may need to focus more on selling used vehicles in order to boost sales and make a full recovery. SALES OF CERTIFIED PRE-OWNED VEHICLES ARE STABILIZING The sale of certified pre-owned vehicles could be another area of opportunity for automotive manufacturers. A certified pre-owned vehicle is a used vehicle that has passed certain inspections and met specific standards established by the manufacturer. Many manufacturers offer additional perks such as extended warranty coverage to consumers who purchase certified pre-owned vehicles. Just like standard used vehicles, certified pre-owned vehicles are more affordable than new vehicles. But certified pre-owned vehicles are typically viewed as more reliable than standard used vehicles since they have been thoroughly inspected. Sales of certified pre-owned vehicles declined in March and April at the start of coronavirus-related lockdowns. But in May, sales began to stabilize. In fact, sales of certified pre-owned vehicles in May were almost identical to pre-pandemic monthly sales of these vehicles. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-24.png] Automotive companies that are suffering due to the economic impact of the pandemic may want to allocate resources to the promotion of certified pre-owned vehicles. MANHEIM INDEX INDICATES INCREASE IN USED VEHICLE WHOLESALE PRICES The data in the report indicated that automotive manufacturers may be able to recover by shifting their focus to the sale of used or certified-pre owned vehicles. But the report also revealed that making this shift may be a challenge for some businesses. The Manheim Index is recognized as the most important indicator of wholesale used vehicle prices. In other words, the Manheim Index can be used to determine how much dealerships will have to pay for used vehicles that they can resell to consumers. The higher this number, the higher the average wholesale price of a used vehicle. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-25.png] The report reveals that the Manheim Index rose to 146.1 in mid-June, which is the highest it has been in over 25 years. Because used vehicle wholesale prices are so high, it may be harder for small dealerships to purchase used vehicles from wholesalers in order to resell them to consumers. Even if a dealership can afford these prices, they will have to raise the retail price so they can still make a profit on each vehicle. If the average price of a used vehicle significantly increases, consumer demand may start to decline. Based on this data, the opportunity for automotive companies to increase sales by focusing on used vehicles may not be as promising as it looks. INDEPENDENT DEALERSHIPS AREN’T PREPARED FOR SHIFT TO DIGITAL Most consumers are hesitant to visit dealerships in-person due to the threat of coronavirus. Based on this report, it seems that automotive companies are well aware of this fact. The report states that 81% of franchise dealerships and 78% of independent dealerships are going beyond conducting business just in their physical location. It would make sense for automotive companies to begin conducting business online, especially since research has shown that the process of buying a new vehicle typically starts online. But unfortunately, not all dealerships are prepared to offer consumers an online retail experience. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-26.png] The shift to the online vehicle shopping experience may benefit large dealerships. This is because over three-fourths of franchise dealerships—compared to 45% of independent dealerships—already have digital retailing solutions in place. This data shows that independent dealerships may need to invest heavily in digital retailing solutions to stay competitive. The Cox Automotive report confirms that companies in the automotive industry faced significant challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s no doubt that there is a long road ahead for automotive manufacturers hoping to rebound from a difficult year. But fortunately, the Cox Automotive report also revealed that there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Automotive companies can bounce back by focusing on the sale of certified pre-owned and used vehicles. Dealerships can also increase their sales by investing in digital retailing solutions that allow consumers to research and purchase vehicles without ever stepping foot in a showroom. Maximizing these opportunities can help the automotive industry make a full—and fast—recovery after a devastating and unpredictable year.

How Dogs are Using Augmented Reality Goggles in U.S. Army Trials

How Dogs are Using Augmented Reality Goggles in U.S. Army Trials

November 6, 2020

In recent prototype tests conducted by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, combat dogs have been using augmented reality goggles developed by Command Sight to enhance their support services. This technology is actively being developed to help dogs safely perform deployment tasks without the need for a trainer to be close by. Removing the need for hand signals and physical cues allows trainers to give commands remotely, while providing the dogs with a higher level of support. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-123.jpeg] AUGMENTED REALITY TECHNOLOGY FOR MILITARY DOGS Command Sight has been working on developing AR technology for working combat dogs since 2017. Founder Dr. A.J. Peper started this small company to help military service dogs receive and respond to instructions from their handlers. In fact, most of the initial research has been performed using Peper’s own pet, which is a Rottweiler named Mater. Using the AR-enabled goggles, dogs can determine the location of a possible explosives cache or enemy troops using guides and cues displayed in their eye line. Removing the use of conspicuous hand signals and laser commands protects both the Army handler and the dog from enemy attention. Augmented reality is also a more discrete and flexible replacement for audio cues, such as walkie-talkies and verbal commands. Initial U.S. Army trials with augmented reality goggles for dogs have determined that trained animals are able to recognize highlighted digital elements that are within their natural line of sight. This eliminates confusion, without the need for attention-grabbing commands that can put the dog and handler in immediate danger. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-124.jpeg] IMPROVED SAFETY FOR SOLDIERS Combat dogs have played a major role in the military for decades. From drug and explosive detection to strategic attacks, military dogs are a vital asset across every branch of the U.S. armed forces. However, traditional training techniques leave dogs and their handler’s vulnerable to distraction and detection. Dogs typically rely on hand signals, verbal commands, and tactile cues to respond to commands. This can cause problems when a dog’s assistance is needed in the field. Hand and voice signalling puts handlers at risk of unwanted attention, and external factors can heavily impact a soldier’s ability to successfully communicate with their combat dog. Using virtual cues creates a buffer for dogs and their handlers in the event of a rescue operation or other dangerous scenario. This will also increase the level of support dogs are able to give soldiers, by reducing the need for their handlers to join them side-by-side in combat. Due to their heightened sense of smell and hearing, dogs perform exceedingly well in explosive hunts and operations involving dangerous materials. Giving commands virtually over the dog’s active line of sight helps them to do their jobs unobstructed, and without endangering their human handlers. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-125.jpeg] INCREASED PROTECTION FOR COMBAT DOGS While dogs are better equipped for a wide range of combat tasks and operations, risk to military animals should always be minimized as much as possible. US Army trials augmented reality goggles for dogs have shown that AR gives dogs more autonomy, while also reducing the risk of collateral damage. Using augmented reality goggles as a training tool allows handlers to give commands remotely, independent of their location. Instead of staying within the dog’s line of sight, soldiers can communicate with their dogs virtually. This eliminates the handler’s need to join their dogs in dangerous or volatile situations. Additionally, this protects the dogs by preventing additional attention from putting them in harm’s way. Dogs can use augmented reality to receive directions in real time without physically connecting with their handler. This is especially helpful when either party is in the midst of a dangerous environment. Outfitting cameras at eye level and using dynamic reporting allows military dogs and their handlers to effectively: * Process commands discreetly * Communicate in real time * Maintain location independence * Improve onsite security Combat dogs are essential for domestic and international military operations, and augmented reality goggles are just another tool that’s helping to make their jobs safer and easier. ENHANCING CURRENT WEARABLE EQUIPMENT The concept of using wearable technology for combat animals isn’t brand new. In fact, military dogs have been accustomed to using goggles as protective gear for a while. Protective eye and headwear is used to protect combat dogs from environmental hazards, shrapnel, and even air drops. Since military dogs are already used to the look and feel of goggles, adding augmented reality capabilities has been a fairly seamless transition. Now, dogs are being trained to recognize visual commands through the goggles as an augmented reality projection. This has proven to be even more effective than silent cues like laser pointers, since lasers aren’t able to bend around corners. Instead, dogs have a more accurate sense of direction using illuminated or highlighted focus points through their AR-equipped goggle headset. By using the visual information from the dog’s goggles, U.S. Army handlers are able to key points of interest. These subtle details can mean the difference between life and death for the soldier or the dog. With the assistance of augmented reality in a real-life situation, handlers and dogs can be protected from hostile attacks and active fire. As the U.S. Army trials augmented reality goggles for dogs, military service animals are being given a way to build their skill sets safely and out of harm’s way. SIMPLIFIED TRAINING AND COMMUNICATION Training and command implementation are the most important aspects of using working dogs effectively in a combat environment. When it comes to communication between military dogs and their handlers, less is more and every second counts. Augmented reality goggles give combat dogs clearer and more direct commands, without confusion caused by: * Device interference * Physical barriers * Presence of enemy soldiers or equipments * Distractions In a dynamic and volatile combat environment, soldiers and their service dogs can not afford to waste any time on misfired or distracting command methods. They also can’t afford to risk giving up their position or physical location as a result of conspicuous communication tactics. Once fully wireless augmented reality goggle technology is available for the U.S. military, deployments and domestic operations will become safer and more efficient for everyone involved. AUGMENTED REALITY PROTOTYPE DEVELOPMENT FOR COMBAT DOGS Although combat canine units have been utilizing wearable technology for years, augmented reality developers are still in the initial stages of the applied use for military dogs. This revolutionary system has passed the initial phase of official testing. But, as the U.S. Army trials augmented reality goggles for dogs continue, there are still two more critical phases to complete. Augmented reality doesn’t exactly function the same way for dogs as it does for humans. Humans rely on more audio and visual elements to communicate effectively, while animals are able to recognize more simplified cues. Instead of giving the dog a digital image of the trainer, augmented reality goggles give the dog one-dimensional commands. The purpose of this technology is to simplify the training tactics being used between the handler and animal, not to effectively replace in-person interaction. Also, using goggles that are outfitted with cameras allows handlers to see from the dog’s point of view. Soldiers can take advantage of the live feed that is being recorded via the dog’s AR headset, and they can help to guide the dog by sharing their actual perspective. In current applications, cameras are instead fixed to the dog’s back harness. Using the goggles to see from the animal’s perspective provides soldiers with more control, and a much higher level of visibility. Additionally, this positioning helps to stabilize the live video feed for a clearer picture overall. But, these capabilities will likely expand with more widespread adoption across different departments and command functions. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-126.jpeg] MAINSTREAM AR GOGGLE USE FOR MILITARY DOGS When it comes to the innovation and development of augmented reality for military service dogs, this is just the beginning. Current versions of this technology included a wired headset, requiring the handler to still be within close proximity to the subject. But, developers expect to bring a wireless version to the market in the next two years. Perfecting a wireless model will provide dogs and handlers with even more freedom and, in turn, safety while they’re out in the field. Eventually, real-life applications will help soldiers to obtain critical operation information, identify explosives, and evade enemy contact. Once a wireless model becomes available for general testing and production, U.S. Army researchers can work on enhancing the technology for different dog breeds and activity capabilities. Augmented reality is becoming an increasingly important part of mainstream technology, so it’s no surprise that the military is utilizing AR to improve day-to-day operations. Increasing safety by improving communication between military animals and their handlers has great potential to prevent dangerous incidents from endangering soldiers or combat dogs. Command Sight is just one of the leaders in this growing sphere, but augmented reality is certainly here to stay.

AR Brings Futuristic Holographic Display Tech To Our Real-life Vehicles

AR Brings Futuristic Holographic Display Tech To Our Real-life Vehicles

October 28, 2020

Hollywood has definitely played up our fantasy for futuristic cars that do it all. From Star Wars to Iron Man, the Hollywood version of automobiles in the future rely heavily on tons and tons of advanced augmented and virtual reality features such as holographic display tech. Those fantasies might not be too far fetched after all. Many major automotive companies are looking for ways to bring augmented reality (AR) dreams into real-life vehicles. They are reaching out to tech and startup tech companies to incorporate their innovative technology into commercial vehicles. It seems that the big hope in the industry is to create fleets of fully autonomous vehicles. There are some major automotive players like Ford and Tesla already piloting and using autonomous vehicles; however, many of them are still not producing them in a way that is available for mass production and consumption. While the dream of fully autonomous vehicles is still years away, companies are looking to use AR to enhance the driving experience for consumers. One way, AR is making actual progress in vehicles is through holographic display tech in the form of heads up displays. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-108.jpeg] EARLY HEADS-UP DISPLAYS TO HOLOGRAPHIC DISPLAY TECH Heads up displays are often depicted as extremely advanced technology and features in futuristic movies. However, the heads-up display (HUD) is not necessarily new or innovative. Heads-up displays were first created in World War II to help fighter and bomber pilots to focus on looking at the horizon rather than being distracted from looking at maps while in the cockpit. The technology and features that were created to help these war-time pilots we would now consider the heads-up display. These planes had not necessarily new technology incorporated, but actually used technology and adapted it to their vehicles. The true beginnings of the heads-up display as we know it now comes from these adapted fighter planes. Using radar technology, these specialty planes were equipped with a piece of glass right in front of the pilot that displayed the radar information used to identify targets, including an artificial horizon. However, these displays were not commonly used during the war and were reserved for specialized night flyers. POSTWAR ADVANCES Postwar engineers continued to improve and develop this technology for future military aircrafts as well as the commercial aircraft market. However, this development in technology also began to be adapted to automobiles as well. Automakers after the war, many of whom were veterans themselves, began incorporating this early version of a HUD into cars. In the 1960s, General Motors were among the first to develop sketches and drafts of a vehicle with a HUD. However, the actual implementation of a functioning HUD in a commercial car would not come until the 1980s. GENERAL MOTOR’S BREAKTHROUGH IN 1988 General Motors’ Fifty 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertibles featured a heads-up display that projected a digital speedometer and turn-signal indicators on the windshield for the driver. This advancement from GM was made possible through their acquisition of Hughes Aircraft in 1985, which allowed them access to technology that aircrafts were using and adapted them to their commercial vehicles. TODAY’S HEADS UP DISPLAYS Today, heads-up displays are commonplace among luxury vehicles and have come a long way from its original aircraft usage. Many vehicles that have a head-up display can project important driving information like its predecessors such as a speedometer and turn-signal indicators. However, many advancements to the display features have been created such as GPS-guided turn-by-turn directions, blindspot indicators, and even what song is currently playing. While current HUDs have much more information available and advancements, they still have limitations. For one, they can only display a two-dimensional image layered over the driver’s view on the windshield. Some HUDs might allow you to adjust the placement of the display pane, but, visually, there is not much advancement to the display, that might soon change. The next step in HUDs is holographic display tech. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-109.jpeg] WHAT IS HOLOGRAPHIC DISPLAY TECH? But, what exactly is holographic display tech? Essentially it uses augmented reality to overlay an interactive image in front of the driver and on the windshield. These advanced versions of heads-up displays would project more than just a speedometer and would encompass the entire windshield. It would display much more advanced imagery and information for the driver such as mapping and navigation, hazard warnings, and more. Holographic images can help to create a more realistic look to the images displayed and can provide more information that can help drivers. The goal for all of these tech companies is to create HUDs that go beyond just displaying flat images in front of the driver but creating depth in the projections. Depth would allow for the overlaid images to appear as if they are floating in the real world. Currently, HUDs only display a flat image. With holographic display tech, heads-up displays will be able to follow the exact view in front of the driver and graphics will actually curve with the actual curve of streets and will appear as if the images are part of the actual view of the driver not just laid over the windshield. They would enhance the driver’s view and driving experience to make it safer and more enjoyable, not merely display dashboard information. Today, consumers are looking to fulfill their car fantasies that they’ve seen in films. Many major carmakers are betting that Holographic display tech will bring those fantasies to real-life. Major automakers are making huge investments in tech companies to bring this technology to their commercial cars. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-75.jpeg] COMPANIES INVESTING IN AR VEHICLE FEATURES Envisics is just one of those tech companies that are getting million dollar investments from automakers to create holographic display tech that can bring advanced technology to the everyday driver. Hoping to be pioneers in HUDs, Envisics has been working with several major automakers such as Hyundai, General Motors, and Jaguar to bring holographic display tech to the masses. Envisics is currently working with higher end vehicles on the market to integrate this technology. Their initial work with Jaguar Land Rover is predicted to be available by 2023. They are also in the works with Hyudai to incorporate such technology to work with autonomous vehicles that are aimed for release in 2025. With such major investors and the demand for more augmented reality integration, Envisics has seen their valuation boost to over $250 million. Along with Evisics, other tech companies are getting into the market and collaborating with major automakers to try and be the first to incorporate more advanced HUDs to commercial vehicles. WayRay and Falcon AR are also working to create more advanced HUDs with holographic display tech. WayRay hopes to take it even further and allow for an entire windshield display that can be split for driver and passenger screens. The company is also playing with the idea of allowing advertising opportunities onto their displays much like social media dashboards on smartphones. The future of the automotive industry is clearly relying on augmented reality technology to help boost competition and increase sales. Holographic display tech could be in consumer’s grasp soon and is a way to test the waters for major automakers when it comes to integrating augmented reality into vehicles designed for mass production. But, there are also many other ways AR is being utilized in the industry today and potential for its future usage in the automotive industry. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-110.jpeg] FUTURE OF AR IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY Augmented reality might not necessarily be synonymous with the automotive industry; however, the two industries have found a natural and mutually beneficial relationship. The automotive industry is already using AR in many aspects. From car design to sales, augmented reality has found a lasting role in the industry. Many automakers utilize augmented reality in their design process to allow car designers to create and innovate easily and quickly. AR has become especially useful when it comes to the selling of commercial vehicles. Many dealerships have incorporated the technology to their online selling platforms. Using virtual showrooms, dealerships can incorporate augmented reality into their online buying experience. Potential buyers can browse and view available vehicles. However, this is far from just a normal online buying experience. Virtual reality companies like RelayCars are creating virtual showrooms that are creating a much more immersive and engaging online shopping experience for consumers. Virtual showrooms can allow buyers to view the inside of a vehicle as if they are actually inside the car. This gives buyers a chance to become familiar with a car before even stepping into the dealership. Automakers know that in order to increase sales and meet consumer demand they must innovate and move forward. Using AR and virtual reality, they can bring to life the car fantasies of Hollywood that consumers long for. They are already embracing ways to use advanced technologies to make our vehicle experience more interactive and immersive than ever before. From Envisic’s holographic display tech to RelayCars’ virtual showroom, augmented reality and the auto industry are truly pushing where technology will bring our world in the future.

Apple to Add Augmented Reality Content on TV+ Services

Apple to Add Augmented Reality Content on TV+ Services

October 21, 2020

Television and entertainment services battled for years against digital streaming and online service. However, once they started to adjust business models, the concerns reduced and highly profitable systems evolved such as NetFlix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and of course Apple TV Plus. These masters of streaming entertainment have brought all sorts of variations to the public, from simple streaming services to rewindable live TV, and even the latest movies (often without additional costs). [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-95.jpeg] Therefore, it is hardly surprising that in the hunt for something new and different, Apple has decided to venture into an augmented reality entertainment option. Apple already has much of the hardware in place, including headsets and phones with the required technology to allow augmented entertainment to work perfectly. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-96.jpeg] WHY IS APPLE NOW ADDING AUGMENTED REALITY TV? According to the report from Bloomberg, Apple plans to release this augmented content on its streaming service next year. While it is a novelty and possibly highly entertaining addition to Apple TV Plus, the reason for its launch has some other factors behind it. There have been some rumors that Apple is taking a strong interest in augmented content. They have reportedly been adding chips required for such software to work effectively into their popular phone models and tablet lines, and are also working on a single headset that could do virtual reality and augmented reality from one device. The potential of smart augmented reality glasses for 2023 is another exciting factor. The move towards augmented content was delayed by COVID19 originally. However, things are now back in motion and there is a likelihood that it will be released next year. HOW WILL AUGMENTED REALITY TV PLUS CONTENT WORK? Although it is possible that in the future we may be watching entire storylines played out in our living rooms, it is likely to be some time before that is realistic. In the case of Apple TV augmented reality, it is likely to come in the form of additional content or possibly simplified scenes of the show that could be augmented into the real world. This could work as personal interviews with the actors and actresses, directors cut clips or action scenes created specifically for augmented reality entertainment. This ‘fun’ twist on normal TV streaming is likely to have two benefits. Firstly, entertained subscribers remain subscribers for longer. If Apple offers something that other services are unable to yet provide, it could also attract new subscribers from their competition. Secondly, as we mentioned earlier, Apple has been working towards an augmented reality headset. THE VERGE reported late 2019 that Apple is planning their augmented products to be released in 2021-2022 for a full headset and 2023 for augmented reality glasses. While the main headset is likely to resemble current offerings, the glasses are going to be designed for long usage periods. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-97.jpeg] WHAT WILL APPLE’S AUGMENTED REALITY HEADSET OFFER? Apple addicts are excited about Apple heading into augmented reality entertainment. There are likely to be some high-quality and powerful devices coming to the Apple lineup. It is expected that the glasses will be thicker than normal glasses, but that the batteries and chipsets will be constructed into the frames. If this is achievable, it will be a revolutionary step for augmented reality. In theory, as these develop, they could be worn all day and present information or entertainment almost anywhere without needing a cell phone. As the information could be overlaid, if the chipsets can be powerful enough, augmented reality glasses could change how we use digital devices. Mobile devices replaced many aspects of computers, radio, TV, gaming consoles, alarm clocks, calendars, flashlights, and more. Augmented reality through smart-glasses could potentially replace many of today’s objects, such as laptops, monitors, TVs, and more. Users will be able to interact with virtual objects using gestures. Initially, it is likely that the computing power would come from a mobile device, but later could be built into the glasses themselves. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-98.jpeg] One interesting twist is that these smart glasses may come with prescription lenses. This would make the experience for people with eyesight issues more enjoyable and also make the glasses a possible replacement for their normal glasses. Mac Rumours also reported that the headset will likely come with “features like 3D scanning and advanced human detection”. Apple seems to be aiming to create a sleeker and more compact headset than those currently available, but with the power to accurately map out and interpret the real-world. It is also suggested in reports that the ‘headset’ could support both virtual realities and augmented reality, without needing to be connected with cables to a computer or phone. It is unlikely, however, that the computing power will be built into the headset. Instead, there will probably be a designated device that wirelessly streams the information to the headset. The software powering these devices is rOS, which is apparently based on IOS, but with a focus on virtual ‘reality’, hence the ‘r’. It is also likely that users will be able to access and download the software directly from within the headsets. The potential for the company to first really make ‘augmented object usage’ mainstream could be huge. Apple augmented reality experiences are already gaining traction, with diverse ways of learning, viewing, and playing. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-99.jpeg] HOW COULD AUGMENTED ENTERTAINMENT DEVELOP? The future of augmented reality is an interesting topic, as so much is potentially possible to achieve with this technology. At the moment, device sizes and costs are hindering mainstream adoption, but as costs reduce and devices become far more compact, potential uses are endless. For entertainment, we could see: * Gaming – started by Pokemon Go, augmented reality gaming is leaping ahead. Now, entire battles can be played out on the living room floor, or you can run around your area killing zombies. * TV – We mention that it could add ‘extras’, but as things develop it could take 3D to another level or have random ‘surprises’ embedded in normal TV. Imagine, for example, a normal horror movie wherein random parts things suddenly jump out of the screen into your living room. If using virtual reality, you could almost literally experience standing in the middle of amazing scenes. * Escapism & Decoration – augmented reality offers the possibility to change your environment. It could be as simple as changing the wall color, to having your living room appear like an underwater paradise. For relaxation and a change from the norm, this is a flexible and fun solution. * Travel – This is an exciting area. Not only can destinations such as museums be enhanced with augmented effects and information, but the journey anywhere can be fun as well. Drives or flights could offer hours of fun entertainment, instead of simply staring out of the window. * Replacement – as devices become more comfortable to wear, the need for widescreen monitors and TVs could disappear. Augmented reality could replace many of the devices we currently use for entertainment. * Real Inside Virtual – We are already starting to see some activities and games where only selected real-world objects are included, but the environment around them is virtual or could be a virtually enhanced version of the real world. * Fun Education – books, the house, our bodies, and more can be explored and brought to life in fun and educational ways via augmented reality. * Participation – Shows or other entertainment could be brought into the home. Users could participate in events, activities, and challenges … just as they have seen them on TV. Not only would it be fun, but it would also give an insight into what show contestants experience. * Promotions – Although we often don’t like adverts or junk mail, augmented reality promotions could be extremely entertaining and information. * Music – See your favorite singer in your living room in full 3D, or have lyrics instantly displayed to whatever songs you hear. * Sports – virtual and augmented reality can help to bring sports to life. From overlaying information to allowing the viewer to be virtually seated courtside. As technologies develop and ideas expand, this could become more than we can currently imagine. However, what is almost certain is that how we see and interact with the world around us is almost certainly going to be augmented in the future. If Apple has its way, the experience will be through lightweight and wireless glasses, enabling comfortable usage for longer.

Trends to Watch in Augmented and Virtual Reality

Trends to Watch in Augmented and Virtual Reality

October 12, 2020

Last year saw considerable growth in the virtual reality and augmented reality sectors. This, however, was before COVID-19 swept the world. With many stuck at home, attention has increasingly turned towards home entertainment and remote working approaches. In 2020, Apple has also shown more development interests, recently purchasing NextVR as well as registering numerous patents for VR and AR focused technology. While entertainment is a strong focus, VR and AR are also expanding into numerous other sectors. Some interesting trends include sectors such as the marketing, education, consulting, and medical sectors. Here we look at some of the most interesting and potentially life-changing trends of VR and AR, including where things are likely to head next. TOP VR TRENDS OF 2020 VR has been around the longest of these two sectors and has already proved quite popular with the gaming sector. However, the use of VR has expanded far beyond simply being an entertainment technology. EDUCATION VR is almost a perfect for offering education, especially for places or systems where access is not easy or not possible. In this sense, enhancing education with VR technology can help students to gain a deeper understanding of the way things work. This can be anything from the internal workings of the human body, to what makes up a star. With VR, the student can see live representations, see multiple layers, and interact with the environment. In Myanmar, UNESCO reported, “more than 5,000 of the country’s 500,000 teachers have had a chance to become acquainted with the technology”. In this case, VR is being used in normal classroom scenarios in an affordable way that brings the subject to life. THEAPPSOLUTIONS also predicts that “Education is expected to be the 4th biggest sector for VR investments”. It is also perfect for training staff, particularly when dealing with potentially hazardous or dangerous situations. The need for learning the ‘theory’ and then applying it in a real-world situation is removed. Instead, students can learn the theory and then practice in a VR world. Whether a soldier or a chemical waste disposal expert, being able to practice in a VR situation is a great opportunity for ‘almost’ real experience. COVID-19 has added extra fire to the idea of distance learning, new and intuitive approaches to VR learning are coming out for ‘normal’ education. This can allow students to study partly or fully from home, but also gain socialization and even experience group learning in VR environments via educational platforms. WEIGHT AND FREEDOM When it comes to headsets, size and weight make a big difference to the experience. Devices need to include the technology to provide a ‘realistic’ and believable experience. However, they also need to be wearable for considerable periods and comfortable. The weight of devices has decreased, while also allowing for more power and other included technology such as stereo sound. The increased ‘onboard’ power has allowed for devices such as Facebook’s Oculus Quest to be self-contained. As tech progresses, the need to be connected to processing devices may reduce or even vanish. MERGING TECH As things progress, VR devices are also gaining some AR characteristics. This is achieved via video passthrough. The device can display both what is being ‘seen’ by its cameras, as well as what is created by the software. To make this possible, there have been significant advances with devices and the incorporation of a high-res display, motion tracking sensors, high-end cameras, and more. The result is a visual environment that includes the ‘real world’ view while being able to alter it in any way programmed. It gives a highly realistic and immersive experience. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-76.jpeg] ECOMMERCE How we shop, or more importantly where we shop is going to change. For many, shopping from home is not a new idea and so the idea of virtual shopping isn’t that much of a stretch. However, with VR and AR, that shopping experience can be taken to an experience and interactivity level not previously possible. Shopping experiences will change, such as car sales potentially being almost entirely online. Shoppers could potentially experience a vehicle in full 360-degree views, get the specs, and interact with aspects of the car. It might even be possible in the future to remotely test drive a car. AR is already allowing you to ‘see’ the car in your actual environment. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-77.jpeg] TOP AR TRENDS OF 2020 As a slightly newer technology, augmented reality is gaining momentum. It is predicted to dramatically exceed the market sector of virtual reality by 2025. AR is getting some interesting uses, both in the gaming world and the business sector. For many, Pokemon Go was one of the first experiences of AR. This technology merges and alters the real world view. This combination of the real world with augmented objects is what makes it so versatile. One of the useful features of AR is that it doesn’t necessarily need special hardware to use it. A mobile phone or tablet can be used to display the visual and audio aspects of AR. However, for a more subversive experience, specialist headsets can also be used. AI IS CHANGING THE WORLD AI has changed many aspects of our daily lives, almost without us noticing it. From phones that adapt to user preferences, to fully-featured personal assistants, AI is changing how we interact with the web and how we run our lives. In regards to VR and AR, AI is providing a level of interconnection and ‘understanding’ that previously wasn’t possible or wasn’t easy to achieve. An example of this is how AI apps can understand what they are seeing. This results in more accurate augmented experiences, such as that with camera filters and animations that perfectly apply to what is seen by the camera. Instagram and other fun camera apps are good examples of this technological merger. AI is not only applied to fun apps and games. AI is already changing how we travel in some areas, such as in airports that provide apps that integrate with numerous ‘data providers’ of the airport to provide everything from augmented navigation to the latest customer updates. A major example of this use is seen in Gatwick Airport, although over the next year it is expected that there will be more airports adopting similarly modern approaches. AI can help with navigation, flight information, contacting customers or staff, and even helps with immigration control, such as with facial recognition technology. AI and AR have the potential to change how businesses and customers interact, providing each with a customized experience, and smoothing the processes for all. As AI capabilities expand further, it is likely that what is possible to achieve with AR will also grow. HEALTHCARE, COMMERCE, AND INDUSTRY AND MORE These developing technologies are providing interesting solutions to healthcare and other industries. AR, for example, could help to guide and support doctors by overlaying information or even showing inside a patient. With remote technologies and data rates improving, remote consultations are possible. There are already designs and prototypes of healthcare pods, where the patient can get basic scans, tests, and even consult with a doctor from wherever the pod is deployed. However, the uses of VR and AR go far beyond consultations. Treatment of phobias can be performed in safe virtual environments, AI could combine with AR to assist with surgeries, and with the assistant of machines, it is expected that in a future that surgeries could even be performed entirely remotely. Who knows, maybe the surgeon could even be an AI. In regards to industry usage, similar applications are limitless. From remote controlling devices or robots to simulating dangerous environments for practice and training, how we do business is sure to evolve with these technologies. AR is also helping people to shop and enjoy the experience. Interactive AR features provide a ‘fun’ novelty to a normal shopping experience. A recent report showed that “Nearly 61% of customers chose shops that offer AR technology over normal shops”. MOBILE POWER One aspect that is increasing the use of AR apps and games is easier access to powerful mobile devices. Devices have become both more powerful and more affordable. While the top brands may ask around $1000 for their latest flagship model, there are lesser-known brands producing high-spec phones for a fraction of the price. This increased availability means that income isn’t so much of a divide and that most areas of the world are connected with mobile technology and web access. Increased specs also result in more enjoyable user experiences and allow for more sensors, camera lenses, graphic processing, and memory for AR apps and games. As mobile technology continues to develop, what is possible as far as VR and AR are likely to grow accordingly. BROWSER POWERED AR & VR EXPERIENCES While this has been around for a while, developments in supporting technologies are expanding what is possible with the ‘immersive web’. With this technology, there is no need for people to download specific experiences but instead can experience them almost live via supporting browsers and mobile devices. The type of experience can range dramatically, from full 360-degree videos to visualizations and graphics augmentations of the real world. It is everything from the real world recordings to a fully virtualized experience. AR development platforms are also helping to expand things further, providing developers with the tools that they need to create amazing content. Even Apple recently released access to their tool called ARKit, hinting at more to be coming from them soon. The benefit of entirely online web experiences is convenience and expanded audience. This is, even more, the case as compatible technology becomes more affordable and more powerful. As 5G enters the scene, what is capable via the internet is expected to expand considerably. THE POSSIBILITIES OF 5G 5G will allow faster and larger data transfer rates than were previously possible. This means more can be ‘instantly’ accessed from the cloud, as well as the possibility for almost instantaneous communication from anywhere connected. This connectivity changes how we can access data and what is achievable within the restraints of bandwidth. With rates as those announced by Telekom.com “A speed of three gigabits per second was measured. Under ideal conditions, the 5G speed should in future reach up to 10 Gbit/s, the equivalent of a 20-fold increase”, what we can do in the cloud is going to evolve significantly. For example, processing power could potentially be moved to large cloud-based centers, VR or AR content could be cloud-based without lags, and international connectivity could allow for self-driven autonomous vehicles or even remotely driven vehicles to become a reality. All of this could lead to the centralization of the processing aspects, significantly reducing the hardware requirements of devices (and therefore, their related costs should also reduce). [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-78.jpeg] THE FUTURE OF AR AND VR We expect this technology to continue growing. It could end up with devices supporting both technologies in some cases. AR is likely to expand beyond VR, as it has many more possible ‘real world’ applications, especially where the business uses and commerce are concerned. AR offers an enhanced experience of the real world we live in. As AI and IoT develop and merge with this technology, possibilities expand. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-79.jpeg] Education and training are also likely to adopt using VR/AR in many areas, from training military personnel, to homeschooling or bringing history to life. There is a potential for how we communicate and socialize evolve, as we have seen from mobile phone usages and expansion. As this technology shrinks and processing moves to the cloud, it is even feasible that AR and AI could be delivered through contact lenses or other compact devices.

The 5 Biggest Virtual and Augmented Reality Trends in 2020

The 5 Biggest Virtual and Augmented Reality Trends in 2020

October 9, 2020

The augmented reality and virtual reality markets have grown significantly over the years. In 2017, the market was valued at $9.1 billion. But in just three years, the value of the market has more than doubled to $18.8 billion. Most importantly, there are no signs that the market will slow down in the near future. As the market continues to grow, companies will most likely find new and exciting ways to use augmented and virtual reality technologies. How are companies using these technologies this year? Here are some of the biggest virtual and augmented reality trends of 2020: #1: MORE WIDESPREAD USE ACROSS INDUSTRIES Many people associate both virtual reality and augmented reality technologies with the gaming industry. It’s true that these technologies are widely embraced by companies in the gaming industry, however, this is far from the only industry that can benefit from the use of augmented and virtual reality. Experts have known this all along, and in 2020, companies from a wide range of industries have finally realized it, too. In fact, it’s hard to find an industry that hasn’t started to incorporate augmented and virtual reality technologies into its products or services. For example, companies in the automotive industry have relied on augmented and virtual reality technologies to create virtual showrooms for consumers who want to shop for a new vehicle from the comfort of their own home. These technologies are also being used to enhance the patient experience in the healthcare industry. Some mental health professionals rely on virtual reality technology to safely treat patients who suffer from severe anxiety or phobias. There are even augmented reality apps that help nurses find veins in a patient’s arm to make the process of inserting an IV easier. In manufacturing, augmented and virtual reality is making it easier than ever before to assemble new products. Workers no longer need to consult a manual or ask for help if they need help figuring out how to assemble a product. Instead, they can use an augmented reality headset to project the instructions onto their surrounding environment. This allows them to reference the written step-by-step instructions or watch a how-to video while they assemble the product. Thanks to this widespread use of both technologies, augmented reality and virtual reality are no longer limited to the gaming world. #2: EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies have been used to provide a number of new exciting educational opportunities throughout 2020. Virtual reality can be used to transport students to other real-world environments that they would have never been able to experience without this technology. For example, students who are learning about the solar system may be able to use virtual reality technology to take a virtual visit to outer space. This gives the students the opportunity to virtually experience the living conditions on other planets for themselves. There’s no doubt that students can learn more from this type of experience than they would by simply reading about the solar system in a textbook. This isn’t the only way that augmented and virtual reality technologies are disrupting the education industry. These technologies can also be used to enhance the experience of distance learning. Using augmented and virtual reality technologies to teach distance learners ensures that every student can learn in a collaborative environment regardless of whether or not they are physically present in the classroom. Augmented and virtual reality technologies are creating educational opportunities in the workplace, too. In the past, workers may have been required to sit through hours of training sessions in order to learn how to perform certain job duties. But now, there are other on-the-job training options available thanks to virtual and augmented reality technologies. For example, MAN CEON TechGuide is an app available through mobile devices and augmented reality headsets. Using augmented reality technology, this app gives engineers the opportunity to choose how they want to receive on-the-job training materials. Engineers who are visual learners can choose between 3D models, animations, and videos. But engineers that are auditory learners may prefer having the information read aloud to them through their mobile device or headset. By giving engineers these options, this augmented reality product has made it easier than ever before for these workers to receive on-the-job training. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-73.jpeg] #3: ENHANCED CONSUMER EXPERIENCES Many companies are using virtual and augmented reality technologies to enhance the consumer experience. These technologies are often used to create “virtual try-on” experiences for online shoppers. This has become increasingly popular in the cosmetics and beauty industry. For example, Garnier uses augmented reality technology to give consumers the opportunity to “try out” different hair colors before purchasing the company’s hair dye. L’Oreal Paris goes one step further by allowing its consumers to try out different hair colors in addition to shades of lipstick, blush, eyeshadow, and other cosmetic products. This gives consumers the chance to use L’Oreal products to give themselves a virtual makeover from the comfort of their own home. Beauty brands aren’t the only companies that have started to use augmented and virtual reality to enhance the shopping experience for consumers. This is also a major trend in the automotive industry. Several automotive manufacturers use these technologies to provide a “virtual showroom” experience to consumers. Using technology in this manner gives consumers the opportunity to tour and inspect vehicles without ever stepping foot in a dealership. As a result, consumers can gather the information they need on various vehicles to make purchase decisions without leaving home. Brands in the furniture and home goods industry have also embraced augmented and virtual reality technologies. Thanks to these technologies, consumers can see how specific furniture or décor pieces would look in their home. There’s no need to rely on their imagination to visualize how everything will look together—consumers can now see for themselves by projecting images of furniture or décor pieces onto their real world environment. These are some of the many ways that these technologies are being used to enhance the shopping experience for consumers. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-74.jpeg] #4: BETTER HEADSETS In the past, the only way to experience virtual reality or augmented reality was to wear a bulky, restrictive headset. In addition, some of the earliest models needed to be plugged into a computer in order to work. These clunky, uncomfortable, and immobile headsets may have made virtual and augmented reality unappealing to consumers. But this shouldn’t be a problem for much longer since better virtual and augmented reality headsets are finally on the way in 2020. This year, augmented and virtual reality headsets are becoming smaller, more mobile, and far more powerful. For example, Facebook released a new Oculus virtual reality headset that no longer requires a connection to a PC. Because it no longer requires a PC connection, the new Oculus headset allows consumers to experience virtual reality wherever they go. There are also rumors that Apple will introduce augmented reality glasses in the near future. According to industry insiders, the Apple glasses will look just like optical glasses, which would make them one of the smallest and most mobile augmented reality products on the market. The emergence of better headsets could make augmented and virtual reality products more appealing to consumers around the world. As more consumers start to purchase these innovative headsets, the demand for new augmented reality and virtual reality experiences will also rise, which means the market for these technologies will continue to boom for years to come. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-75.jpeg] #5: NAVIGATIONAL TOOL Another trend that emerged in 2020 is the use of augmented and virtual reality technologies as navigational tools. The Google Maps app, for instance, uses augmented reality technology to provide walking directions to its consumers. How does it work? The app is designed to use your camera and location information to determine exactly where you are and what steps you need to take to get to your final destination. As you start walking, arrows, signs, and other digital elements will be imposed onto your environment as shown through your smartphone. For example, the app may impose an arrow next to a street that you are approaching to tell you that you need to turn on that street. Using augmented reality technology in this manner makes it easier for pedestrians to figure out how to get to where they need to go. Google isn’t the only company that is using augmented reality to provide directions to consumers. A number of automotive manufacturers, including Mercedes, Cadillac, and Hyundai, also use augmented reality technology to provide directions to drivers. For example, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade is designed with an augmented reality navigation system. A live view of the street will be shown on the vehicle’s instrument panel, which makes it easy for the driver to see without taking their eyes off of the road. Using augmented reality, digital elements will be imposed on this live view of the street to provide drivers with navigational directions. This trend will most likely become increasingly popular in the years ahead. Experts believe that the next step will be using augmented reality to design apps that help consumers find their way around large venues. For example, augmented reality apps may help consumers find a specific store in a shopping mall or locate their departure gate in an airport. The opportunities are endless when it comes to using augmented and virtual reality technologies to create new or enhance existing navigational tools. These are some of the many ways that companies are using augmented and virtual reality technologies in 2020. It’s safe to assume that countless other augmented reality and virtual reality trends will emerge in the year ahead as a growing number of companies begin to use these technologies to attract new customers and stay competitive.

Should I Use My Trade-In As a Down Payment On A Lease?

Should I Use My Trade-In As a Down Payment On A Lease?

September 11, 2020

Shopping for a new car can be a big headache. The car options are endless and the decision to buy or lease has many pros and cons. Leasing a car can be a great option over buying because you can often get a new car, drive it for a few years then get the option to buy it or turn it back in and leave a brand new car again. Leasing is an especially great option for car enthusiasts who like to try the latest models or like to upgrade every few years. When it comes to financing a new lease, it can be a toss up between trading in a current vehicle versus putting a down payment. Most people would probably prefer to do the trade-in, but there are some negatives to this option. Yet, sometimes a down payment on a lease also might not give you the best bang for your buck. Let’s look at the pros and cons of trade-ins as a down payment on a lease. CAR LEASING 101 Leasing a car might not be an option that a lot of people are familiar with. Sure, you’ve probably heard the option to lease but what does it actually entail? Leasing is a great way to drive brand new cars every few years without the commitment of purchasing. A lease monthly payment is also usually lower than buying with an auto loan. However, leasing a car does mean you have some driving limitations as you can only drive your vehicle for a fixed number of miles and months. During the time of your lease agreement, you will need to take good care of the car and follow all recommended services. The goal is to be able to return a car that the dealer can resell as used or preowned. If the car is over the mileage or has any damage, you likely will end up paying more at the end. You can also choose to purchase your car at the end of the contract and continue to pay off the residual debt. Essentially leasing a car is very similar to renting a home or apartment. You have a contracted amount of time you are paying. At the end of the day, you do not really own the vehicle so that at the end of the lease you can choose to find a new vehicle or purchase the leased vehicle. Keep in mind that some dealerships have a vehicle turn-in fee if you choose not to lease a new car from the dealer. Leasing a car often has three-year or four-year contracts, and your monthly payments will cover the depreciation of the car in that time. You will also have to pay finance charges and just like a purchase with a loan, the better your credit score, the better your interest rate. Often to lower a monthly lease payment, buyers might opt to put down a down payment or use their old vehicle for a trade-in. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-28.jpeg] TRADE IN Many buyers who opt for a lease might choose to use their current vehicle as a down payment for their lease. It can be an easy way to get rid of a car you no longer want and also be able to put some money down on your new vehicle. However, buyers should be aware of the pros and cons of this option. Pros: * Quick and Easy – Trading in your old vehicle and putting it towards your new lease means you are essentially selling your car to the dealership. The process begins with the car salesperson giving your car a test drive and then coming up with an appraisal value. This offer does not go to you as a direct cash payment. Instead, the value of the car will go towards the new car you are going to lease as a down payment on the vehicle. If you accept the offer, all you have to do is sign the car’s title over to the dealership. * A one stop shop – Another convenient part about doing a trade-in for a lease is that the process of trade-in and driving off with a new car typically is done in one transaction and one day. The dealer takes care of the process of the trade-in, securing a car loan if you need one, and the process of your new lease. This makes the car leasing process so much more seamless than taking care of each component yourself. However, make sure you are negotiating the best deal out of each process. Sometimes a dealership can be more costly than doing each process yourself. * Your existing loan gets paid off – When doing a trade-in, you can still trade-in a vehicle that you still owe money on. It’s quite common for dealers to take care of the old financing and will pay off the remaining loan balance on your trade-in and get the title directly from the lender. If you have any positive equity, it will be used as the down payment towards your new lease. This is often a common reason why buyers would opt for a trade-in for a new lease. If you know for sure that you have positive equity on your old vehicle, then using your trade-in as a down payment can be a very good way to get rid of your old vehicle and put some money down on your new vehicle. * Save on sales tax – Often your trade-in value will be subtracted from the new car’s price and thus you can receive a lower sales tax. For example, let’s say your new car will cost you about $35,000. The dealer offers you $15,000 for your trade in. The cost of your new car will then be $20,000. You do need to check your state’s sales tax laws, but this should mean that you will pay sales tax on the $20,000 instead of the overall value of $35,000. Cons: * You might not be getting the best deal – A trade-in with a dealer usually is only offering you the wholesale value of your old vehicle. You might be able to get more if you were to sell your car yourself to a private buyer. However, selling a vehicle yourself takes a lot more work and can take some significant time. * You could end up owing more – A trade-in option for a new lease can be a great way to transition into a new car. However, this might not be the best option if you owe more on the vehicle than it is worth. Negative equity can make the process a little more difficult and costly. You might need to have the money to pay off the remainder of your loan that the dealer’s trade-in value does not cover. If you do not have that amount, you do have the option of stacking that remainder of the loan on to your new lease. However, that can be a financial headache as you are essentially still paying for two cars but driving one. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-29.jpeg] PREPARING TO TRADE-IN Getting the best price from a trade-in means making sure you prepare your car just like you would when you sell it privately. Here are some things to prepare before you trade-in your vehicle: * Prep your paperwork – While you don’t need to have your car repaired to trade-in your car, it is a good idea to bring in any records that show any maintenance you had done while you owned it. This can help increase the amount in your trade-in offer. * Clean it up – While you do not have to clean out a vehicle before trading it in, it can help make your car appear more taken care of. You also want to clear out any information in the car’s technology such as a navigation system or bluetooth connection. * Know your car’s value – It is always best to know beforehand what the estimated value of your car is before going to the dealership and accept any offers. This will help you gauge whether or not you are receiving a fair deal. * Pay parking tickets – Parking tickets do not just go away when you sell your vehicle. In fact, unpaid parking tickets can prevent the title from being transferred. Make sure to take care of any outstanding tickets before even going to the dealership to help make the process go smoother. THE BOTTOM LINE Ultimately, doing a trade-in can be a great option to get rid of an old vehicle and drive off with a new vehicle all in the same day. Really it will depend on how much you still owe on your old vehicle and how well taken care of it is. A trade-in for a lease can help make the car buying process go by much smoother and easier. However, keep in mind that what you trade for convenience might mean you are not getting the best deal or value for your old vehicle. It is always best to also shop around for your new vehicle before even heading to the dealership. It is important to do your research on a vehicle before you even go to a dealership in person. A great way to inspect a car before even heading to a showroom is to visit a virtual showroom. Many dealerships are partnering with AI companies such as RelayCars to help buyers get a better shopping experience. You can view the exterior and interior of your potential new ride before even going to the dealership. You can closely inspect in-car features and even choose the colors you want. Shopping for a new car whether you are looking to lease or actually buy does take quite a bit of research and homework. You want to make sure you are getting the best deal for both your trade-in and your new lease.