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What is the Best Mileage for a Used Car?

What is the Best Mileage for a Used Car?

January 12, 2022

Shopping for a used car could require a bit more online research. Buyers might know the make and model they want, but they might need a specific price to fit their budget. They may need to look at the age of the vehicles, and used cars also can vary in the number of miles on their odometer. Price could differ because of mileage, age and condition, too. Of all these factors, though, mileage might be the most perplexing. What is the best mileage for a used car? Is there a mileage that buyers should absolutely avoid? Here’s how to decipher the numbers on the odometer! Best Mileage for a Used Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Why-Mileage-Affects-Price.jpg] WHY MILEAGE AFFECTS PRICE When shopping for a used vehicle, a number of factors affect the price: make/model, age, mileage and condition. Older vehicles may be less expensive than newer models, but this isn’t always the case. For example, an older luxury car might be more expensive than a newer economical vehicle. Cars with damage or less than stellar interiors also may offer a lower price. There could be rips or other issues related to the overall appearance of the car. For obvious reasons, this doesn’t bode well for the value of the vehicle. Thus, the dealership will likely slice that price tag. Make and model also affects the price of used inventory for obvious reasons. Again, a luxury vehicle is going to be priced higher than a standard model. A minivan that is the same age as a compact car will typically be more expensive, too. Mileage is the final factor that can decrease or increase the sticker price. Why is mileage such an issue? Higher mileage means more wear and tear. As the mileage increases, the maintenance issues may also increase. When cars hit 100,000 miles, for example, there are a number of mechanical services that may be necessary. Drivers might consider the 100,000 mile marker as the car’s middle age. Car and Driver explains that today’s cars will drive up to 200,000 miles. Buying a car with six digits is a significant odometer reading, but is it a deal breaker? That really depends on the buyer. BEST MILEAGE ON A USED CAR FOR A COMMUTER Buyers will often turn to the used market to find a vehicle that’s more affordable. Some buyers don’t even consider a new model, because of the issues related to depreciation. For these buyers, used inventory is the better option. While a number of factors affect the price of a used car, buyers may zero in on the odometer when all other factors are equal. For commuters, choosing a used model that offers the lowest mileage might be ideal. What is the best mileage for a used car if the buyer needs that vehicle for a lengthy commute? The answer isn’t simple, because the buyer really needs to weigh the options of price and mileage and also understand how long they wish to keep that car. If the buyer is financing the car for three years, they will need to figure out if the car will even last that long. For example, if the car buyer commutes 100 miles round trip five days per week, they will drive about 2,000 miles per month or 24,000 miles each year. If the odometer of the used model is resting at 100,000 miles, that means the vehicle will rack up at least 60,000 miles over the life of the loan. While a vehicle could last up to 200,000 miles, there is no guarantee that it will last that long. Driving a car an extensive amount each day adds wear and tear on the vehicle. While every used vehicle should come with a report on its previous ownership and history, the buyer doesn’t know the driving habits of the previous owner. Did they commute daily? Did they service the vehicle regularly? For commuters who are buying a used vehicle, the mileage is important. Unfortunately, the mileage might not be the only consideration for the buyer. Price could impact what they choose, too. For this reason, one recommendation for a driver who needs a used car for a commute is to choose the model with the lowest mileage that fits within their budget. Buyers also can research safety ratings for different models via the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to find their safest models. BEST MILEAGE ON A USED CAR FOR CITY DRIVERS City drivers are those who drive locally. These drivers may work near their home, or they may be retired or stay-at-home parents who don’t need to travel far during their daily routines. When buying a used car for local driving, does mileage matter? The odometer reading may still be a factor to consider, but it may matter less to city drivers than to those who have long commutes. Buyers still need to consider how long they plan to keep the vehicle. They also need to look at their budget needs and how this weighs against the odometer reading. If buyers are driving 10 miles a day on average, the mileage isn’t going to become such an issue. However, if buyers also plan to use the vehicle for road trips or more extensive travel, then mileage on a used model could be more of a factor. Like commuters, though, city drivers might look at both price and mileage and weigh their options accordingly. Best Mileage for a Used Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Finding-the-Best-Used-Car.jpg] FINDING THE BEST USED CAR For many used car buyers, mileage will play into their final decision but so will price. Unlike new inventory, there are a number of factors that buyers will need to consider when purchasing a used vehicle. Some buyers can have their heart set on a specific make/model. Maybe they have a preference related to the type of car they drive. When searching for used models, though, sometimes the choices even with a single model can be really overwhelming. Prices can vary considerably. How do buyers sift through all their options? When shopping is used, buyers should understand where they are willing to compromise and where they will not budge. Some buyers might be willing to opt for an older model if it offers lower mileage. Other buyers might hunt for the newest models and not care about the mileage. Price and the budget may play into this decision, too. If buyers must have a low price, they will need to compromise in some areas. Again, buyers may find lower prices for cars that are older or that have higher mileage. However, lower prices also could be associated with economic models, too. Are buyers willing to sacrifice the model they want for a budget option? Would they rather choose an older luxury model than a budget-friendly newer economic vehicle? What about safety features? Newer models will typically offer better safety features. Do buyers want a backup camera or more modern capabilities? These are considerations buyers need to factor into their decision. IS FUEL EFFICIENCY MORE IMPORTANT THAN MILEAGE? Commuters may be curious if the fuel efficiency of a vehicle is more important than its mileage. If a car offers great fuel efficiency, does the mileage even matter? Hybrids and electric cars both get great energy efficiency. Since electric vehicles don’t use fuel, they don’t offer statistics related to miles per gallon (MPG). Instead, many include stats referring to the miles per gallon equivalent (or MPGe). Hybrids could travel 60 miles per gallon, but electric models might boast more than 100 MPGe. While this means that drivers won’t have to hit the pump or the plug as often, it doesn’t negate the odometer reading. Mileage still affects the value of the car and it still affects the life of the vehicle. Fuel efficiency can save money, but it won’t allow a vehicle to necessarily last longer. The electric plug isn’t a fountain of youth for an automobile! Instead of an engine that may fail, an electric vehicle will have a battery that needs to be replaced. As AutoTrader explains, batteries are constantly evolving and getting better. Older electric vehicles will offer less range than newer models. Is it cheaper to replace an older model’s battery or just replace the car? That could be the ultimate question for those who opt for used electric models. WHAT IS THE BEST MILEAGE FOR A USED CAR? There is no ideal odometer reading for a used car. Buyers need to weigh the mileage against other factors for the car. Age, mileage, condition and make and model all affect the price of that vehicle. Some buyers may be fine with a car with higher mileage if it fits into their budget. These buyers could be city drivers who don’t travel far for work or daily errands. Those with long commutes, though, might need a car with the lowest mileage that fits into their budget. Higher mileage on a used model could mean more money in upkeep if the driver uses the car for long commutes. In addition, that used purchase might not have a long life if it already has an odometer with six figures. Ultimately, buyers need to find the used model that fits their budget and their driving habits. Mileage is important to some buyers but isn’t a concern to others. The reading on the odometer is just one aspect to consider when buying a used model.

Which States Charge the Least, Most in Car Taxes?

Which States Charge the Least, Most in Car Taxes?

January 10, 2022

You have to make a number of decisions when buying a car, including what body style best suits your lifestyle, where to buy the vehicle from, and of course, how much to spend. Many people focus solely on the purchase price when determining whether or not they can afford a vehicle. However, the purchase price is not the only cost you should consider.  Most states charge sales tax on vehicles, which can increase the cost of buying a car by thousands of dollars. Each state sets its own sales tax rate, so the amount you will need to pay will vary depending on where you live. If you’re preparing to buy a vehicle, it’s important to understand which states have the least and most in car taxes so you know what to expect.  WHICH STATES HAVE THE HIGHEST AND LOWEST VEHICLE SALES TAX RATES? State sales tax rates can vary from year-to-year. Currently, the states with the highest sales tax rates include: 1. Nevada: 8.25% 2. Kansas: 7.50% 3. California: 7.25% 4. Indiana: 7% 5. Rhode Island: 7% 6. Tennessee: 7% 7. Utah: 6.85% 8. New Jersey 6.63% 9. Georgia: 6.60% 10. Arkansas: 6.50% The states with the lowest sales tax rates include: 1. Alabama: 2% 2. Colorado: 2.90% 3. North Carolina: 3% 4. Oklahoma: 3.25% 5. Hawaii: 4% 6. Louisiana: 4% 7. New Mexico: 4% 8. New York: 4% 9. South Dakota: 4% 10. Virginia: 4.15% Which States Charge the Least, Most in Car Taxes [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Which-States-Dont-Charge-Sales-Tax-On-Cars.jpg] WHICH STATES DON’T CHARGE SALES TAX ON CARS? There are also a number of states that don’t charge sales tax on vehicle purchases. These states are: * Oregon * New Hampshire * Montana * Delaware * Alaska If you live in one of these states, you won’t need to worry about paying sales tax when you purchase a new vehicle. VEHICLE SALES TAX RATES BY COUNTY/CITY Looking at the sales tax rates will give you a general idea of which states charge the most and least. However, it must be noted that vehicle sales tax rates typically vary by city or county, which means the sales tax rate doesn’t tell the whole story. For example, the state sales tax rate in Florida is 6%. However, the state allows local governments to collect up to an additional 1.5% on purchases. This means some cities in Florida, including Tampa and Jacksonville, have a 7.5% sales tax rate. If you register your vehicle in one of these cities, you will be charged the 7.5% rate instead of the state-wide 6% rate. For this reason, it’s important to look at the local sales tax rate rather than the state sales tax rate when determining how much you will need to pay after purchasing a vehicle. Which States Charge the Least, Most in Car Taxes [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Can-You-Save-Money-By-Buying-Your-Vehicle-in-Another-State.jpg] CAN YOU SAVE MONEY BY BUYING YOUR VEHICLE IN ANOTHER STATE? There’s no doubt that some cities, counties, and states charge higher sales tax rates on vehicle purchases than others. If you live in an area with a high sales tax rate, you might be wondering whether you can save money by purchasing a vehicle in an area with a lower sales tax rate. For example, if you live in California, which has one of the highest sales tax rates in the country, you may be tempted to cross state lines and purchase a vehicle in Oregon, which does not charge sales tax on vehicle purchases. However, purchasing a vehicle in an area with a low sales tax rate does not necessarily mean you will save money. The reason for this is simple. The sales tax rate you are charged will depend on where you register your vehicle, not where you purchase it.  If you purchase the vehicle in Oregon, you will still need to register it in your home state of California, which means you will be charged the local sales tax rate, not Oregon’s sales tax rate. The bottom line? You can’t avoid paying sales tax on your vehicle simply by traveling to a state that charges a lower sales tax rate or does not charge sales tax at all.   HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON TAXES WHEN BUYING A CAR Traveling to an area with a lower sales tax rate won’t help you save money on taxes when buying a car. Fortunately, there are a number of other ways to reduce your tax bill when you purchase a vehicle. You may qualify for a tax break if: * You are disabled. If you meet your state’s definition of “disabled,” you may be exempt from paying sales tax on your vehicle regardless of what the sales tax rate is in your city or county. * You’re buying an older car. If your vehicle was manufactured prior to 1973, it is classified as a historic vehicle, which means it is exempt from sales tax. * You’re moving to another state. If you’re planning on permanently moving to a state that does not charge sales tax on vehicle purchases, you won’t have to pay sales tax on your vehicle. However, the move must take place within 90 days from the date the vehicle was purchased. * You itemize your deductions. If you itemize your tax deductions, you may be able to deduct your vehicle sales tax expenses. However, if you deduct your sales taxes, you cannot deduct your state or local income taxes, so make sure you run the numbers to determine which option is best for you. * You use your vehicle for business purposes. If you purchased a vehicle to use for business purposes, you may be able to deduct a certain percentage of the cost. The vehicle must meet certain requirements, so discuss this with your accountant to figure out if you qualify.  You may also qualify for tax credits at the state and federal level if you purchase an electric vehicle.  For example, if you purchase a new electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle, you may be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. The credit amount will vary depending on the vehicle’s battery capacity. You will still have to pay sales tax on your vehicle, but getting this tax credit will offset the cost. You must meet certain requirements to qualify for this federal tax credit. For instance, the IRS will only allow the original buyer of the electric vehicle to claim this tax credit. If you purchase a used electric vehicle, you won’t qualify for this federal tax credit since you are not the original buyer. Talk to your accountant to learn about other conditions you must meet to take advantage of this credit. Some states also offer financial benefits to people who purchase electric or hybrid vehicles. In California, for instance, you can earn a rebate of up to $1,000 if you purchase a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The rebate increases to $2,000 if you purchase an electric vehicle and $4,500 if you purchase a fuel cell electric vehicle. Just like the federal tax credit, this rebate won’t eliminate your sales tax bill, but it will help you pay for it. If you live in California, you may also qualify for the state’s Clean Fuel Reward. This financial reward is available to anyone who buys a new electric vehicle with a battery capacity greater than 5kWh. The vehicle must be purchased from a participating retailer and registered in the state of California. If you qualify, you could receive an instant reward of up to $750, which you can use to cover a portion of your sales taxes.  Before you start shopping for a new car, do your research to figure out if your state offers any financial incentives for purchasing an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle. Which States Charge the Least, Most in Car Taxes [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Which-States-Have-the-Highest-and-Lowest-Car-Ownership-Costs.jpg] WHICH STATES HAVE THE HIGHEST AND LOWEST CAR OWNERSHIP COSTS? Sales tax isn’t the only expense you will incur if you own a vehicle. There are a number of other vehicle ownership costs, including the cost of fuel, insurance, maintenance and repairs, and registration. Just like sales tax rates, these ownership expenses can vary depending on where you live. In other words, it’s much cheaper to own a car in some states than it is in others.  According to one study, Louisiana has the highest car ownership costs of all 50 states. In Louisiana, you should expect to pay these expenses if you own a vehicle: * Taxes: $3,615 * Insurance: $2,113 * Maintenance and repair: $389 * Fuel: $1,051 * Registration: Varies depending on the sales price of the vehicle * Title costs: $69 * Vehicle property tax: $38 In sum, the average annual cost of owning a vehicle in Louisiana is about $14,965. This same study found that Oregon has the lowest car ownership costs of all 50 states. On average, Oregon vehicle owners pay: * Taxes: $0 * Insurance: $1,220 * Maintenance and repair: $390 * Fuel: $1,085 * Registration: $86 * Title costs: $77 * Vehicle property tax: $0 In sum, the average annual cost of owning a vehicle in Oregon is about $10,510. Now you should have a better understanding of how much you will need to pay in sales tax and other ownership costs once you purchase a vehicle. Keep this information in mind to ensure you choose a vehicle that you can afford.

Third Row SUVs for Every Budget and Space Need

Third Row SUVs for Every Budget and Space Need

January 7, 2022

Third-row SUVs are an ideal vehicle for car buyers looking for enough space for a large family or those who need cargo space for recreational or business equipment. These vehicles have a rugged aesthetic for buyers who don’t necessarily want a standard family car. Third-row SUVs are perfect for fitting extra passengers—most will seat at least seven—but not all of them are full-sized SUVs. Car buyers can find third-row SUVs for every budget and space need; third rows are offered in mid-size and full-size SUVs. Looking for the perfect third-row SUV? Here are the options by size and price. SMALLER THIRD-ROW SUVS Looking for a small SUV with maximum seating capacity? The smallest SUVs that feature third-rows might be more midsize than small. Many compact or small SUVs typically only feature a second row plus cargo space. CarBuzz ranked the top smallest SUVs that feature third-row seating. While smaller SUVs might not have as much space between rows as larger options, they could be easier on the budget. Here are the top five smallest SUVs featuring third-row seating from CarBuzz with additional data on price, seating capacity and safety rating (from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety): Kia Sorento [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Kia-Sorento.jpg] * Kia Sorento (Midsize SUV) Base Price: $29,490 (2022 model) Capacity: Space for 7 Safety Rating: Top Safety Pick Hyundai Palisade [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Hyundai-Palisade.jpg] * Hyundai Palisade (Midsize SUV) Base Price: $33,150 (2022 SE model) Capacity: Space for up to 8 Safety Rating: Top Safety Pick+ Kia Telluride [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Kia-Sorento-1.jpg] * Kia Telluride (Midsize SUV) Base Price: $32,790 Capacity: Space for up to 8 Safety Rating: Top Safety Pick Genesis GV80 V6 AWD [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Genesis-GV80-V6-AWD.jpg] * Genesis GV80 V6 AWD (Midsize SUV) Base Price: $59,650 (2021 model) Capacity: Space for 7 Safety Rating: Top Safety Pick+ Volvo XC90 [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Volvo-XC90.jpg] * Volvo XC90 (Midsize SUV) Base Price: $49,900 (2022 model) Capacity: Space for 7 Safety Rating: Top Safety Pick+ SUVS OFFERING THE MOST ROOM IN THE THIRD ROW Midsize SUVs might be easier on the budget than their larger counterparts, but for buyers who need as much space as possible, a full-size SUV might be the best option. U.S. News & World Report ranked the SUVs (2021 models) with the best third-row seats. Here are the top five picks from U.S. News based on leg room for the third-row with additional data on price and safety ratings (two are actually midsize models!): Ford Expedition [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Ford-Expedition.jpg] * Ford Expedition Third Row Space: 40.9 inches. Base Price: $50,595 (2021 model) Safety Rating: N/A Chevy Suburban [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Chevy-Suburban.jpg] * Chevy Suburban Third-Row Space: 36.7 inches Base Price: $52,300 (2021 model) Safety Rating: N/A GMC Yukon [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/GMC-Yukon.jpg] * GMC Yukon Third-Row Space: 34.9 inches Base Price: $50,595 Safety Rating: N/A Volkswagen Atlas [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Volkswagen-Atlas.jpg] * Volkswagen Atlas (Midsize SUV) Third-Row Space: 33.7 inches Base Price: $31,545 Safety Rating: Review Report Chevy Traverse [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Chevy-Traverse.jpg] * Chevy Traverse (Midsize SUV) Third-Row Space: 33.5 inches Base Price: $29,800 Safety Rating: Top Safety Pick FINDING THE BEST AND MOST AFFORDABLE THIRD-ROW SUV Buyers on the hunt for a new 2021 or 2022 SUV featuring the third-row of seating might opt for the Chevy Traverse or the Kia Sorento, as these two models are the least expensive of all the above choices. But these models are not the least expensive third-row SUV; the Volkswagen Tiguan is the least expensive 2021 model with an MSRP of $25,245.   Those with a very tight budget, though, also can shop used or pre-owned SUVs to find a deal that fits into their budget while providing the space they need. When looking for used or pre-owned models, buyers can research different models for their safety ratings via IIHS. The site offers an easy search query system to find the ratings for almost all vehicles; however, data on larger SUVs could be limited. If buyers aren’t sure if they are getting a good deal from the dealership, they also can use Kelley Blue Book (KBB) to find out the prices of a model in their area. KBB offers an easy query system to find prices of models. Just type in the year, make, model and location, and KBB will pull up all the vehicles in the area. This lets buyers compare prices across dealerships. RESEARCHING OPTIONS ONLINE Cox Automotive’s Car Buyer Journey Study (Pandemic Edition) reported that buyers spent more than seven hours researching and shopping for a car online. This was actually about two hours less than buyers spent on the same tasks in 2019. However, for many buyers, the research begins online. Many begin their search via third-party sites (like KBB), and more than three-quarters of shoppers went to at least two sites. The study noted that dealership websites were more likely to be the final online destination for buyers; 33 percent of those participating in the study said that they visited dealership sites last. Buyers may look online for safety ratings, price and other details related to their potential purchase. Some buyers might know exactly the type of vehicle they want and may zoom through their research phase, looking perhaps only at the best prices in the area. Other buyers, though, might have no idea about the type of car they want to purchase. These shoppers could do a bit more research online. They may feel that they are beginning their search from scratch. While buyers could visit sites like Edmunds, IIHS and KBB for information about vehicles, these sites don’t necessarily help buyers visualize the vehicle beyond simple two dimensional photos. Even dealership sites may offer limited photographs of new models. Some could offer slideshows or a selection of photos, but what about buyers who want more visual data? Augmented Reality for Immersive Research [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Augmented-Reality-for-Immersive-Research.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY FOR IMMERSIVE RESEARCH RelayCars provides buyers with the tools to research any vehicle up close via 3D and augmented reality visuals. RelayCars offers thousands of models for buyers to explore. Augmented reality can be a key tool during the car research phase. While photos show details of the vehicle, they aren’t designed to allow for exploration. Augmented reality  has been used by many stores and companies for try-on experiences that give consumers a way to see products before purchasing. With augmented reality, consumers can virtually swipe paint onto their walls or try on different cosmetics. Stores also let shoppers preview furniture in their homes. Just drop a coffee table into the space to see if it fits. RelayCars is the try-on experience for cars. While the site lets shoppers preview vehicles on the screen via interactive 3D graphics, RelayCars also offers an augmented reality experience. Visitors to RelayCars can choose a model that they want to explore and view in augmented reality, and, using their smartphone or tablet camera, they can capture the space where they want to place the vehicle. The car (or SUV) can be dropped in any space. View an immersive vehicle in the driveway or see how it looks in the garage. Why is augmented reality so different from standard imagery? Augmented reality typically depicts the product as it would be in person. The table from a furniture store isn’t just a tiny model, it’s shown in normal size via the augmented reality preview. When shopping for cars, augmented reality can let shoppers better understand the design of the vehicle. In addition, some platforms even let the user look inside the vehicle. The vehicle can appear wherever the user wants to explore it. Once the augmented reality vehicle is placed into the environment, the user can actually walk around the model. RelayCars lets users preview as many vehicles as they want in augmented reality. There is no limit to how many vehicles consumers can research. The site acts as a research tool to help buyers better understand their options and explore them. After they’ve used the augmented reality tool via RelayCars, they also can view the car on-screen in 3D. The images of the vehicle can be rotated to see the car from any angle. In addition, RelayCars also offers a 3D panorama tour for each model. This lets users explore the interior of the car. Every vehicle in RelayCars’ showroom also can be viewed in different paint hues. However, the options depend on the color choices for each vehicle. USING RELAYCARS TO FIND THE BEST THIRD-ROW SUV For buyers looking for the best SUV with third-row seating, RelayCars can be used to explore the interior space. The 3D panorama viewing option gives users the feeling that they are sitting in the front seat of the SUV and looking around the vehicle. Use the mouse or just a fingertip to navigate around the SUV. Augmented reality also lets buyers see how the SUV would look in their garage or driveway. They also can immerse themselves in exploration to better understand the SUV’s design and walk around the vehicle. Buyers can explore different SUV models via RelayCars to find the best SUV for their space needs. Then they might visit dealership websites to find the best price or deals in the area. RelayCars adds an immersive visual element to the car shopping experience to allow for consumers to create a virtual (or augmented reality) showroom in their home. When buyers find the best SUV at the best price, they can save the rest of the details for the dealership visit. RelayCars helps buyers research vehicles from home and creates a unique preview experience that lets them explore all their vehicle options!

Car Buying Tips: What You Should Know About Depreciation & Inflation

Car Buying Tips: What You Should Know About Depreciation & Inflation

January 5, 2022

Figuring out what type of vehicle you can afford to buy is difficult. Why? It involves far more than just looking at the purchase price of every vehicle. You need to factor in ownership costs, too.  Ownership costs are any costs that are related to owning a vehicle. Some of the most common ownership costs are fuel, insurance, repairs, and maintenance. However, there are two other hidden costs of owning a vehicle that many people forget about when calculating their budget.  These hidden costs are depreciation and inflation. If you’re planning on buying a new car, it’s important to understand how both of these hidden costs will impact your vehicle’s value and your wallet. Here’s what you should know: WHAT IS DEPRECIATION? Depreciation refers to the rate at which an asset’s value declines over time. All assets that suffer wear and tear with normal use, including vehicles, depreciate. In simpler terms, this means the value of your vehicle will drop as it ages. All vehicles depreciate, which means your vehicle will lose value as it gets older regardless of whether you purchased it new or used.  Car Buying Tips [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/How-Quickly-Do-Cars-Depreciate.jpg] HOW QUICKLY DO CARS DEPRECIATE? Before you purchase a vehicle, it’s important to understand how quickly it will depreciate so you know how much the vehicle will be worth in the future.  There are a number of factors that can impact how quickly a vehicle depreciates, which is why every car depreciates at a different rate. Some of these factors include: * Age: The value of a car will decrease as it gets older. * Type of car: The make and model can impact the vehicle’s depreciation rate. Makes and models that are in high demand tend to depreciate at a slower rate than vehicles that are not as popular. * Mileage: The lower the miles, the longer the vehicle will last and the greater its value. As a result, vehicles with high mileage depreciate at a faster rate than vehicles with low mileage. * Condition: Normal wear and tear won’t have a huge impact on a vehicle’s depreciation rate. However, if a vehicle has suffered extensive damage, it will depreciate at a much faster rate. * Color: You might be surprised to learn that the color can impact a vehicle’s depreciation rate. Vehicles with a traditional paint color typically depreciate at a slower rate than vehicles with a custom paint job or unusual color. * Fuel prices: If gas prices are low, fuel efficient vehicles may not retain as much value as they get older. On the other hand, if gas prices are high, fuel efficient vehicles will depreciate slowly and gas-powered vehicles will depreciate quickly. * Manufacturer’s reputation: Some manufacturers are known for producing reliable, durable vehicles. The vehicles produced by these manufacturers may depreciate at a slower rate than others.  In general, new cars depreciate much faster than used cars. The value of a new car typically drops around 20% during its first year of ownership. After the first year, the value of a new car will continue to decrease by about 10% per year. This rate won’t continue forever, though. Depreciation slows down once the car is five years old and comes to a halt once it is 10 years old.  Car Buying Tips [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Which-Cars-Have-the-Fastest-Depreciation-Rates.jpg] WHICH CARS HAVE THE FASTEST DEPRECIATION RATES? Depreciation rates vary widely, but some vehicles are known for depreciating at a faster rate than others. According to the U.S. News & World Report, these are the vehicles with the fastest five-year depreciation rates: Make and ModelAverage Five-Year Depreciation RateBMW X366.5%Lincoln MKZ67.1%Mercedes-Benz S Class67.1%Volvo S6067.8%Mercedes-Benz E Class69%Maserati Ghibli69%Audi A669%Nissan Leaf70.1%BMW 5 Series70.1%BMW 7 Series72.6% The starting price of a BMW 7 Series is currently $86,800. Based on the data provided by U.S. News & World Report, this means that the vehicle will lose 72.6% of its initial value by the time it is five years old. In other words, a BMW 7 Series that is purchased today for $86,800 may only be worth around $24,000 in five years.  Luxury vehicles dominate this list, which is not surprising, given that luxury vehicles tend to depreciate faster than others.  WHICH CARS HAVE THE SLOWEST DEPRECIATION RATES? Some vehicles are known for retaining their value better than others. According to the U.S. News & World Report, the vehicles with the slowest five-year depreciation rates are: Make and ModelAverage Five-Year Depreciation RateNissan Frontier43.5%GMC Canyon41.2%Dodge Challenger40.6%Subaru WRX39.8%Toyota 4Runner38.5%Toyota Tundra37%Porsche 91136%Jeep Wrangler32.8%Toyota Tacoma32.4%Jeep Wrangler Unlimited30.9% The starting price of a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is currently $77,095. According to this data, a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited that is purchased today will lose about 30.9% of its value over the next five years. This means if you purchase a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited for $77,095 today, it will be worth about $53,273 in five years.  Based on this list, it’s clear that pickup trucks, sporty sedans, and truck-based SUVs tend to depreciate at a slower rate than other vehicles.  Car Buying Tips [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/How-Can-Your-Cars-Depreciation-Affect-You.jpg] HOW CAN YOUR CAR’S DEPRECIATION AFFECT YOU? By now, you should understand what depreciation is and how quickly you can expect a new vehicle to depreciate. However, you may be wondering why this information matters and more importantly, how your vehicle’s depreciation rate will impact you. Your vehicle’s depreciation rate can impact you in several ways. First, a vehicle’s depreciation rate will affect its resale and trade-in value. Even if you don’t plan on selling your vehicle any time soon, it’s important to know how quickly it will depreciate so you know what you can expect to get for it when it’s time to sell it or trade it in.  The depreciation rate can also impact you if you took out an auto loan to pay for your new car. If your vehicle depreciates too quickly, you may end up having negative equity, which means you owe more on your vehicle than it is worth. This is often referred to as being “underwater” on your auto loan. If you try to sell your vehicle while you are underwater on your auto loan, you may end up owing your lender money.  For example, if you owe $10,000 on your vehicle but you can only sell it for $8,000 due to depreciation, you will need to pay your lender $2,000 to make up the difference once the vehicle sells. For these reasons, it’s crucial to consider a vehicle’s depreciation rate when deciding whether it’s right for you. HOW TO SLOW DOWN YOUR VEHICLE’S DEPRECIATION There are a number of things you can do to reduce your vehicle’s depreciation rate, including: * Don’t drive a lot. The fewer miles you put on your vehicle, the slower it will depreciate. * Take good care of your vehicle. Schedule regular oil changes and other maintenance services. Doing this will help your vehicle retain more of its value over the years, especially if you keep the maintenance records as proof. * Preserve the exterior. Exposure to environmental elements such as rain, heat, cold, and ice can slowly damage the exterior of your vehicle. This damage can cause the vehicle to depreciate quickly. To prevent this problem, park your vehicle in a garage to protect it from these harsh environmental elements.  WHAT IS INFLATION? Depreciation isn’t the only factor you should consider when purchasing a car. You also need to think about inflation.  The term “inflation” refers to the decrease in the purchasing power of money, which is displayed as an increase in the prices of goods and services. In other words, the price of things increases, so the value of every dollar decreases.  The inflation rate is the rate at which the value of the dollar is falling and the prices of goods and services are increasing.  Car Buying Tips [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/How-Does-Inflation-Affect-Your-Cars-Value.jpg] HOW DOES INFLATION AFFECT YOUR CAR’S VALUE? Just like depreciation, inflation can affect your car’s value. Inflation causes the prices of goods and services, including vehicles, to increase. If the inflation rate goes up, the price of your vehicle may increase as well. This means you may be able to get more money for your vehicle if you choose to sell it when inflation rates are high.  However, it’s important to note that a high inflation rate will increase the cost of new cars, too. So although you may get more for your vehicle if you sell it when inflation rates are high, you may need to spend even more to purchase another vehicle since new car prices will most likely be higher as well. Now you know the basics of depreciation, inflation, and more importantly, how these two hidden costs will impact you if you purchase a new car. Keep this information in mind when shopping for a new car so you can choose the vehicle that’s best for your lifestyle and your budget.

The Most Reliable Pickup Trucks

The Most Reliable Pickup Trucks

January 3, 2022

Buyers on the hunt for a new pickup truck might be drawn to this body type for its rugged durability and towing capacity. Pickup trucks are offered in ½ ton, ¾ ton and full-ton models. Some are diesel, but electric trucks are an option, too. Pickup trucks are a workhorse vehicle and many are capable of towing and hauling massive loads. Trucks also can hit the off-beaten paths, conquering sand, mud and rocks, too. When shopping for a new pickup truck, though, what models are the best and most reliable. Here are the most reliable pickup trucks. Reliable Pickup Trucks [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Sizing-Up-the-Pickup.jpg] SIZING UP THE PICKUP Buyers who are unfamiliar with the pickup truck market might be a bit overwhelmed by their options when they start browsing online. Buyers will typically see a range of numbers for pickup truck models; these numbers include 1500 or 150, 2500 or 250, 3500 or 350 or even 4500. What do these numbers mean? Pickup truck numbers denote their size. It’s easier if buyers associate the numbers with tonnage; the numbers 1500 or 150 denote ½ ton models, 2500 or 250 refer to ¾ ton models and the largest vehicles are full-tons and are denoted by 3500 or 350. However, buyers may see a 450, and this is the largest model. Other manufacturers may represent their largest models differently. Weight for models isn’t necessarily ½ ton or even full ton; the terms ½ ton or ¾ ton are now just industry references. Models may weigh significantly more than the ½ ton reference suggests. Buyers need to look at these classes as measurements of strength instead of weight or exact tonnage. A half-ton pickup is the lightest weight option, and it is capable of towing and hauling a significant amount of weight. However, towing and hauling capacity increases with the model size. Buyers who need brute force for work needs would need to choose a full-ton model. Reliable Pickup Trucks [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/The-Weight-of-Towing.jpg] THE WEIGHT OF TOWING The larger and heavier the pickup, the more weight it is capable of towing. Vehicle buyers may have different towing needs related to their job or just their lifestyle or interest. Avid water sport enthusiasts may need to tow a small trailer carrying a jet ski or a boat. Those who love the outdoors may need to tow a small camper. Farmers or ranchers may need a heavier pickup truck for towing large machinery or equipment, though. They may opt for a ¾ ton or one-ton model. How much weight can each model tow? What model is best for a buyer’s towing needs? Here’s how the most popular models of ½ ton pickup trucks stack up in towing capacity: * 2021 Ford F-150 (Five engine options) 8,200 to 14,000 pounds * 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (Five engine options) Up to 13,300 pounds * GMC Sierra 1500 Up to 13,000 pounds * 2022 Ram 1500 Up to 12,750 pounds * 2021 Nissan TITAN 9,310, to 11,040 pounds * 2021 Toyota Tundra 9,400 to 10,100 pounds * 2022 GMC Canyon Up to 7,700 pounds * 2021 Ford Ranger Up to 7,500 pounds * 2021 Jeep Gladiator Up to 7,650 pounds * 2022 Chevrolet Colorado Up to 7,000 pounds * 2022 Toyota Tacoma 3,500 to 6,800 pounds * 2022 Nissan Frontier Up to 6,720 pounds * 2022 Honda Ridgeline 5,000 pounds TOWING DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE ¾ TON AND FULL TON PICKUPS For car buyers who need towing capacity beyond the abilities of the typical ½ ton pickup, a ¾ ton or full-ton might be the better option. For the one-ton models, Ford ranks as the top choice for towing. The Ford F-350 is capable of towing up to 21,000 pounds, but with a fifth-wheel this extends its towing power to 32,000 pounds. Ford also offers the Super Duty F-450 XL, which can tow up to 36,400 pounds. This is by far the beast of all the pickup truck options.   The ¾ ton models can’t tow nearly as much as a full-ton pickup, but they can tow more than the ½ ton. In this class, Ford’s F-250 model can tow up to 21,800 pounds (for the fifth wheel depending on the engine). The Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD can tow up to 18,510 pounds. WHAT IS THE SAFEST PICKUP TRUCK? Buyers may want the safest pickup truck. When researching the safety ratings of a vehicle, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is the best resource. Buyers can search by make/model to find the safety rating and read the full safety report. The top rating is denoted as the Top Safety Pick+. For small pickup trucks, there were no models that received this rating. However, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Crew cab pickup received a Top Safety Pick rating (which is the next best rating from the Institute). For 2021 large pickup trucks, there also were no models that received a Top Safety Pick+ rating. Multiple models received the Top Safety Pick rating, however. These models included: * 2021 Ford F-150 Crew Cab pickup * 2021 Ford F-150 Extended cab pickup * 2021 Ram 1500 Crew cab pickup Buyers considering other models can check out their safety ratings by visiting the IIHS website. Safety reports are provided for every make/model. However, not all 2022 models have been released so data could be unavailable. MOST RELIABLE PICKUP TRUCKS Reliability encompasses many factors for a vehicle. Every year, J.D. Power ranks one vehicle in each class as the most dependable; this vehicle is given the J.D. Power Award for Highest Dependability. Here’s how pickup truck models fared for the 2021 awards (based on 2018 model years): LARGE HEAVY DUTY PICKUP (#1) * 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD The Silverado scored an 80 from J.D. Power. For Quality and Reliability, it received an 81 (which is denoted as Great). The Silverado received a 78 related to Driving Experience; this is considered Average. For Resale, it received another average score of 79. However, it received an 83 for Dealership Experience, which also is Great. LARGE LIGHT DUTY PICKUP MODELS * Toyota Tundra 4WD The Tundra scored an 84 in Quality and Reliability, which was the highest in its class. However, for Driving Experience, it only scored an 81. THE BUDGETARY MATTERS Car buyers might review the safety and reliability ratings as well as the towing capacity for their pickup choices, but price often affects the choice of many buyers. Pickup trucks can range in price, depending on their size, their engine and additional features as well. The full-ton models will be the most expensive choices, but the engine also adds to the cost. With pickup trucks, buyers can typically choose from different engines. The power of the engine can increase the towing capacity. More powerful engines—including diesel—will often be more expensive. Buyers also could choose to add more features to their truck, and this also adds to the price of the automobile. Before shopping for a pickup truck, buyers should figure out how much they can spend. However, the price of a vehicle doesn’t just include the monthly payment, it also includes the price of insurance and fuel needs. In general, experts recommend allocating no more than 15 to 20 percent of take-home pay (this is the amount after taxes are deducted) to transportation costs. Nerdwallet advises that the car payment should only be less than 10 percent of take-home earnings. USE RELAYCARS TO EXPLORE THE OPTIONS Once buyers have figured out how much they can spend on a new pickup truck and have researched the trucks that fit their towing needs, they can explore their options on RelayCars. Using the site, buyers can preview cars in 3D or in augmented reality. RelayCars includes a virtual tour of the exterior and interior of each different model. Each vehicle can be explored in 360 degrees to see the interior and exterior of the vehicle. The interior panorama tour allows buyers to see the features in the front and back seats. Using these virtual tours, buyers can better understand the vehicle’s space constraints to determine if the model is a fit for their needs. RelayCars also lets buyers view the vehicles in different paint hues. RelayCars provides an immersive augmented reality experience for buyers, too. Each model in RelayCars’ virtual showroom can be explored in augmented reality in the user’s environment. Drop a Dodge Ram into the garage and walk around the vehicle, or preview different trucks in the driveway. With augmented reality, car buyers can get up close with a virtual model of any truck. They will see a graphic depiction of the vehicle appear before them, and they can view that car as if it’s actually in their space. Augmented reality gives users a personalized showroom experience, except the user’s own environment transforms into the showroom. There is no limit on the number of pickup trucks that car shoppers can preview via RelayCars. Check out different makes and models to find the most appealing option. Explore the exterior and interior of each model, and then decide what pickup truck would work best for the needs and budget of the buyer. RelayCars is open day or night. When buyers are shopping for the most reliable pickup truck, they can view their options from home at any time of day. Use RelayCars as a personal vehicle showroom and immerse in the virtual and augmented reality experiences.

Here’s How Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality HoloLens Offers Industries Unique
Solutions

Here’s How Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality HoloLens Offers Industries Unique Solutions

December 31, 2021

Consumers might be waiting patiently for consumer-based augmented reality glasses to be announced from one of the many tech giants. However, businesses have access to augmented reality and mixed reality solutions thanks to headsets and glasses designed specifically for enterprise use. Microsoft’s mixed reality and augmented reality HoloLens is one of the leading headsets that offer businesses an immersive solution to training, collaboration and more. Here’s how different businesses and industries use HoloLens to elevate the employee experience. WHAT IS HOLOLENS? HoloLens isn’t a small pair of glasses, but it also isn’t a huge bulky headset. This technology is a bit of a hybrid between a headset and glasses; it’s sleek, but not too cumbersome for the wearer. Microsoft’s HoloLens is designed for enterprise use and features mixed reality technology. Holo refers to holograms; in many ways, mixed reality is a mix of reality and holographic images. HoloLens is only for enterprise use; in fact, Microsoft highlights three major industries for its use: * Healthcare * Manufacturing * Education The price of the headset varies by model. The headset is offered in three models: HoloLens 2, HoloLens Industrial Edition and Trimble XR10 with HoloLens 2. The three different options are unique in their usage design. HoloLens Industrial Edition is designed for clean or hazardous areas (think healthcare/medical), while Trimble XR10 with HoloLens 2 is designed for dirty or noisy areas like construction zones or manufacturing. While HoloLens supports the three targeted industries, the headset can be used for other industries, too. Here’s how different businesses and industries use HoloLens. Augmented Reality HoloLens [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Healthcare.jpg] HEALTHCARE The healthcare industry uses HoloLens in many different ways. Some use the technology for simulations, others use it for aiding in anatomy lessons, ultrasound simulations and even helping neurosurgeons more remove brain tumors. CAE Health For CAE Health, HoloLens helps create realistic simulations. The headset can let clinicians walk through procedures via mixed reality. CAE uses it for ultrasound simulations, and organs can appear in front of the clinician. This lets the user rotate it or even view it larger. Case Western University The university uses HoloLens to help students immerse in anatomy lessons. The HoloLens technology would replace the standard cadavers that students typically used to explore, understand and learn anatomy. Developers from Case Western spoke at Microsoft’s Build conference and discussed how the tech could be used to simplify the learning process and to even teach remotely. MedTrix Healthcare MedTrix emphasized how HoloLens was aiding neurosurgeons in removing brain tumors during surgery: “HoloLens 2 can create 3D holographic images of the patient’s anatomy from the scans taken earlier. These holographic 3D images can be moved around to see from different angles, thus providing the surgeon with a better idea of the tumour’s spatial position. HoloLens 2 allows surgeons to view a holographic picture of the patient’s brain over the patient’s head in a surgical environment. In fact, multiple surgeons wearing the HoloLens 2 headset can look at the same image from different angles.” Augmented Reality HoloLens [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Manufacturing.jpg] MANUFACTURING In the manufacturing environment, loud machines can deter learning. In addition, ineffective communication could lead to more downtime and decreased productivity. Augmented reality and mixed reality can help aid techs in repairing machines or even simplify training and other jobs, too. Here’s how the manufacturing industry is using HoloLens 2: Manufacturing.Net The online hub that reports on the manufacturing industry detailed how HoloLens is aiding Delta ModTech thanks to mixed reality. The site explains that while augmented reality overlays graphics on top of the real world environment, mixed reality actually begins in reality. Then the technology—in this case HoloLens—allows for lots of data to be viewed. Delta ModTech uses the headset to include documents, videos and more. HoloLens is used in training, in Factory Acceptance (FAT) Testing to allow some to participate remotely and to aid in fixing machinery (i.e. troubleshooting). Lockheed Martin ComputerWorld explained how Lockheed Martin benefited from the HoloLens technology during the final assembly of the spacecraft. According to ComputerWorld, HoloLens could measure, plan and prioritize work. This meant that workers could focus on the ‘build’ aspect. Intel The computer chip shortage after the pandemic affected numerous industries, but it hit the automotive industry especially hard. However, Intel is using HoloLens to boost computer chip production by helping workers see specific instructions and directions. Video of the HoloLens use was taken from the company’s Ireland factory. Augmented Reality HoloLens [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Education.jpg] EDUCATION Lessons may come to life with HoloLens. Here’s how HoloLens is transforming education with mixed reality. Case Western Not only is Case Western’s use of HoloLens impacting healthcare, but it’s also transforming education. Students are using the headset to view anatomy; not only does this provide more immersive instruction, but it also means that students no longer use a standard cadaver. Crescent Girls School CNET reported that the all-girls school in Singapore is using the HoloLens to safely learn about how nuclear radiation can affect the environment, specifically plants and animals. Students use the headsets as they role play as ecologists and geneticists; they are tasked with studying the effects of radiation from around a nuclear power plant. Of course, nothing is real; the lesson is completely mixed reality. However, the immersive lesson allows students to learn by doing. The nuclear lesson is part of the school’s biology studies. Lifelique This company is designing an educational app via HoloLens that will allow students to see a volcano or even a tsunami. Graphics allow for interactive and immersive learning for different science subjects and curricula.   HOW MIXED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY TRANSFORM BUSINESS HoloLens is used across numerous industries in a variety of different ways. HoloLens can aid med students in exploring and learning about parts of the anatomy, help students explore science lessons in an immersive element, and help simplify repairs and aid in the manufacturing process. While many businesses use HoloLens, virtual reality headsets also are aiding and simplifying tasks and training, too. With virtual reality headsets, employees can experience training simulations safely; for example, stores can help employees learn how to deal with a robbery without putting them in an unsafe situation. Virtual reality also could provide employees with the opportunity to master difficult tasks, without affecting productivity. If an employee is having a difficult time learning a concept or technique for the job, virtual reality could allow them to go through the simulation to perfect their skills. Virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality could be a tech-savvy solution for businesses to streamline processes and, in the case of manufacturing, even minimize downtime. For example, before the launch of these headsets, techs would have to flip through manuals or have another employee guide their repairs. With HoloLens or other glasses, repairs can be simplified because the data and instructions can appear before an employee’s eyes. Graphics also can be superimposed onto machinery; of course, this data is only visible to those wearing a headset or glasses. WILL LEARNING BECOME AUGMENTED? Companies like Lifelique are creating apps for HoloLens that allow students to immerse into lessons. HoloLens also is being utilized to allow students to role play as geneticists or biologists as they study the effects of radiation from a power plant. Could schools embrace this immersive approach to learning? For private schools, headsets and augmented reality technology could be a means to elevate learning and to help students learn by doing. For public schools, though, the cost of these headsets could be a barrier to more mainstream usage. However, if augmented reality and mixed reality headsets become embraced across many different educational institutions, the technology could weave into public schools. Computers were once an expensive investment. Many public schools likely only had a few per classroom. As computers became mainstream and the cost decreased, schools began to implement one-to-one computing. How many public schools provide laptops or Chromebooks to each child? Lessons are done online; homework is turned in online, too. Augmented reality headsets could—in the future—become the new computer. Perhaps lessons will feature an augmented reality component. Students may explore their world using headsets and watch as volcanoes appear in front of them. However, more companies also would need to develop immersive learning apps to work with HoloLens and complement the curriculum. Imagine, though, having history lessons come alive. Maybe past presidents narrate their lives or students see a model of the White House appear before them. HoloLens and augmented and mixed reality are transforming education, healthcare and manufacturing. However, in the future, the use of these headsets could become more widespread. As more industries and more companies begin to understand how this technology can simplify processes, perhaps many employees will be donning headsets or glasses. Technology evolves, and HoloLens and its competition will evolve, too. The future of augmented headsets may mean a portal into the metaverse. Perhaps in the future educational experiences or enriching activities will be hosted in the metaverse. Headsets already can aid in remote collaboration, but perhaps this remote access will be heightened. For now, though, augmented reality technology has the power to provide immersive solutions, simply processes and transform learning to provide experiences that are beyond reality.

How Consumers Can Access a Virtual Reality Experience without Buying a Headset

How Consumers Can Access a Virtual Reality Experience without Buying a Headset

December 29, 2021

Virtual reality is one access point to the realm known as the metaverse. If the term sounds familiar, it’s because Facebook has rebranded as Meta, Inc. The name nods to the ‘metaverse,’ and the company has expressed its commitment to developing this new alternate universe. While augmented reality dips a toe into a meta world, virtual reality exists firmly in the metaverse. Unfortunately, accessing a virtual reality experience typically requires a headset, which can be costly and cumbersome. However, consumers don’t necessarily need to own a headset to enjoy a virtual reality experience. In fact, virtual reality is more accessible than most consumers realize. Here are five virtual reality experiences for consumers that want to explore the metaverse but that, perhaps, don’t want to spend hundreds on a new headset or goggles. GOOGLE CARDBOARD With Google Cardboard, the smartphone can transform into a virtual reality headset. While this experience isn’t free, it is very inexpensive. Google Cardboard headsets can be purchased in a range of prices, and several cost less than $10.   How do consumers know which Cardboard option is best? Choose the option that fits the smartphone screen. Feeling DIY inspired? Google also offers instructions online on how to build a viewer from basic items found around the home. Or make a list from the tutorial and visit a hardware store. After building or receiving the viewer, consumers can download the Google Cardboard app via the App Store or Google Play and start enjoying virtual reality experiences! Virtual Reality Experience [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Virtual-Reality-Spa-Experiences.jpg] VIRTUAL REALITY SPA EXPERIENCES Virtual reality experiences are now used to enhance spa treatments. While virtual reality isn’t being used as a treatment, it is being utilized to help guests relax and enjoy a more immersive state of relaxation. Virtual reality headsets allow guests to enjoy a getaway of their choice. Guests can transport to a lush paradise or another scenic environment as they sit in a massage chair. The experience is called Esquapes Immersive Relaxation and also uses fans combined with heat lamps to create a more realistic virtual—and warm!—getaway. VIRTUAL REALITY GAMES Local adventure parks often include virtual reality games or other experiences. Many charge a fee for participating, but for those who want to experience virtual reality without committing to a headset, these games and experiences are great options. To find virtual reality offerings, just search for “virtual reality experiences near me” on Google. Or ask a virtual assistant via a smartphone. Yes, it’s really that easy. And many major cities will offer something virtual! Virtual Reality Experience [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Virtual-Reality-Museum-Experiences.jpg] VIRTUAL REALITY MUSEUM EXPERIENCES Some museums offer virtual reality experiences to allow guests to immerse in an art or other exhibit. These experiences vary but are a unique way to explore an exhibit or work of art. Some exhibits are even virtual by design! Museum Next included a round-up of different museums offering virtual reality and how each has utilized this technology to enhance their exhibits.  For example, the V&A used virtual reality for its Curious Alice exhibit, which focused on the “…origins, adaptations and reinventions…” of the classic adventures by Lewis Carroll.  The virtual experience transports the visitor into Wonderland. Go on quests, solve riddles (from the Caterpillar, of course) and interact with the characters. There’s even a game of croquet with the Queen of Hearts, because a visit into the mad world of Wonderland wouldn’t be complete without a game of croquet. Grab a flamingo! The Louvre’s dip into virtual reality also was highlighted by Museum Next. The Louvre created a virtual reality experience focused on Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Users can download the app ‘Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass’ via Google Play or the App Store. However, users must have access to Google Cardboard or a virtual reality headset to explore the app. VIRTUAL TOURS Stuck at home with nothing to do? Let virtual reality be the exit to another experience…or to another part of the world. While many museums offer virtual reality experiences as part of an exhibit, many offer virtual tours, too. There is no need for a headset to take a virtual tour. However, users will need access to their computer…or a smartphone or tablet. Virtual tours aren’t true virtual reality. That is, without a headset or goggles, the user doesn’t feel completely transported. Yet, tours are virtual in that they allow the user to explore the museum from  home. Virtual tours can let users explore different exhibits in detail or just feel as though they are walking down the corridors of the museum, looking up at paintings or other artwork. The Sistine Chapel allows those at home to view Michelangelo’s artwork on the Chapel’s ceiling. Use the mouse (or the finger) to navigate through this historic and wondrous site. Directional arrows via the virtual tour allow users to get closer to different areas of the Chapel (and artwork by different artists). Or rotate the tour upwards to view the ceiling. Other museums include virtual tours of exhibits or may even allow guests to schedule more immersive and lengthy private virtual tours led by a personal tour guide from the museum. Different museums may provide unique experiences and offerings. However, those who are interested in exploring virtual reality experiences at local museums might want to visit their websites first. Many virtual tours are accessible via the museum’s website or there may be additional information related to virtual tours posted online as well. Virtual Reality Experience [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Virtual-Reality-Experience-for-Shopping.jpg] VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERIENCE FOR SHOPPING? Consumers might find themselves stuck at home during a rainy or snowy day but still want to go shopping or at least window shop. Most consumers know that online shopping is a convenient way to order what they need and find what they want; many stores even allow consumers to buy online and ship to the store (often for free!). Plus, online shopping is open and accessible rain or shine. But is online shopping virtual reality? Not quite. Many people use the term ‘virtual’ to describe an experience that doesn’t take place in person or at a physical location. However, the metaverse still can be used to aid shoppers in their online experiences. Virtual reality hasn’t yet hit mainstream popularity. Many individuals at home don’t have access to virtual reality headsets or goggles. And while stores could offer virtual experiences at their physical locations, what about online shopping? Can virtual reality be used to help shoppers online? These completely virtual experiences aren’t yet common. Although they could be in the future. Perhaps if Meta releases a very affordable virtual reality headset, it’s possible that the metaverse could be used for shopping. Perhaps malls go virtual. However, the metaverse is accessible via another technology that’s very similar to virtual reality. Augmented reality combines the real world environment and the metaverse. Using the camera on a smartphone or tablet, the user visualizes the real world, and augmented reality apps then overlay graphics into this environment. Since augmented reality combines the real world with graphics, the technology is popular for ‘try on’ experiences that allow consumers to preview products. The camera can be used as a window or a mirror. For example, the user can capture their own face via the camera and an augmented reality try on experience can let them virtually swipe on makeup hues or even hair colors! These experiences also let the consumer explore and enjoy products in new ways. And they also could decrease the likelihood of a return. After all, if an individual can preview a lipstick color, they can decide if the color flatters their complexion. Or if it’s a big no. Before augmented reality experiences became more mainstream, the consumer had to guess about products. Now, though, augmented reality lets consumers drop furniture into a room to see if it fits. Or try on a pair of eyeglasses. Paint colors can even be previewed on walls. While augmented reality doesn’t transport the user to another realm, it does mix reality with the metaverse. The furniture that is virtually placed into a room doesn’t really exist. It’s just a depiction. A computer graphic. But could virtual reality be used to create even more immersive experiences in the future? That might depend on the future of virtual reality. For many consumers, virtual reality headsets aren’t practical or affordable. Some consumers might not even enjoy virtual reality, as the experience could make them feel sick or induce a headache. However, if the headsets become more mainstream, perhaps more affordable, then maybe the metaverse could expand to include virtual shopping experiences. The future of the metaverse, though, also may be a long way off. While Meta (the company) is interested in furthering these experiences, consumers could see different iterations of the metaverse. Or different metaverse destinations that are branded by different tech companies. Apple could deploy its own metaverse with virtual reality experiences. There could be a Google metaverse. And a Facebook metaverse…or, rather, a Meta metaverse. For now, though, augmented reality could be the easiest way for consumers to enjoy a semi-virtual experience without the headset or maybe even the headache. However, for those who really want to fully immerse into a virtual world and leave reality behind, stepping into virtual reality might be as easy as visiting a local museum or even a spa. And for those who wish to deploy virtual reality without an expensive headset, Google Cardboard could be the cheapest ticket to the fully virtual metaverse!

Categories: Virtual Reality
8 Best Augmented Reality Stocks

8 Best Augmented Reality Stocks

December 27, 2021

Augmented reality is technology that allows you to superimpose images, sounds, and other digital elements onto your real world environment. In other words, it gives you the power to blend elements from the digital world and real world together. Many people associate augmented reality technology with gaming, but it has countless other applications. In fact, augmented reality technology is used in automotive manufacturing, real estate, education, retail, and many other industries.  There are so many ways to use augmented reality, which is why experts predict that this market will experience significant growth over the next few years. In 2020, the augmented reality market was valued at $14.7 billion, but experts believe it will grow to $88.4 billion by 2026. Because so much growth is expected in this market in the near future, now is the perfect time to invest in augmented reality stocks. Here are some of your best options: SNAP SNAP is the stock symbol for the social media app Snapchat. This social media app has a long history with augmented reality technology. In 2016, the company introduced Lenses, which is now one of its most popular features. It’s estimated that around 170 million people use this feature each day.  You can use Snapchat’s augmented reality lenses to change the way you look, your surroundings, or even the sound of your voice. For example, one Snapchat lens uses augmented reality technology to project a pair of bunny ears onto the user’s head.  Snapchat is also in the process of developing a pair of augmented reality glasses for consumers. The glasses, which are called Snapchat Spectacles, will allow consumers to enjoy unforgettable augmented reality experiences.  Snapchat has given out hundreds of pairs of Spectacles to augmented reality creators and influencers. However, the company is still tweaking the design and making changes to the user experience before making them available to the public. If these glasses are a hit, it’s safe to say that Snapchat’s stock price could increase. Augmented Reality Stocks [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/ETSY.jpg] ETSY ETSY is the stock symbol for Etsy, a global online marketplace that allows people to buy and sell unique items. This may not be the first company that comes to mind when you think of augmented reality technology, but Etsy has invested heavily in this technology.  In 2020, Etsy announced that shoppers could now preview what paintings, photographs, or art prints would look like in their home using a new feature powered by augmented reality technology. This makes it easier for consumers to decide which piece of wall art would look best before making a purchase.  This feature is currently limited to wall art, but Etsy has plans to expand it in the future. Eventually, the company would like shoppers to be able to use augmented reality technology to virtually try on or preview any item for sale on Etsy. Using augmented reality in this manner could significantly improve the user experience for Etsy shoppers, which could give the company’s stock price a boost in the years ahead. GOOGL GOOGL is the stock symbol for Google, one of the major players in the augmented reality market.  Google already uses augmented reality technology in a number of different ways. For example, the company now uses augmented reality technology to power its “Live View” on Google Maps. This feature makes it easier for users to understand where they need to go to get to their final destination.  You can also use augmented reality technology to conduct visual searches on Google. This technology allows you to search for something simply by pointing your camera at it.  Google even gives you the power to superimpose three-dimensional objects you see in your search results directly onto your real world environment. Experts believe that Google will introduce other augmented reality products in the future, including a pair of augmented reality smart glasses. There’s no telling when Google’s augmented reality glasses will be available, but their release could have a positive impact on the company’s stock price.  Augmented Reality Stocks [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/MSFT.jpg] MSFT MSFT is the stock symbol for Microsoft, another leader in the augmented reality market.  Microsoft has several different augmented reality products, including the HoloLens and HoloLens 2, which are mixed reality smart glasses. Right now, consumers cannot purchase a pair of HoloLens smart glasses. This product is only available for enterprise use and is widely used in education, health care, and manufacturing.  For example, if a worker on an assembly line needs help putting a product together, they can put on a pair of HoloLens glasses to find the information they need. The glasses will project the information onto their surroundings so they can easily reference it while they work. They won’t need to ask someone for help or step off the assembly line to get the answers they need.  Microsoft also secured an impressive $22 billion contract with the U.S. Army to deliver HoloLens smart glasses to soldiers in training. These glasses have helped Microsoft dominate the augmented reality market and will continue to do so in the years ahead. VUZI VUZI is the stock symbol for Vuzix, which is a company that designs, manufactures, sells, and markets wearable devices powered by augmented reality technology. Vuzi’s M-Series augmented reality headsets are used primarily by workers in health care, manufacturing, and the military. However, the company has also created augmented reality headsets for consumers. The Blade AR device looks like a normal pair of glasses, but is equipped with augmented reality technology for hands-free mobile computing and connectivity.  Vuzi is much smaller and not nearly as well known as other companies on this list. However, its revenue has exploded over the last several years due to the popularity of its augmented reality headsets. Some experts predict that this company will continue to grow as the demand for its products increases.  Augmented Reality Stocks [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/AAPL.jpg] AAPL AAPL is the stock symbol for Apple, a company that has already invested millions of dollars in augmented reality. Apple’s ARKit is a toolkit that allows developers of all skill levels to create augmented reality apps that can be sold in Apple’s App Store. The introduction of this toolkit made augmented reality far more accessible to consumers. Thanks to this ARKit, thousands of augmented reality experiences are now available at consumers’ fingertips.  Experts believe that Apple is also hard at work developing two augmented reality devices. There are rumors that Apple will release an augmented reality headset followed closely by a pair of augmented reality smart glasses. The company has not commented on these rumors, so there’s no way of knowing if they are true and if so, when the products will be released. However, if Apple does release these products, the company could finally take this technology mainstream. FB FB, or Facebook, is going all in on augmented reality. According to a recent report, about 10,000 employees, or one-fifth of Facebook’s workforce, are currently working on projects related to virtual reality and augmented reality. Right now, the company uses augmented reality to enhance the user experience on Facebook and Instagram. For example, Spark AR gives users the chance to learn how to use augmented reality technology to create one-of-a-kind effects that can be applied to photos or videos. You don’t need any prior experience with augmented reality technology to take advantage of this tool. Facebook is also in the process of developing a number of augmented reality products, including a wearable wrist device and augmented reality smart glasses. Experts believe that Facebook will release its first pair of augmented reality smart glasses within the next several years, which could have a huge impact on its stock price.  Augmented Reality Stocks [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/NTDOY.jpg] NTDOY NTDOY is the stock symbol for Nintendo, which was one of the early players in the augmented reality industry. In fact, Nintendo collaborated with Niantic on the production and release of Pokemon Go, an augmented reality app that took the world by storm in 2016. Pokemon Go introduced millions of consumers to the power of augmented reality technology for the first time.  This isn’t the only time that Nintendo ventured into the world of augmented reality. Nintendo 3DS users can access a wide range of augmented reality games simply by pointing the device’s camera at one of the specially designed AR cards. Pointing the camera at one of these cards will immediately launch a game on the device and bring the game’s characters to life in the user’s real world environment.  In 2021, Nintendo announced that it would partner with Niantic again to develop even more augmented reality apps for consumers. Based on the success of Pokemon Go, it’s safe to assume that this partnership will produce popular and exciting augmented reality games for consumers of all ages.  Some experts believe that Nintendo will eventually release a pair of augmented reality smart glasses that will allow users to experience classic Nintendo games in an entirely new way. It’s too early to predict whether this is true or not, but if it is, this device will undoubtedly shake up the augmented reality market. These are some of the many companies that may see an increase in their stock price due to their investment in augmented reality technology.

Why Virtual Reality Goggles are Getting Cheugy

Why Virtual Reality Goggles are Getting Cheugy

December 24, 2021

Pumpkin spiced lattes, skinny jeans, side parts, graphic tees. The commonality? Their cheugy status. While these once cool trends were often associated with the younger generation known as Millennials, Generation Z is up and coming. They don’t wear skinnies. They prefer the middle part. And maybe they’re also not really donning virtual reality goggles. Yes, we might need to admit an uncomfortable tech truth. Virtual reality goggles might be getting cheugy! Except Millennials never really embraced virtual reality with zeal. The New York Times was a bit kinder in noting that the tech is “niche.” A few years back, Inc. wrote about how virtual reality could be used to reach Gen Z. And while this immersive tech is the type of experience Gen Z likes, the problem with virtual reality is the gateway into it: the virtual reality goggles. The headsets or goggles—call them what you will—have never really been sleek or stylish. They’re clunky. They often connect with cumbersome wiring. Some are insanely expensive. Even years after Inc. wrote about the allure of virtual reality and augmented reality, not much has changed for the design of virtual reality headsets. But augmented reality? That’s another story. Tech writers aren’t necessarily buzzing consistently about virtual reality headsets. They are, however, waiting for the drop of consumer-driven augmented reality glasses. These may be the promise of the future. The sleek visual link to a fully immersive world. And one that isn’t tethered to wires or other equipment. Virtual reality goggles might need to be cancelled. At least in their common iterations. They’re evolving but not really evolving. Their clunkiness has not really improved over time, and, while this is fine for enterprise uses like employee training and simulations, is it really what the younger audience is desiring? Oculus is one of the most popular virtual reality consumer headsets on the market. It’s also the most affordable. In the last quarter of 2020, Statista reported that more than a million headsets were sold. In the first quarter of 2021, sales dropped to around 850,000. Fourth quarter, of course, correlates with the holidays. The sales drop isn’t horrific. Oculus isn’t hurting. But does the traditional headset need a facelift? A redesign? And could that be in the future? Oculus is owned by Facebook, now known as Meta. The company has been very outspoken—as has its founder—about the future of immersive technology. Meta is interested in creating an entire metaverse, but the question is will virtual reality be a part of it? Or will augmented reality augment this universe? Meta’s home page includes both augmented and virtual reality possibilities. Oculus also is included. But will the standard Oculus headset be the gateway into Meta’s metaverse? Or will consumers see something much more astounding and cutting edge from Meta? Virtual Reality Goggles [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/The-Problem-with-Virtual.jpg] THE PROBLEM WITH VIRTUAL Virtual reality comes with a few problematic features for some consumers. Virtual reality isn’t—right now—necessarily financially accessible. Oculus tends to be one of the more budget-friendly headsets at around $300, but for many individuals and families this isn’t affordable especially since virtual reality is largely seen as entertainment. Consumers don’t need virtual reality. It isn’t essential to everyday life. Thus, the investment really isn’t alluring for those who can’t afford it. In order for technology to really become mainstream, it needs to be equitable and affordable but it also needs to be necessary. Right now, virtual reality isn’t a necessary technology. It isn’t a smartphone. It isn’t a computer. Virtual reality isn’t yet a means of connection. Virtual reality also isn’t embraceable for every consumer. The technology requires a headset to immerse into the experience, and this experience tricks the brain into thinking that movement or other actions are occurring when the body remains at rest. The issue with this is that some individuals suffer from nausea or other sickness because of sensory miscommunication. Their brain and body aren’t in sync. They feel nauseated, they may suffer from headaches or feel dizzy. Similar reactions can happen with modern 3D movies. The headsets are the only way to access the virtual realm. And, for some consumers, the discomfort and price of the headset just isn’t worth the admission into a virtual realm. While virtual reality headsets have improved over the years, they’re still bulky and clunky. And many are still tethered by wires, which can make those models cumbersome. THE METAVERSE AND VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY So is virtual reality done? No! Virtual reality as a technology isn’t cheugy. Virtual reality isn’t the problem; the headsets are the problem. The issues of access are the problem. And this is where the metaverse and the buzz about glasses enter the picture. Creating an entire metaverse isn’t going to happen overnight. And how that world will look is only really understood by Meta and the imagination of those who will be creating it. Yet, if consumers and younger generations are going to want to jump into this realm, the access might need to be a bit more visually appealing…and financially feasible. If the metaverse is going to be the future of connection, the access into it will need to be comfortable for the consumer. And, obviously, not cost prohibitive. The beginning of this technology will probably be experienced by those who can afford the technology to access it. However, if the metaverse or this type of technology becomes mainstream, tech companies might develop more affordable glasses to see into this world. As Meta is developing its metaverse, though, what of Apple, Google, Microsoft and others? Could there be multiple different realms branded by each company? And would or could each company offer its own pair of either augmented or virtual reality glasses that can be used to immerse into these experiences? Virtual Reality Goggles [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Augmented-Reality-Glasses.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY GLASSES The development of augmented reality glasses may change the immersive consumer experience. Microsoft has stated its intent to create a consumer version of HoloLens, which features augmented reality. Most everyone knows Meta’s commitment to immersive technology. And the buzz around augmented reality glasses from Apple has been around for quite some time. Glasses—sleek and probably unique to each company—might be what usurps the virtual reality goggles or headset. And, again, this isn’t assuming that virtual reality will go away or disappear. However, accessing the technology could change. Perhaps augmented reality glasses give way to glasses that also allow entrance into virtual reality. Or maybe these glasses become the access point to mixed reality experiences. The race is on between the tech giants regarding who will debut the first consumer-driven augmented reality glasses. However, this debut could mark the turning point for augmented reality to solidify the virtual reality goggle’s cheugy status. The debut of augmented reality glasses also could be a call to tech companies for redesigning virtual reality headsets to make them sleeker, less cumbersome and, hopefully, more affordable, too…and save them from cheugy. VIRTUAL REALITY WITHOUT THE HEADSET For consumers who want to experience virtual reality without donning those cumbersome and not-so-cool headsets or goggles, there are a few options. Unfortunately, those options aren’t true virtual reality. The definition of virtual is sometimes very loose. Some consumers consider anything that doesn’t take place in-person to be ‘virtual.’ Like virtual learning or virtual meetings. True virtual reality takes place in a virtual realm; everything in this realm is graphically generated. There isn’t any real world overlap. Without a headset or goggles, entering the virtual realm isn’t really feasible. However, those who want an immersive experience that isn’t virtual reality can opt for augmented reality experiences. Augmented reality is very much accessible for most consumers; all that’s needed is a smartphone or tablet. Explore augmented reality games or use augmented reality tools to preview products. Consumers experience augmented reality by using their phone or tablet camera to view the real world; the app will display the augmented reality data into the real environment. Augmented reality overlays digital graphics on top of the real world; it can sometimes mix fantasy with reality. Pokemon might not really exist, but thanks to augmented reality they appear in the real world. While virtual reality isn’t accessible without a headset or goggles, the immersive experience of augmented reality can be enjoyed by most consumers. Augmented reality also can be embedded into Snapchat and other social media posts. THE EVOLUTION OF REALITY Reality is evolving into augmented and virtual realms. While the evolution of virtual reality headsets seems slightly stagnated, the pursuit of augmented reality technology including glasses may propel interest in redesigning those old clunky headsets. If and when augmented reality glasses become a reality, this technology could be the new ‘must have’ item. The new tech darling. Virtual reality isn’t cancelled, though. And the tech itself isn’t cheugy. However, the old clunky styling of the access into the virtual realm has, perhaps, entering its tech expiration. Virtual reality needs a redesign. For virtual reality to fully hit mainstream popularity, for it to really be a ‘must have,’ it also needs to be necessary. It isn’t. Not yet. Could the metaverse change this? That remains to be seen. But consumers also could be faced with many virtual and augmented realities branded by different tech players. And they all could have their own glasses. Hopefully, those glasses will be worth the wait…and worth the wear. And, ideally, engineers will have declunked the cheugy virtual reality goggles and allowed them to evolve into something that is both accessible and stylish.

Categories: Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality Escape Room Transport Players into New Realms of Challenges

Virtual Reality Escape Room Transport Players into New Realms of Challenges

December 22, 2021

Escape rooms began popping up across the United States as a new form of entertainment for families and friends and even for corporate team building exercises. Escape rooms require players to solve multiple puzzles to ultimately escape the room. Some experiences are timed, and each room is themed for a unique experience. Now these game challenges are going virtual and immersing players into incredible new environments. Virtual reality escape rooms are taking players into underwater realms, the pyramids and even into ancient mythology to solve puzzles and, ultimately, complete the mission and escape. Some virtual reality escape rooms follow video games like Cyberpunk, A Prince of Persia, and Assassin’s Creed. While many are appropriate for most ages, some are now darker in design and are for ages 17 and up. Virtual Reality Escape Room [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/What-is-a-Virtual-Reality-Escape-Room.jpg] WHAT IS A VIRTUAL REALITY ESCAPE ROOM? In a traditional escape room, players entered and were locked in a room. Each room had a unique theme, and the rooms included multiple different puzzles that needed to be solved. When players completed all the puzzles accurately—and within a time limit—the room was unlocked and the game was complete. Throughout the game, a story might have unfolded to explain the adventure or theme of the room. As puzzles were solved, more details about the story might have been revealed. Each room had an end challenge that the players had to complete, but this challenge couldn’t be realized until all the other puzzles or challenges were solved. Players who were unable to complete all the puzzles or solve them within the time limit lost, and the room was unlocked without completing the game. Virtual escape rooms work the same way, but the experience is completely virtual. All players wear a virtual reality headset in the room to experience the story and help solve the puzzles. All escape room centers each have their own unique rooms, although some may offer similar puzzles. TRAP’T (CONNECTICUT) Trap’t, an escape room venue in Connecticut, offers Escape the Lost Pyramid (dubbed as an Assassin’s Creed experience), Beyond Medusa’s Gate (also an Assassin’s Creed adventure), Alice (as in “Alice in Wonderland”), and even Christmas. Each experience has its own mission or goal. In the experience “Christmas,” players need to light the Christmas tree, because Santa is caught in a snowstorm, lost all the presents he was carrying and can’t get home. Before players can light Santa’s way home via the tree, they have to figure out why the elves have decided to stop working. BANE ESCAPE (NEW YORK) Bane Escape in New York uses HTC Vive headsets to power the experience. Players wear a headset and a backpack that includes equipment to link team members together in the virtual realm The Bane virtual escape experience begins with a séance—team members must find the candles and book for the séance. This ceremony summons a demon and players are trapped in another realm. They must find their way out of three rooms in the new dimension and get back to their dimension within 30 minutes. To escape, they need to solve puzzles in each room. Players must be 10 years and older to play the virtual game. ATOMIC ESCAPE ROOMS (WASHINGTON) Atomic Escape Rooms offers multiple virtual reality experiences including: * Manor of Escape, which requires players to stop the evil Count Malum * Dragon Tower, which finds players in a small town ruled by an alchemist who sacrifices criminals to the dragon. Players must escape the dragon tower. * Time Travel Paradox, in which a team has created the first time machine but another member—Dr. Marek—stole it. The goal of the game is to stop Marek. Atomic Escape Rooms offers several more experiences including a virtual reality haunted house experience. Virtual Reality Escape Room [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Are-Virtual-Escape-Rooms-Available-to-Download-for-Personal-Headsets.jpg] ARE VIRTUAL ESCAPE ROOMS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD FOR PERSONAL HEADSETS? Some avid gamers have their own virtual reality headset. While those who want to experience virtual reality could pay for a virtual reality game room experience, can this unique game play challenge be experienced at home? Are there virtual reality escape room games that can be downloaded via personal headsets like the HTC Vive, HP Reverb, and Oculus Quest 2? Steam offers many escape room games that players can download via headsets. A few are free, but most are reasonably priced. The game “Escape Room” is priced at 99 cents! The game “Tested on Humans: Escape Room” is $14.99, and many others are less than $10.  Players who enjoy traditional escape rooms and want to experience these challenging games via virtual reality can check out all the options to find the best adventure. AUGMENTED REALITY ESCAPE ROOMS Virtual reality isn’t the only immersive high-tech escape room experience. Some venues offer augmented reality adventures, too. Augmented reality includes graphic elements depicted on top of the real environment. Aim Escape hosts its augmented reality escape experience outdoors. The game is two hours in duration and takes players throughout London to find clues. There are multiple adventures for players to choose; some are suitable for only older teens and adults. Unfortunately, this epic adventure is in London, but visitors might want to book an experience to escape via augmented reality. Virtual Reality Escape Room [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Augmented-Reality-Escape-Rooms-at-Home.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY ESCAPE ROOMS AT HOME For those bored and stuck at home, grab a phone or tablet and start experiencing an augmented reality escape room at home. Yes, both Google Play and the App Store offer several augmented reality escape room options. No headsets or augmented reality glasses are required to enjoy these experiences. The games use the camera’s lens to project the game graphics in the real environment. However, players will need to grant the app access to their camera. Those interested in finding augmented reality escape room experiences can search for “escape room AR” via the App Store or Google Play. Many of these games only have a handful of reviews, but they are often free to download. For gamers who haven’t explored an escape room before, using augmented reality could be a fun way to become introduced to these adventures. Again, players will need to solve puzzles to beat the game or realize the final mission. Some escape rooms include a time limit. Here are a few titles to explore via Google Play (for Android) and the App Store  (for Apple): EMERGE AR ROOM: THE PANDEMIC If the title is a little too close to reality, rest assured that players can play at home. Yes, Emerge lets players download the escape room game to their Android device. Unfortunately, it isn’t offered via Apple yet. Those with Android devices, though, can play this game anywhere. The game transforms the real world into a locked escape room. ARIA’S LEGACY – AR MYSTERY ESCAPE ROOM PUZZLE GAME Explore the truth behind Aria’s disappearance and understand her story. The real environment is transformed via augmented reality. The app is free, but there is an option for in-app purchases. SCRIPTUM AR ESCAPE Apple device owners can rejoice! Scriptum AR Escape can be downloaded via Apple devices. This game is horror themed and gives players 30 minutes to escape three rooms! THE LOCKDOWN In the Lockdown, players are Interpol agents who need to solve a case. The app is free to download via the App Store ESCAPE VIA VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY Traditional escape rooms are now transforming into digitized games that utilize either virtual reality or augmented reality to power the adventure. These game rooms might require the player to wear a virtual reality headset to enter the experience. Virtual reality and augmented reality game rooms might be the transformative future of this unique entertainment—and team bonding—experience. While traditional rooms had to include physical props and other details, immersive virtual reality game rooms can transport players into another realm that is illustrated before them. Props are virtual, clues are virtual, and these experiences could be much more detailed and imaginative, too. Traditional escape rooms couldn’t really be transported under the sea or in an entirely new dimension, but virtual reality makes these realms and spaces a very real destination. Those who want to explore these escape room experiences from home can utilize augmented reality to power their puzzles and adventures. Both Android and Apple devices offer several different game titles that allow users to explore unique augmented reality escape room experiences and challenges. Gamers who have their own virtual reality headsets, though, might have even more adventures available to them. Steam offers a list of virtual reality escape room games at reasonable prices. In virtual reality, gamers can choose their own escape adventure via Steam’s offerings. Are these immersive puzzle games the future of gaming? Augmented reality puzzle games could become more common when augmented reality glasses are finally offered to consumers. However, as more tech companies pursue the metaverse and start creating experiences designed for this virtual realm, gamers may find that these mixed reality gaming experiences might become more virtual than reality.