Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is an enhanced version of the real physical world that is achieved through the use of digital visual elements, sound, or other sensory stimuli delivered via technology. It is a growing trend among companies involved in mobile computing and business applications in particular.

Augmented reality continues to develop and become more pervasive among a wide range of applications. Since its conception, marketers and technology firms have had to battle the perception that augmented reality is little more than a marketing tool. However, there is evidence that consumers are beginning to derive tangible benefits from this functionality and expect it as part of their purchasing process.


AR is a new strategy adopted by many companies wishing to combine elements of print and online advertising whilst offering an interactive experience. For example, Zappar is an AR company that creates content for brand advertising. Consumers can download the Zappar app for free and point a smartphone at a traditional flyer and then a 3D character or scene will appear, or extra information about the product, or links back to the brand website.


Augmented reality is probably best known for its use within games, especially Pokemon Go. AR gaming essentially integrates game visual and audio content with the user's environment in real-time.


In a world where simply studying a textbook or YouTube video isn't enough to stimulate young digital-native minds, AR offers a new experience of transferring information. AR hardware such as the ZapBox kit offer a much more affordable option for schools to purchase for multiple classrooms, in comparison to the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or Microsoft's HoloLens which currently sits at a staggering £2,719 for the development edition.


Architects are experimenting with different augmented reality apps and software - from Microsoft's HoloLens to free apps - mainly used to build 3D virtual building models which can be experienced from the interior and exterior using an AR headset.