Close this search box.
Copy of DL Blog Banners (3)

Explained: Augmented Reality Vs. Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are changing the business world. Both technologies are known for their enriched experiences, merging the virtual and real worlds. Yet, it can be easy to confuse the two. 

This blog post aims to explain the difference between augmented reality vs. virtual reality. We’ll discuss their advantages and disadvantages and explain what you can achieve with these new technologies. 

What Is Augmented Reality (AR)? 

Augmented reality allows users to experience an enhanced world with interactive digital images layered on top of it. 

Users typically use augmented reality with devices such as smartphones, laptops, or even a headset. These devices create an augmented reality experience in various ways. For instance, they can translate text using a camera, identify stars in the night sky, or show how your living room will look with new furniture.  

Examples Of AR 

Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash

Augmented reality offers unlimited potential to create memorable, interactive experiences. Clever developers have implemented AR in various industries, from education to healthcare and retail. 

Here are some examples of AR in use today: 

  • Snapchat lets developers create lenses which allow users to interact with products before purchasing them, among other exciting, interactive tasks. 
  • IKEA Place is an AR mobile app that lets users visualise how IKEA furniture will look in a user’s home. 
  • YouCam Makeup lets users try on cosmetics through an AR selfie. 
  • Even repair technicians use AR technology to go through the steps of fixing or maintaining equipment. 
  • Sports like Formula 1 use AR to provide real-time statistics and improve the sports experience. 

Augmented Reality: Pros And Cons 

Understanding AR’s advantages, disadvantages, and limitations is crucial if you want to implement AR in your business. 

Advantages Of AR: 

  • AR can provide learners with individualised learning experiences that enhance the learning process. This experience is excellent for training new staff members or offering truly memorable;e and interactive online classes. 
  • Developers and creators constantly push the boundaries of what AR technology can do. As an evolving technology, it has a bright future. 
  • Since AR technology offers real-time feedback and data, users can leverage it to increase accuracy and productivity. 
  • Physical distances don’t hamper AR technology. Users can be anywhere in the world and share data and knowledge. 
  • AR is often more affordable than VR and requires fewer expensive or complicated devices to implement. 

Disadvantages Of AR: 

  • It can be expensive to implement AR technology since AR solutions require custom-developed software. 
  • Devices with a low-level performance, such as older model smartphones, may struggle with AR apps. 

What Is Virtual Reality (VR)? 

Virtual reality (VR) creates an entirely new, computer-generated world with which users can interact. The VR simulation can create anything or any place imaginable. 

Users typically interact with virtual reality through dedicated equipment, such as computers, VR headsets, and gloves. 

Unlike augmented reality, virtual reality replaces the user’s world with a computer-generated world. Since computers generate these virtual environments, they can be larger than life. For instance, VR users can be cartoon astronauts exploring Mars or the deep oceans. 

Examples Of VR 

Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash

VR technology is prevalent in gaming, architecture, entertainment, and even education. Here are some more examples of VR technology: 

  • Architects use VR to design buildings. Clients can virtually walk through the property before approving the final plans. 
  • Vehicle manufacturers are turning to VR to design and test vehicles. 
  • First responders, such as firefighters, medics, and even soldiers, train in VR environments. This training provides them with a safe space to simulate dangerous situations where they can gain invaluable experience. 
  • Pilots and even astronauts use VR technology in flight simulators. 
  • Therapists have been experimenting with VR technology to treat post-traumatic stress and anxiety. 
  • Doctors use VR technology to master new surgical techniques. 

Virtual Reality: Pros And Cons 

Every new technology comes with advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at the pros and cons of VR technology. 

Advantages Of VR: 

  • Users can undergo immersive virtual reality training in an interactive world. 
  • Users can explore every facet of a virtual reality world. You can design your environments as complex or as simple as you need. 
  • Facebook’s parent company, META, believes that VR will be the cornerstone of the metaverse

Disadvantages Of VR: 

  • VR is expensive to implement as it requires tremendous processing power and dedicated hardware, such as headsets and gloves. 
  • Users can’t take VR anywhere as they can with AR. 
  • While VR is fantastic for training and true-to-life simulations, it can’t replace real-life training. 

Augmented Reality Vs. Virtual Reality: Which Is Best? 

As we’ve seen, AR and VR differ in some crucial ways. However, these differences don’t make one better than the other. Both technologies serve a purpose and create a memorable experience, regardless of industry or application. 

  • AR augments a real-world scene, while VR creates an immersive, virtual environment. 
  • VR is 75% virtual. In contrast, AR is only 25% virtual. 
  • VR requires a headset to work, while AR doesn’t. 
  • AR users can move in the real world and interact with both real and virtual elements. VR users can only interact with virtual objects and can’t move around in the real world. 
  • AR enhances the virtual and real world. VR replaces the real world with a virtual one. 

So, how do you know which one is best for your business?  

Deciding which technology is best depends on your business goals.  

Do you want to enhance a user’s shopping experience or provide them with an interactive virtual world?  

Do you have a large audience or a small one? AR is often easier to access because it doesn’t require specialised devices like VR. 

When you understand your business goals, it’ll be easier to determine which technologies to implement. 

The Future Of AR And VR 

Photo by My name is Yanick on Unsplash

So what does the future hold for AR and VR technology? Is it a fad that’ll blow over, or is it here to stay? 

At Digitlab, we believe that both technologies have a bright future. As more businesses leverage the power of AR and VR, it’ll become more widespread and may bring new capabilities. 

As video processing power improves and internet services like 5G take the world by storm, AR and VR hardware will become more affordable. For instance, systems that track eye movements, hand gestures, and facial expressions will eventually replace unwieldy joysticks and controllers. 

Falling development costs will also provide more exciting opportunities for creators to explore AR and VR experiences. 

While the gaming and entertainment industries are the main drivers behind the adoption of AR and VR technology, business is slowly realising the tremendous potential of both. 

The education sector will also continue to improve AR and VR technology. As more students and teachers turn to VR and AR experiences, it opens up opportunities that savvy entrepreneurs can exploit. 

Finally, with big brand names such as Snapchat, IKEA, and even Nike adopting AR shopping experiences, we can expect to see more of both technologies in the retail sector. 

While AR and VR won’t make the need for brick-and-mortar storefronts obsolete, they offer the perfect opportunity to enchant shoppers with memorable, exciting experiences. 

Is Your Business Ready For AR And VR?  

It’s prudent to know what big business is doing and where your industry is heading. If you can be an early adopter of either AR or VR, you can ensure that your business has a long and prosperous future.


Champion your company’s digital ascent.

With over a decade of transforming companies, we help you confidently embrace the digital economy.

Learn more about digital