Virtual Reality is NOT the same as Augmented Reality

Original article published on LinkedIn

Contrary to some recent assertions, there is a significant difference between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.  Here’s a quick guide:

1. Augmented Reality (AR)

There are actually two kinds – real and “pretend.”  

  • Real AR is the superimposition of digital objects into a real-time video stream of a live environment,  such that the digital object is scaled properly, and is anchored or tied into the video stream in a contextually and geometrically meaningful way. A good example of this is the WayfairView app from furniture retailer Wayfair, where users can use a tablet with this app to visualize digital images of furniture placed in correct proportions into their actual physical spaces, such as their living room.

  • Pretend AR is the superimposition of digital objects into a real-time video stream of a live environment, such that the digital object is not linked to the scale of the physical world, and the digital object is simply triggered by some event or data (such as a GPS coordinate.)  A good example of this is the Pokemon Go app from Niantic, Inc., in which users can search for imaginary Pokemon characters, and when they “find” them, the character appears superimposed on the video stream from their smartphone camera.
  • The digital objects in either real or pretend AR can be images or 3D models of a physical object, or they can also be other data (such as video, audio, numbers – e.g.outside temperatures, or coordinates, or text data, such as names of buildings.)

2. Virtual Reality (VR)

When users are “placed” into a digital/virtual representation of a physical environment (from the real word or computer generated, or a combination of both) so that they can look at, and even explore this digital world much the same as they would in the real world, this experience is known as Virtual Reality. VR usually involves a headset of some kind (either with a built in vision system and dedicated computer or simply with the user’s smartphone as the display and compute system) to create what’s known as “immersion”.  This has the effect of providing a similar view as if the user were in that environment, and when they move their head, they see the space as if they had looked in that direction in the “real” world. Examples include the Google Cardboard, which allows users to use their own smartphones in a headset experience, and the Oculus Rift, which is a high definition headset that connects to an external computer.

Usually, the VR experience includes a multi-sensory process (both visual and auditory – seeing the space and hearing associated sounds in concert with each other) and may also involve some interaction (allowing the user to select certain objects or take actions.) This is common in many VR games, where the user can “drive” a car or “fire” a weapon, and the application reacts appropriately to that user action.

Post-Script: There is another application type, the 360 degree video, which is often confused with AR or VR.  A 360 video is a video of an actual (real life) scene that is taken with multiple cameras/lenses pointed in every direction at the same time. The effect is to give the viewer the option to “turn” in any direction and see the action unfold from that perspective, in real-time. An example of a 360 video is shown here. The user can pan across the video using the mouse (or touching the screen on a tablet or phone) while the action continues. There is usually no interactivity in this kind of video, other than the user changing the viewing perspective.

By Gavin Finn, President & CEO.

Learn more about Kaon Interactive’s Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Solutions today!

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EXHIBITORLIVE! 2017 is Over, Now What?

As a 7x exhibitor at ExhibitorLive, we’ve found solace in knowing that this event is still recognized as the trade show industry’s most important event.

Exhibitor 2017

This years event touted numerous exhibit production companies, tchotchke suppliers and shipping/logistic companies, but what excited me the most was the handful of technology providers that are FINALLY starting to bubble up at this event.

Senior global business executives are now starting to realize how fast innovation is taking place. The velocity of technology disruption within the events space is hitting an all time high, and Trade Show Managers are required to start thinking more strategically about technologies that will keep customers connected, engaged, and informed, not only in the trade show space, but more importantly BEYOND.

20170313_140929Augmented reality and virtual reality were prevalent at numerous booths at ExhibitorLive and there was an excitement and collaboration that was shared between these vendors, stopping by each others booths to experience demonstrations and trying new AR wearable’s (Google Hallo Lens), AR devices (Lenovo Phab 2) and VR hardware (Oculus Rift/Samsung). What I learned at ExhibitorLive is that there is a perception that once you’ve tried one AR or VR experience, you’ve tried them all. When in reality, that couldn’t have been further than the truth. Each experience was truly unique and tailored to create an engaging story.buyerschoiceawards

As a winner of the ExhibitorLive Buyers Choice Award for our Kaon AR™ (augmented reality) B2B sales and marketing solution, it was nice to see the growing number of companies recognizing that AR and VR are becoming really valuable in this space to further engage customers.

In response to the exhibit production company that stopped by our booth and said “This technology is REALLY cool! But we don’t want to promote new solutions to our customers, as it competes for our dollars,” I’d say this, ‘evolve or die’. Don’t hide new technologies and innovations away from your customers that will inevitably enhance their overall business. They want YOU to be thought leaders that help them achieve success and make them look like champions within their organizations.

Overall, ExhibitorLive was great! I saw a lot of cool things and now, here I am back at my office, back in the daily grind. So I challenge you to say to your exhibit production company, “now what?”. “How can we use new and innovative technologies to tell our story better? How can we amplify customer engagement in a way that accelerates sales in our booth? How can we extend these engaging customer experiences into the hands of our sales teams? Now what? What’s the next step?”

By Dana Drissel VP, Marketing.

Learn more about Kaon’s solutions at

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Kaon Interactive Incorporates Augmented Reality Into 3D Marketing Platform

Kaon Interactive, a business-to-business software company and provider of 3D interactive product marketing applications, has launched new augmented reality (AR) experiences within its High Velocity Marketing Platform, a feature that was recently used by an exhibitor at CES in Las Vegas.

As the first immersive sales and marketing platform available for B2B marketers, Kaon AR integrates interactive, fully scaled 3D product models into real-world business environments, allowing users to interact with virtual representations of physical products and solutions in a more visually engaging way.

Think Pokémon Go, but for B2B product sales and marketing efforts.

Using AR-enabled mobile devices such as Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, users can explore product functions and features, view integrated marketing messages, see the item from any angle, and demonstrate product workflow and process, helping prospective customers develop a deeper understanding of the product, its dimensions and how it fits in their actual workspace.

In addition, the platform allows users to capture photos and videos of 3D models and share them via email with other purchasing influencers.

Along with 3D AR experiences and virtual reality, Kaon’s High Velocity Marketing Platform also provides user analytics, 3D product catalogs, lab configurators, data-driven calculators, CRM integration, social sharing, interactive white boarding and customer text editing tools.

With B2B companies constantly looking for ways to increase sales productivity and marketing effectiveness, it was a natural evolution for Kaon Interactive to integrate AR experiences into its 3D marketing platform to help clients tell their complex stories in a more simplified way, according to Gavin Finn, Kaon president and CEO.

“The effectiveness of marketing and sales experiences are dramatically increased when customers can see your products appear in their actual physical space and can then contextualize the benefits of that solution because they have that clear mental image of how that product fits and works,” Finn said.

He added, “It truly creates an emotional connection with prospects that transcends traditional sales and marketing relationships.”

Within the trade show space, Kaon AR can be used as an engaging and immersive customer experience to help exhibitors educate prospects about their products and solutions while also making a lasting impression.

“At CES the wow factor of demonstrating our cloud systems using augmented reality was amazing,” said Rachel Zerilla, marketing analyst at Seagate Technology and a Kaon Interactive client.

She continued, “Investors, customers, partners and analysts could walk right into the system to explore unique features and visualize it in the physical space at scale. It fit in perfectly as to how we were deploying technology innovation at the event.”

While 3D AR experiences haven’t permeated the trade show world quite yet, Finn believes this kind of immersive technology could soon become more and more prevalent at events.

“Currently (exhibiting) companies are not using AR to communicate their unique business differentiation; they are using it as a video game facade to drive people into their booths,” Finn said.

He continued, “Creating authentic 3D AR experiences for a B2B event is a very specialized high-end user experience that takes time for content creators to develop (but) over the next few months we foresee instances of 3D AR experiences becoming more readably available on larger tablets, making the experience friendlier for the B2B world.”

Original article published on Trade Show Network News.


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