7 Most Common Applications of VR and AR

7 Most Common Applications of VR and AR
Photo by XR Expo / Unsplash

You may hear a lot about augmented and virtual reality being the revolution of modernity, the most impactful technological trend of 2024, etc. However, the peak of this technology is still ahead. We are witnessing another stage of its evolution, but the real revolution is yet to come. Therefore, now is a great time to delve into the topic and invest (both materially and intellectually) to prepare for the future. 

First, let's clarify the terms you will encounter in this topic:

Augmented Reality (AR) allows overlaying virtual elements onto the real world, opening up new horizons of interactivity.

Virtual Reality (VR) is an entirely artificial reality that transports us into a different, digital world.

So, AR enhances and complements the real environment, while VR replaces it.

Mixed Reality (MR) is a blend of interactions and experiences between the real and virtual worlds. It integrates computer-generated elements, such as images, videos, and 3D models, into the real environment, allowing users to interact with digital content more immersively.

Unlike VR, which transports users into a fully computer-generated artificial environment, MR enhances the real world by overlaying it with digital information.

MR devices are interactive, and virtual objects can interact with real objects, allowing users to perceive information simultaneously from both worlds. For example, Microsoft's HoloLens is a mixed-reality device that overlays holograms onto images of reality (the device scans the given environment and adapts the behavior of a specific program to it).

Extended Reality (XR) encompasses the full spectrum of capabilities offered by the aforementioned technologies. XR is a collective term for all these technologies that extend or alter the way we perceive reality: AR, VR, and MR. 

Metaverse – the term is highly trendy but not new. It was coined by the writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel "Snow Crash." Today, the metaverse is a virtual space where people and objects interact with each other using digital technologies. It's a sort of "world within a world," where users can move from one virtual environment to another using particular interfaces or technologies.

Immersive Tech – refers to worlds created using various VR, AR, and MR technologies. It's a virtual or augmented reality environment perceived by the user as the real one and reproducing various objects, scenarios, and interactivity. The main feature of an immersive world is that the user feels as if they are actually present in this virtual environment.

Immersiveness – is the degree to which a user feels immersed in a virtual or augmented reality environment, forgetting about the external world around them. Immersiveness is an essential characteristic of many virtual and augmented reality applications. 

Most Common Applications of VR and AR Today

1. Games and Entertainment

These spheres are currently the priority for these technologies regarding the number of users and the speed of financial gain. The success of Pokémon GO is a vivid example of this. According to statistical data published by Business of Apps, at its peak in 2016, the AR mobile game had over 230 million active users that year. Even after the hype subsided, the game's user base still ranged from 60 to 100 million active users annually, which is not insignificant. Secondly, profitability: Pokémon GO's annual revenue never dropped below $580 million. And this is just one example of a game using this technology in a very elementary way.

2. Training and Education

In addition to games and entertainment, VR and AR technologies are most commonly used in education. According to companies surveyed by PWC in 2022, VR learners absorb knowledge four times faster than students who use traditional methods and are 275% more confident in applying the skills learned during virtual training in the real world.

VR offers students the opportunity to learn through immersive experiences, unlike traditional methods involving reading and writing. VR can inspire, stimulate imagination, and encourage creative thinking. It provides realistic impressions of travels, promotes student interaction, and encourages sharing experiences. VR is inclusive, allowing students to explore the world in a safe and controlled environment.

Successful example: Unimersiv - a virtual reality educational platform where students can participate in immersive learning sessions on various topics, from physical education, history, space, and medicine to contemporary business studies.

3. Medicine and Healthcare 

Virtual reality can simulate surgery before it is performed in real life to help a surgeon or student consider different scenarios that may arise. Doctors or students can more easily assess the risks during the procedure using sensor data. There are applications for video streaming and patient navigation that also help doctors monitor both real and remote operations.

These technologies are also very useful in therapy, especially for treating mental health issues. Virtual reality simulators can successfully work with various phobias. First and foremost, this treatment is non-pharmacological. It has been proven to be effective, comfortable, and convenient, as patients can undergo treatment without leaving their homes. 

Successful example: XRHealth has developed a virtual clinic that treats mental health disorders (treatment of stress, psychosis, phobias, and depression) using VR therapy. The solution includes VR headsets, a mobile application, and a data analysis platform. Patients receive treatment under the guidance of a licensed therapist without leaving their homes.

4. Trade and Marketing

Today, many brands use augmented reality to allow people to virtually try on accessories and clothing or see how items like furniture and paint will look in their home environment. AR is one of the winning sales and marketing strategies where people can view a product with just a tap on their mobile phone screen. Brands can use augmented reality to allow consumers to try products before they buy them. Such an enhanced shopping experience is becoming increasingly popular – from trying on makeup to testing the new car’s features.

In addition to promoting existing products, you can also use VR to showcase developments. It will help engage clients in what you are creating and also provide you with a source of feedback.

Successful example: Ikea launched the IKEA Place app that allowed users to virtually place 3D models of over 2000 items from the company's catalog into any interior to experiment, see how it will fit, and make a choice. The app automatically scales products based on the room's dimensions with 98% accuracy. AR technology is so precise that you can see the texture of the fabric and how light and shadows are reflected on the furniture.

5. Architecture and Design

Architects and designers use MR to create interactive 3D models of buildings and products, allowing clients to visualize and explore their projects before construction and make changes during it.

The AR or VR technologies integration also means that projects can be completed faster and at lower costs. Moreover, there is no longer a need for expensive site visits or prolonged waiting for views from interested parties. Virtual models are environmentally friendly, thus an ideal option for designers who want to present and modify designs based on client feedback. Additionally, this is the most convenient way for the buyer to track the progress of their dream project.

VR can simulate construction processes, improving site planning and identifying potential safety hazards. A notable example is Skanska Construction; they implemented VR technology to review its construction plans for the central terminal B project at LaGuardia Airport. By modeling the construction process in virtual reality, they could identify and address potential issues before they arose on-site.

Furthermore, the prestigious firm Foster+Partners used virtual reality to create a detailed description of its project for the Bloomberg headquarters in London, helping clients and stakeholders experience the building before construction.

6. Tourism and Leisure

Before booking a room, people naturally want to see it. But customers are becoming increasingly demanding, and simple photos are no longer enough. Property owners can visualize it in a VR environment to meet their needs. When people virtually stroll near the pool or restaurant, they imagine themselves relaxing here, which increases sales conversion.

Presently, various applications are under development to enable customers to explore virtual versions of destinations they wish to visit in real-time. For instance, VResorts is a VR platform designed for hotel and resort owners, as well as travel agents, allowing them to showcase locations through virtual 360° tours. 

7. Manufacturing and Logistics 

VR and AR technologies help optimize processes and ensure safe work in warehouses. Mixed reality is widely used in processing industries or the TSL sector. For example warehouse workers with MR-glasses no longer need to carry instructions or handheld scanners; they simply need to scan a package with special glasses to obtain information about its origin, destination, and required label.

AR and VR can provide detailed visualization of manufacturing equipment, allowing engineers and technicians to understand better how the equipment works and how it can be improved or repaired. Workers receive virtual instructions projected onto their iPads or AR glasses as they continue their work. It helps organizations save weeks or even months of lengthy training, and eliminate the notorious human factor and avoid mistakes.

For example, Ford integrated VR into its design process, allowing engineers to create, analyze, and modify 3D models of vehicles. This technology speeds up design iterations, reduces the costs for creating physical prototypes, and facilitates collaboration between global teams. Audi uses VR to model assembly line processes, optimize workflows, and identify potential bottlenecks. Boeing uses VR to assess employee movements on assembly lines and identify ergonomic issues that could lead to injuries.

Hyperrealistic Virtual Reality Emergence 

Hyperrealism is another trend in virtual reality that has garnered widespread attention. In 2024, the boundary between virtual and reality blurs as technological progress allows VR to simulate physical sensations of the real world. Sensations like raindrops on the skin, the scent of a summer meadow, or the taste of a virtual banquet – sensory virtual reality elevates immersion to unprecedented levels. Thus, we are heading towards a future of virtual reality where it's difficult to discern what is real and what is not.

Integration of AI into Virtual Reality

Artificial intelligence is increasingly intertwining with VR, creating a more personalized and intuitively understandable user experience. VR technologies based on artificial intelligence analyze user behavior and preferences, subsequently adapting the virtual environment to individual needs. AI can also help create smarter and more realistic virtual agents in VR. These agents can interact with users, provide information, assist in tasks, and produce more immersive experiences.

The emergence of tools like Chat-GPT shows great potential for future use in augmented reality. Similarly, tools like Spline are already being used to create and manage 3D objects through natural language processing and generative artificial intelligence.

Expanded Social Interactions

The growth of social VR platforms is one of the most intriguing trends of the present day. People not only can interact with each other in real-time in virtual environments, but they can also host parties, attend concerts, and participate in joint events and projects. This will create various communities in the virtual world, blurring the boundaries between physical and virtual interaction further.

Evolution of the Metaverse 

The metaverse is a remarkable digital universe accessible through VR, which mirrors many actions from your everyday life and brings them into the virtual realm. Unlike traditional virtual reality applications that function as independent entities, the metaverse integrates all applications and services, providing seamless operation without interruption. This captivating phenomenon is poised to become one of the defining trends in virtual reality today.

We already have Meta (formerly Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg), which collaborates with many companies to create a unique global metaverse. Simultaneously, countless other companies (such as Microsoft, Disney, Tencent, and others) are delving into this concept, building their personalized metaverse – a comprehensive ecosystem of interconnected virtual reality applications designed for their unique corporate needs.

The metaverse could become the central hub for work, entertainment, and social interaction in the virtual sphere, significantly influencing how we live, learn, and communicate.


The augmented reality industry holds immense promise, with significant demand and investor interest, but it is currently only at the beginning of its journey.

The biggest obstacle at the moment is the high cost of XR devices, making them inaccessible to many. The Apple Vision Pro, for example, costs a staggering $3,499. While the PSVR2 is a more affordable option, still it is not cheap for many at $550.

This brings us to the second challenge facing the industry: AR/VR has not yet become an essential part of daily life or a pressing necessity. Currently, it is something people may wish to experience but not necessarily use on a daily basis.`

However, when people are presented with all the possibilities and conveniences of Extended Reality, they are likely to consider it due to its incredible fascination, engagement, convenience, usefulness, and sometimes even cost-effectiveness and safety. Therefore, this year will likely be another evolutionary step leading us further toward a true virtual revolution.


Did you know that Clutch named SmithySoft as one of Ukraine's Game-Changing VR Companies & AR Companies?

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