Blockchain technology, along with Augmented Reality (AR), has become a focal point of interest across various sectors including industry, academic research, and consumer markets. Blockchain is a distributed ledger system. It facilitates digital transactions through peer-to-peer communication across a decentralized network.
The addition of new transactions to the blockchain involves a consensus mechanism among network nodes, eliminating the need for traditional trusted intermediaries, like banks or notaries. Each node maintains a secure record of all transactions, making it challenging to alter or delete stored information. This characteristic of blockchain ensures the transparency and immutability of transaction histories.
Originally emerging around 2008-2009, primarily in association with cryptocurrencies and financial services, blockchain technology has since expanded its reach. Recent trends show a diversification of its applications beyond the realm of digital currencies. For instance, a significant portion of companies, not primarily focused on cryptocurrencies, are now exploring blockchain in various fields.
These include Artificial Intelligence, banking, analytics, app development, and Business-to-Business (B2B) services. Additionally, sectors like advertising, asset management, tourism, education, and gaming are also beginning to integrate blockchain solutions into their operations. This broadening of scope highlights the versatile potential of blockchain technology across diverse industries.
Blockchain and Augmented Reality
Blockchain technology is increasingly being integrated with Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) across various application domains, from video games to education. This integration has led to the emergence of several interesting use cases.
Virtual Experience Marketplaces
One significant application is in the realm of virtual experience marketplaces. Here, VR and AR technologies enable users to access a variety of virtual experiences, often through a paid model. For instance, users can attend live or on-demand events like concerts, sports matches, and conferences by using a Head Mounted Display. This approach offers a more immersive experience compared to traditional television viewing and is more cost-effective than attending these events in person. The affordability of VR/AR technologies makes high-profile events more accessible to a broader audience.
In these virtual experience marketplaces, blockchain serves a crucial role in the transaction process. It can be used for purchasing tickets or reserving seats for events. For example, certain companies offer immersive music and entertainment experiences where users can participate in past events on-demand. These platforms support various content formats, ranging from 180°/360° videos to full 3D experiences.
Another application is seen in platforms that allow users to create and experience high-fidelity VR environments. In such platforms, a dedicated cryptocurrency can be used for purchasing games, interactive experiences, and digital assets like 3D models, animations, and sounds. This integration of blockchain with VR and AR not only enhances the user experience but also adds a layer of security and transparency to the transactions involved in accessing these virtual experiences.
Monetization of AR Games
Integrating blockchain with AR gaming presents significant opportunities for monetization. Gamers are increasingly spending money not only on purchasing games but also on in-game assets. This trend is evident in popular games that have successfully implemented in-game purchasing systems.
For instance, in certain well-known VR-compatible games, a significant percentage of players spend considerable amounts on in-game purchases, contributing to substantial overall revenue. Similarly, mobile AR games have shown remarkable success, with millions of downloads and impressive revenue generation within a stint post-launch.
Recognizing this potential, companies are exploring the use of blockchain in gaming to facilitate the creation, sale, and purchase of digital assets using a unified currency. This approach is helpful in the global gaming market, as it simplifies transactions across different currencies and regions.
Several companies have already started building their business models around this concept. One such company has developed an AR blockchain-based gaming framework. This framework includes a first-person shooter VR game where players can earn cryptocurrency tokens through in-game activities like defeating other players. It also features an AR game that allows users to create and view holographic performances, offering a wide range of entertainment options from singing to acting.
Another game in development uses blockchain to enable users to purchase, customize, and race virtual sports cars. In this game, cars are treated as unique, indivisible digital assets, adding value beyond just gameplay. They become collectible items, enhancing the gaming experience. The game also leverages VR to provide an immersive environment where players can compete and explore their cars in a virtual space.
These examples illustrate how blockchain technology is revolutionizing the AR gaming industry by adding a layer of economic interaction and enhancing the overall gaming experience.
E-commerce and Blockchain in AR
E-commerce has become a prevalent choice for purchasing a wide range of products, despite consumer concerns about aspects like fit or size. The global e-commerce sales have been growing significantly, with projections indicating continued expansion. While images and videos in product descriptions have traditionally captured buyer attention, the impact of VR and AR in e-commerce is potentially more profound.
These technologies offer customers a clearer understanding of products, simulating the experience of a physical store visit. VR and AR have been shown to create a more immersive, novel, and enjoyable shopping experience, which can positively influence purchase intentions. Consequently, an increasing number of product makers and retailers are turning to VR and AR to enhance their business models.
Blockchain technology is being utilized in this sector to facilitate the selling and purchasing of various products, ranging from cars to clothing and accessories. One innovative application involves combining AR with cryptocurrency for product visualization and sales management. Studies have shown that such integrated solutions, compared to traditional 2D interfaces, offer a higher level of interaction and richer information, thereby increasing user trust and satisfaction. This encourages more frequent use of e-wallets and e-commerce services.
Another notable example is a platform that enables users to create 3D/360° images of products. These images can be integrated into websites, mobile apps, and AR applications of online retailers, providing customers with an interactive, in-store-enjoy browsing experience. The platform includes a 3D scanner app for creating detailed product images, which can be traded using blockchain-based tokens. Additionally, blockchain is employed to store product information and authorship, safeguarding against copyright infringements and unauthorized distribution. This integration of blockchain with AR technologies in e-commerce not only enhances the shopping experience but also adds a layer of security and authenticity to online transactions.
Advertising in AR with Blockchain
Advertising has become a ubiquitous element in many applications and games, particularly on mobile devices. This trend is driven by the increasing reliance of companies on advertising as a primary revenue source. Users, especially gamers, have come to accept the presence of ads as a norm in their digital experiences.
The rise of virtual environments offers a new frontier for advertising, particularly in the realms of VR and AR. These platforms provide unique opportunities for innovative advertising strategies, including the monitoring of user behavior in virtual spaces. This is particularly relevant in understanding the effectiveness and return on investment for advertising efforts.
One of the novel approaches in VR/AR advertising involves the use of blockchain technology to track user engagement. For example, certain platforms can monitor a user’s eye movements as they navigate through a virtual environment filled with advertisements. The data collected can determine the level of engagement a user has with each ad. In some models, users can receive compensation in cryptocurrency based on their interaction with these ads. This creates a usage-based advertising model where users are rewarded for their engagement with content.
An example of such a platform operates on this principle, where the time a user spends engaged with content directly influences the compensation they receive. This approach not only incentivizes user engagement but also provides advertisers with valuable data on the effectiveness of their ads in virtual environments. Integrating blockchain in this context ensures transparency and accuracy in tracking user interactions, making it a promising avenue for the future of advertising in AR spaces.
Tourism Enhanced by AR and Blockchain
Tourism, one of the fastest-growing industries in recent years, has significantly benefited from technological advancements. VR and AR technologies have had a profound impact on this sector. They offer innovative ways to promote travel destinations through immersive 360° videos and VR experiences. Additionally, AR enhances in-travel experiences, such as museum visits and city tours, by providing additional information about points of interest and breaking language barriers with instant translation systems.
Blockchain technology brings multiple advantages to the tourism industry. It can be used for secure and traceable payments, developing automatic identification services to reduce check-in times at hotels and airports, designing customer loyalty schemes with token rewards, and implementing efficient baggage tracking systems that share information among various parties involved in airport handling.
An example of the synergy between these technologies is seen in startups focused on making global tourism more seamless and cost-effective. One such startup offers an app that enables customers to navigate, search for nearby stores, book accommodations, and transport, and find discount offers. The app uses AR to allow travelers to start their journey or revisit past travel experiences from their homes. Blockchain technology in this context facilitates pre-purchases for trips, with automatic adjustments for itinerary changes.
Beyond commercial solutions, the academic world also contributes ideas to this integration. Researchers have proposed using Blockchain and VR to create virtual wildlife tourism experiences. These experiences can leverage non-fungible tokens as collectible items, adding a new revenue stream for parks. These collectibles could be visualized as real-life objects or virtual pets, enhancing the tourism experience while also providing a unique way to support conservation and park management efforts. This innovative approach showcases the potential of combining AR and blockchain to transform the tourism industry, offering new, immersive ways to explore and experience travel.
Integrating blockchain with AR technologies is not just a futuristic concept but a present reality transforming multiple sectors. From creating immersive gaming experiences and innovative e-commerce platforms to reshaping advertising and revolutionizing tourism, these technologies are setting new standards for digital interaction. As we continue to explore these synergies, the potential for further innovation and growth in these areas remains vast, promising an exciting future for both technology enthusiasts and the general public.