What is Augmented Reality?
AR is the overlaying of virtual content over the real world. This is usually done in a way that makes it appear as though it is part of the real world.
Typically, the content is attached to a specific image such as a printed advert or billboard. The software recognises the image and adds the virtual content. The content is tied to the position of the image so that it appears to share the same 3D space.
An alternative method is GPS-based AR where a virtual element is tied instead to a physical location based on GPS coordinates.
This content can be delivered via your smartphone or tablet. These devices use the camera input to bring the real world view onto your screen before adding content with code. Increasingly, Augmented Reality is being developed with wearable AR glasses in mind, with several models now being shipped to developers.Try our AR project specification wizard
What is it for?
Augmented Reality has many uses, such as product visualisation, entertainment, education, games, viral marketing and many more. Increasingly it is seen as another channel for brands to interact with their customers. Just as the web, mobile and social media have become integral to a marketing plan AR is becoming more widely used and more readily understood by both brands and consumers.
Some examples of the uses of AR include:
- Allowing shoppers to preview furniture or fittings in a room before purchasing.
- Enhancing collectables such as cards or toys with animation, video or even gameplay.
- Interactive product visualisation, allowing users to interact with products such as cars or cameras to explore features in detail.
- Bringing education to life. Taking printed material and adding enhanced content such as 3d and video.
- Teaching tools. In industrial, medical and many other fields AR can be used to guide users through specific steps of a task via context sensitive information overlays.
- Quickly and ergonomically providing in-depth data. For example scanning a product in a supermarket could trigger a popup of nutritional and allergy data within the live view and even suggest recipes.
There are more applications of Augmented Reality being unveiled all the time and the speed of innovation is astounding.
How is it delivered?
Typically you have 4 options when delivering your Augmented Reality experience.
We use an AR platform to create and deploy bespoke content for you, or you can manage your content yourself using an easy to use content management system. A channel will be created for you displaying your logo, web address link and social media buttons. You can even deploy both types of content to the same channel. Get in touch to find out more about deploying to the AR platform.
With this route, we create and publish a custom application with your branding in order to deliver your content. The user experience and branding are customised to your specification. The user downloads your app from the appropriate app store and can then view your content build into the app itself. The app may become quite large depending on how much content you have. Updating the application with new content requires a new submission to each appstore which can take time.
Bespoke Cloud Application
A cloud application combines the best of both approaches, we create and publish a custom application with your branding but some or all of the content is delivered over the internet. This allows you to quickly update your content, add new trigger images and add more experiences. If you’re serious about building a killer application for your business this is the route for you.
If your app is not intended for general release to the public, for example if it will be used in a museum or for sales demos, you will need an enterprise app. Rather than submit to the app stores you will distribute the app internally without requiring Apple or Google Play store submission. When using AR in a more managed environment such as a gallery or museum, this opens up the possibility of more ambitious integration. This could include allowing physical installations within the environment to be influenced via the AR application.