2019 is a great time to be a mobile app developer. With all the new smartphones, tablets, and other devices on offer from Apple, Google, and other tech companies, apps – and especially augmented reality apps – are more important than ever.
That’s why, if you haven’t already, as an app developer, you should learn the latest tools from Apple and Google and begin to add augmented reality into every app you build. While it may seem these types of apps are only being utilized by the gaming and retail industries, trends indicate that demand for AR apps for handheld devices and headsets, especially for practical business and industry usage, will only increase.
While Snapchat, Ikea and the game Pokémon Go increased user knowledge about augmented reality, other industries have indicated their interest in AR as well, such as the education and medical fields, just to name a couple.
Not only that, but AR is a big business and financially viable. Sales of mobile augmented reality apps are projected to escalate 80% from where they are today to 165 billion by 2024. These numbers don’t even take into account the revenue that can be gained from wearables, specifically headsets because, as of now, they are very expensive and the technology behind them is still evolving.
Apple and Google, however, are the undisputed leaders in mobile augmented reality apps because of their handheld hardware. Smartphones and tablets with built-in features like microelectromechanical sensors, cameras, GPS, and solid-state compasses offer developers focused on AR app development a plethora of possibility. This hardware is in addition to the software both companies give developers to help them quickly build-out augmented reality apps, such as ARKit 2 for iOS and ARCore for Android.
Very simply, the answer to that question is yes. augmented reality apps increase customer engagement and give any company a unique way to connect to their customers. Plus, businesses that can supply a virtual experience give themselves a leg-up over their competitors who have yet to delve into mobile apps or haven’t made the move to a virtual-app- based marketing approach. And the benefits are numerous, here are just a few of them.
Branding – Much better than advertising or a basic app, an augmented reality experience makes a brand more memorable.
User Experience – If an AR app can give the experience to find parts, sift through an animated catalogue, etc., sales may be increased versus the basic internet search for an item.
In-store experience – Customers can try on clothes, eyeglass frames, etc. as if they were actually in the store and find the exact item they want before making a purchase online or going to an actual store.
Online Shopping – Customers can watch a demo or unboxing videos, which will enhance a more solid decision to buy versus a “wait and see if I need it later” approach.
While businesses understand the significance of using AR apps, it doesn’t matter much if the apps don’t lure in customers to buy the products. augmented reality apps need to offer a clear benefit to customers. Most people’s attention spans are very short, so if an app doesn’t offer something engaging, those potential customers may delete the app and, perhaps, not give a company another thought.
The truth is, it is hard to say what customers really want out of the shopping experience. But anybody invested in a consumer experience desires the most detailed information available about a product, to see the benefits of using it, and even sample the product, if possible, even if it is only virtually. Augmented reality can supply those experiences and more without the annoying factor of a salesperson hanging over the customer. It also can offer these other benefits:
3D presentation and experience of the product through AR or even with AR glasses.
Price and product comparison within the app.
Augmented reality interactive features like Easter eggs that customers can discover while interacting with a product.
Personalized shopping experience and the virtual sensation of touch, taste, smell, etc of a product.
In addition to the free AR development kits offered by Apple and Google, there are other kits on offer by Vuforia, Kudan, EasyAR, Wikitude, just to name a few, that give developers the ability to build-in different functions based on the type of app they are creating.
Unlike the free SDKs from Apple and Google, these other kits may or may not be free and are governed by potential licensing restrictions. That said, here are some of the considerations for a developer who wants to start doing augmented reality app development.
Platform compatibility – most platforms support iOS and Android, but from a development standpoint, it’s probably a wise choice to choose an SDK that supports cross-platform compatibility.
Smart Glasses support – For heads-up, hands-free displays that a user would wear.
Unity compatibility – It is the most widely used augmented reality engine for games for computers and consoles.
Cloud Recognition – Very important, used for assisting an AR app to identify markers in the cloud.
On-device Recognition – Allows usage of an augmented reality app in an offline mode.
3D Tracking – Allows an augmented reality app to identify real-world objects.
Geolocation – Important, specifically for navigational apps.
Simultaneous Localization/ Mapping (SLAM) – Gives AR apps the ability to understand object placement in various environments.
So far, the capabilities of augmented reality apps have not been fully realized in a business context, only for entertainment purposes as far as gaming and some retail experiences. But there are plenty of industries that see the more practical applications of augmented reality, and they are using AR apps either with a handheld device or as a wearable, specifically smart glasses or headsets. Here are some of the areas where AR apps are being used the most.
Military applications – Used by fighter pilots as a heads-up display so they don’t have to constantly look at their control panel and by ground troops to get information on enemy movement.
Medical – Great for students to practice surgery or for doctors doing more precise kinds of surgery, such as neurosurgery.
Navigation – Both indoor and outdoor with enhanced GPS or information about certain sites or places.
Maintenance/ Repair – Can help with tool choice or seeing diagrams for precise repairs.
Fitness – Help users understand weight loss via facial recognition.
Travel – Gives travellers the ability to get additional information about places.
Telecommunication, Manufacturing, Energy
Well Augmented Reality is the technology for you. It brings an alluring business opportunity for those who want to create a greater customer experience. If you looking to attract customers more effectively with AR.Get in touch with us now
It’s easy to talk about what companies and industries would like or will use AR technology, but it’s better to highlight those that are using it and are seeing the benefits. Tech companies like Microsoft, for instance, developed its Halolens headset. But a few other companies have developed headsets as well.
Here’s a table that shows all the current headset manufacturers and a price list. When the table refers to “tethered,” that means the device has to be plugged into either a computer or another device in order to be used. However, there are companies who already have or are working on wireless headsets like Apple, and Microsoft will have a new wireless version of its headset called Halolens 2 that’s due for release in September of this year. But the wireless AR headsets tend to be much more expensive.
Most companies who have an AR app are using one developed for smartphones and tablets because they want to reach the user-base that already have these types of devices. Apple, for instance, states there are at least 200 million iPhones (iPhone 6 and up with iOS 11 installed) that can take advantage of augmented reality apps. On the Android side, Google believes there are at least 100 million devices that can handle AR apps. Other than businesses like Ikea, Snapchat, and Facebook that have received press for their use of augmented reality, there are more businesses making the shift to an AR app. Here’s a small list of some of them.
Augmented Reality is future: this brand discovered it too early
Augmented reality also has allowed app development companies to become more specialized as businesses begin to see the benefits of drawing in customers through augmented reality. These companies are, most likely, still building static apps as well, but they are also delving into virtual reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), and extended reality (XR). There are 100s of them, some of which are focusing specifically on AR.
Between the demand for augmented reality apps for smart devices and headsets, there’s no question that a developer should include AR into his app builds. Eventually, static apps used for textual or photographed information will be replaced as businesses realize how crucial it is to keep their customers engaged and interested in their products.
Eventually, augmented reality apps may even begin to impinge on the validity and reasons for brick and mortar establishments. That is the future of the app development world. So, those businesses that don’t have an AR app in the next two to three years will most likely suffer losses in revenue.
With a background in journalism, Michael’s passion lies in educating audiences in the realm of tech. He is especially intrigued by the world of app development and all associated facets including Android, iOS, blockchain, and dApp technology. Michael has spent the last few years working with app agencies to elevate their content strategy and expand his knowledge even further as app development technologies advance.