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Augmented reality in applications

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Are you interested in implementing augmented reality in your app and weighing the pros and cons? Today, we will look at how beneficial it could be to add this technology to your existing or future apps and if it’s worth it.

Augmented reality (AR) blurs the line between virtual and real environments—it is a technology designed to enrich the user’s perception of the real world with virtual and digital information.

Current and future prospects of AR

To comprehend how relevant this technology is in our lives, let’s take a short look at how it fared in the past. While the term was suggested decades ago, the public interest for the technology began quickly rising relatively recently in 2009. Let’s consider two graphs:

 

Augmented reality trends

Data from Business Insider and Google Trends

According to the graphs, the increasing presence of smartphones highly correlates with the rise of interest in augmented reality. It’s no secret smartphones are not going anywhere and are going to further dominate the market, thus promising a bright future for AR.

When thinking of augmented reality, people often confuse it with virtual reality (VR). These technologies, while similar in a way, are fundamentally different.

Virtual reality is supposed to fully immerse the user into a different dimension, whereas augmented reality is designed to enhance the existing environment with virtual objects.

Due to these differences, it is evident augmented reality is for a much broader audience—literally anyone with a device could eventually use it in their daily life, while virtual reality is mostly for advanced gaming. As such, the former can be considered ‘the next big thing.’

 

How difficult is it to come up with Augmented Reality design?

Although the concept is quite straightforward, it is not as trivial as it might seem at first glance to come up with a great idea. There a number of factors to take into account:

  • The technology is not homogeneous. That is, an app integrating augmented reality could be very simple or highly sophisticated depending on a large sum of factors: UI, GPS integration, Google Maps usage, databases, supported operating systems, etc.
  • There’s no central development environment (SDK) for developers to use. Today you will find dozens of augmented reality SDKs available with a great number of various functions. They differ by operating system support, distribution type (free, commercial, open-source) and complexity.
Augmented reality complexity

Simple object based vs complex dynamic rendering application

These factors should be considered in good time before starting working on a project. Here’s a table of available SDKs to date.

Price ranges for AR-based applications

Because of a significant number of variables taken into account for planning such an app, the pricing for them varies greatly so coming up with estimates is not the simplest task.

As a rule of thumb, more static applications are far cheaper than dynamic ones. An application that renders a 2D marketed object would generally be less expensive compared to one that locates the object to be rendered on the fly and uses it in further operations.

Is there a necessity for augmented reality yet?

This technology is not in the ‘must-have’ list yet as it has only recently entered general markets, yet it can boost sales due to its novelty for people.

Another idea to consider is if you already have an established app, you are not forced to build a brand new one just for AR. One solution is to integrate this technology as one of the app’s features.

There is no doubt that the technology has only started getting attention and has a large potential to be used. Having it used in one of your products is an excellent way to drive sales and add an innovative flavor to your products. We have already begun our own research and experimentation with AR. Early results of this research can be viewed here:

 
       
 

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