The recent technology trends vary widely. Some people are still wondering how to build an app like Clubhouse and some are moving on to more future-proof trends like AR. Augmented reality may not be as widely spread as virtual reality, but it’s certainly a rising trend in the realm of technology. In recent years, industries in several sectors have adopted augmented reality as the means to achieve their goals. We're sure you've already seen or used an app that enhances the real world with interactive, digital elements. That's bound to continue with increasing speed because augmented reality applications enhance the potential for audience engagement.
In this article, we are going to talk about the most crucial aspects of AR development like its benefits for your business, the potential drawback that you may face, the tech stack, and costs.
AR app development, as one would naturally expect, is a matter of detail. To do it correctly—to use the technology to reach the user in a way nothing else can—is to cover all the specifics and contingencies. First, though, let’s talk about the term "AR" and what it really means. Augmented reality is the technology used to superimpose virtual objects over the real world in real-time. In other words, augmented reality combines the physical and virtual realms in a way that's transparent to the user. Seeing is believing, as the saying goes, and nowhere is it truer than in the world of AR.
Augmented reality requires the use of technical systems, including a camera and dedicated software that analyzes the given space and places digital objects within it. So, generally, the process is as follows:
The camera captures an image of the space in its field of view.
Depending on the type of AR app, it figures out how to place the object in that field of view.
The object is positioned by the app, and the user sees the result.
These processes take place concurrently, making possible a level of interaction that's stunningly realistic.
You may have a fundamental question: How does AR differ from VR? The answer is simple: Augmented reality places digital objects within the image of an actual environment. Virtual reality (VR), however, creates a digital environment and brings you there by means of a device such as VR glasses.
The following statistics from trusted sources demonstrate the growing popularity and influence of augmented reality:
In 2021, the number of mobile AR users reached 810 million. However, the market will more than double to 1.73 billion people by 2024.
Industry earnings totaled $9.53 billion in 2021, and the forecast is extremely positive: By 2025, earnings will reach $26.06 billion.
By 2024, the AR industry will soon have a market value of $50 billion.
Thirty-two percent of consumers use AR apps and half of them use AR at least weekly.
The industry sold 410,000 pairs of AR glasses in 2021.
The most popular ways to adopt AR technology in healthcare are training simulations and surgery assistance.
This year, the most successful industries for implementing AR will be video games, healthcare, engineering, and live events.
Those remarkable statistics indicated that augmented reality has become widespread in certain business areas. Let's look at the most successful AR market players and see what they offer.
Most industries continue to explore the potential of AR technology, but some applications have earned the trust of users around the world:
Obviously, this app is dedicated to home decor and interior design. IKEA Place lets the user choose a piece of furniture or a decor element (the app has more than 2,000 items) and virtually place it in the prospective room. The user can also move the object around and change its size to maintain its scale within the space.
This app adds a wild range of colors to the real world. It adds entertaining, eye-catching GIFs to the screen and turns any room into a festival of fun. There's a collection of prepared sets for various holidays from birthdays to Christmas, but users can also add images from the company's official website.
We know Snapchat as a fun social media with a focus on visual content and amusing, dynamic lenses. However, Snapchat also has an AR studio called Snap AR, which lets users create AR lenses and use them in the app. To date, 2.5 million lenses have been created by Snapchat users, and the number continues to rise.
Augmented reality isn't for entertainment alone, because it's also useful in e-commerce. Augment makes that point beautifully. It's a service that lets owners of online shops visualize their products and display them to customers. It’s also helpful in regard to sales in a given field or territory, where temporary offline vending will take place.
Another way to use AR is to experiment with a new look without having to buy cosmetics first. YouCam Makeup lets the user test the makeup options before buying one or more products. It makes for a more informed purchase because the range of brands and products is vast.
An AR app development begins with a question: How do you want your app to function? You and your team can choose one of the following approaches to AR functionality:
Marker-based: You create a real-world object such as a QR-code, an image, or a card, and then you place special trigger markers in it. When the camera scans those markers, the app displays the desired scene.
Location-based: An application collects and analyzes data about the user’s location (i.e., the immediate environment) and then places the virtual object within it. If you remember the Pokemon GO game, you understand how this type of AR app works.
Projection-based: This software projects light on a real object to make it look a certain way. The projection can be interactive too, meaning it will respond to touch or to the movement of the real object.
Outlining: These apps are used in cars to help drivers park more easily and safely. They can also be used in construction to facilitate calculations for effective planning.
Let's talk about how those types of AR apps can help your business.
The majority of AR solutions are associated with gaming and entertainment. It’s obvious: Games place few limits on the imagination, so the potential for options is immense. We’ve already mentioned Pokemon GO, of course. It was a sensational hit just a few years ago. However, other industries have understood the potential of this technology and are using it to enhance user engagement:
The use of AR software in healthcare isn't new, but there are still myriad options for its use in research. Today, many AR apps are used to train specialists and plan surgeries. Visualization makes such processes easier, safer, quicker, and more accurate.
VR can do a great deal for learning, which is inherently interactive. With augmented reality, the process of acquiring information and skills becomes more memorable and engaging. Students can see 3-D models of objects and interact with them instead of simply looking at two-dimensional pictures in books. This makes AR particularly useful in the fields of biology, physics, chemistry, and the arts.
Although e-commerce has changed the way people purchase goods and services, there are still some types of products that consumers want to see and touch before they decide whether to buy. AR is ideally suited to that purpose. For example, the user can try on clothing and makeup in real-time without having to visit a brick-and-mortar store.
Many brands use augmented reality for the purpose of promotion. Sure, it doesn’t look like "Blade Runner 2049," but some cases are worth mentioning. For example, Lacoste boosted sales with an AR app that used virtual try-ons, and Patron Tequila made a promotional app with which the user could have his or her own field of agave plants.
Architecture and real estate offer considerable promise in regard to augmented reality. With the help of three-dimensional modeling, it’s easy to understand whether a structural design will fit a given location.
Generally, regardless of your business area, the creation of an AR application will contribute to your communication with clients. It will also provide access to new opportunities.
There are plenty of software development kits (SDKs) that will help you and your team build an augmented reality app. Sure, the tech stack you ultimately choose will be contingent upon the app’s specifications, complexity, and purpose, but some tools have already demonstrated their value in the creation of AR solutions.
This is one of the most popular SDKs for mobile AR development because it tracks marks in real-time and places objects in an image of the actual environment. Additionally, the SDK supports text recognition with an extensive vocabulary.
Google’s AR framework gives you the power to create engaging, attractive compositions. ARCore can track motion, analyze the lighting in the room and define the angles. These features contribute a lot to the realism of virtual objects.
This framework has a feature called Visual Inertial Odometry, which precisely tracks the real-world environment so as to position objects with extreme accuracy. It's also very good in regard to face tracking.
This SDK was originally built for use in the creation of location-based AR apps. However, Wikitude gradually acquired image recognition, tracking, and the Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) feature, which makes it one of the best SDKs for AR apps.
The Kudan SDK can help you create marker-based and markerless apps. With the latter approach, it uses elements (such as corners and edges) within the environment as points and boundaries.
Here’s a comparison table of the tools we've mentioned:
|Vuforia||SDK||Android, iOS, UWP, smart glasses||No||Yes||Yes||> $99/mo.|
|Google ARCore||Framework||Android, iOS, smart glasses||Yes||Yes||Yes||Free|
|Apple ARKit||Framework||iOS, smart glasses||Yes||Yes||Yes||Free / > $50/mo.|
|Wikitude||SDK||Android, iOS, UWP, smart glasses||Yes||Yes||Yes||> 2,490 €/yr.|
|Kudan||SDK||Android, iOS||Yes||Yes||Yes||Free / >$1,500/yr.|
It's important to define the process of creating an AR app because it will give you a clear vision of your goals. The following steps should be completed if you want to make a successful app:
Decide on your niche and target audience: It will help you understand what features to implement and how to approach the market. Additionally, research your competitors to know what the market already offers.
Choose the SDK: We’ve already discussed the most popular kinds in the previous section. Get a trusted expert to help.
Design and develop: Basically, this is where you'll create the product. We recommend starting with an MVP in order to see if your solution is what the audience will want.
Test: You certainly don’t want to launch an app that freezes and has bugs. Confirm the performance of your product before showing it to potential users.
Launch and support: Once your app is available, monitor audience feedback and quickly respond to any issues that arise.
It’s hard to say the exact budget for AR application development since it depends on many factors that you must take into account:
The type of app
The development agency’s hourly rate
The complexity of the app
The features you want
If we estimate the time needed for basic AR application development, it will look like this:
|Basic features (moving, rotating, scaling)||150-250|
Because the average hourly rate in Eastern Europe is $40/hour, the first version of the app with basic functionality or AR app MVP will cost approximately $30,000 to $40,000. However, a more sophisticated application with greater functionality will cost $100,000 or more. Please note: This sum doesn’t include post-launch support.
We have already covered almost all aspects of AR development. However, there is one more important aspect to mention: What risks you may potentially face while working with this technology.
Hardware capabilities: Despite smartphones becoming more and more powerful, AR may not work on certain devices or work with lower performance metrics.
Legal issues: There aren’t enough regulations of content produced by AR so there could be conflicts.
Costs: The more platforms you want your app to support and more actions to do, the more you’d pay for development and maintenance.
Augmented reality encompasses a wide range of usage cases, but many more will emerge in the coming months. So, by experimenting in an effort to offer something better you'll attract potential customers who want a unique experience. This is your opportunity to become a market leader and get the benefits of adopting mobile AR for your business.
🕶️ What is augmented reality?
🕶️ What's the difference between AR and VR?
🕶️ How can AR benefit my business?
🕶️ What's the cost of AR app development?
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