Remember when the world went a bit crazy chasing cute creatures around buildings, streets, parks, pavements, shopping centres etc? Pokémon Go was one of the first examples of augmented reality app development and one of the reasons AR became a household name. These days, however, the technology is no longer used purely for entertainment. Today, AR is being implemented in industries like healthcare, agriculture and e-commerce and it's a trend that's seriously on the rise. If you're new to the concept of AR and what it means for app development, the quick guide below might help. Here's everything you need to know about augmented reality app development...
What is augmented reality app development?
What is AR?
At its most basic, AR allows you to layer computer-simulated data or images onto the physical world. It combines what we know as virtual reality with real-life images or objects. Already, AR is generating loads of interest and impacting mobile app development projects in industries from fashion and retail to finance. According to Statista, experts have predicted that the global AR and VR market could reach 72.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2024. And, as big corporations like Google, Apple and Facebook climb on board, smaller businesses are likely to do the same. Not only does AR have the appeal of exciting, attention-grabbing technology, but it's been seen to increase engagement and boost sales. No wonder investment into AR is climbing.
Types of AR in mobile app development
At the moment, there are two main types of augmented reality mobile applications - location based and marker based. They rely on different basic data and capabilities and, depending on your market and the app's requirements, you can decide which type you want to build.
This type of augmented reality app uses GPS or other position detectors like digital compasses to determine the exact location of a mobile device. Then, once the location has been confirmed and mapped, the app can layer on useful information or objects to enhance a user's experience. Pokémon Go is an example of a location-based AR app, but it's also used in industries like tourism to provide users with more information about their surroundings.
In the future, we'll likely see location-based apps used to enhance things like advertising and education, as well as in healthcare to assist with surgical visualisation or drug testing. The possibilities are endless.
The second type of augmented reality app operates by allowing the software to pinpoint certain patterns using the device's camera (eg a QR code or brand symbol). Then, the app can layer digital information onto that real-world physical environment. Marker-based AR apps have been used in businesses like optometrists to allow clients to 'try on' spectacles remotely to see if they'll be a good fit. And furniture company IKEA has had great success using AR to let potential buyers test out items in their own living rooms. Their latest app, PLACE is a great example of a marker-based AR app. Check it out below...
So, it seems augmented reality app development is going to be a major trend in 2021 - and beyond. Experts say the potential of AR is vast, with opportunities for AR apps to become game-changers in industries like travel, manufacturing and more. Perhaps one day we'll look back and wonder how we ever managed with 2D applications and their confines. One question, though, will you be one of the ones to embrace augmented reality app development?