Are you curious about what augmented reality is and why there is a growing interest in augmented reality app development? Do not worry; this comprehensive guide will discuss the essence of augmented reality, different types of apps, and how to build one.
Let’s discover Augmented Reality!
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality app development works as a bridge between the real world and virtual data; below are the fundamental characteristics:
- The technology blends real-world elements with virtual data.
- If there are any real environment changes, instant virtual realm adjustments are prompted, providing an interactive and responsive user experience.
- Augmented reality apps can perceive and engage with three-dimensional space(3D), elevating the depth and realism of user interaction.
Accessible to end-users through commonplace technologies, augmented reality leverages smartphones equipped with cameras. Widely recognized applications like Pokémon Go, IKEA Place, and Sephora exemplify AR technology's widespread integration and appeal in everyday contexts.
It is important to differentiate augmented reality from virtual reality. Augmented reality projects 2D or 3D objects onto real-world settings, while virtual reality immerses users in entirely virtual environments using VR headsets or glasses.
Those interested in augmented reality app development focus on crafting applications that seamlessly embed virtual elements into the real world, delivering a sophisticated and interactive user experience.
Different Types of Augmented Reality Solutions
1. Marker-based Augmented Reality
This type of Augmented reality app is based on the image detection sensor; once the image is detected, it overlays information over the marker. Examples will be QR codes.
2. Location-based Augmented Reality
Location-based augmented reality solutions, commonly called markerless AR, represent the prevailing implementation of augmented reality. In contrast to marker-dependent approaches, these applications rely on GPS, accelerometers, compasses, and other location sensors to generate AR objects based on the user's current geographical position. Pokemon Go is a perfect example of this category.
3. Projection Augmented Reality
This category of applications depends on visual odometry, employing complex algorithms and gathering data from diverse sensors to identify the precise location of objects and execute corresponding actions.
Projection AR finds practical application in car parking systems, revealing concealed objects through built-in cameras. Additionally, architects and engineers leverage this technology to enhance their understanding of the environment for strategic construction placement.
4. Superimposition-based Augmented Reality
applications that rely on superimposition are used in the healthcare and medicine industry.
As the name defines itself, this technology identifies or gives an actual image of the environment while diagnosing.
Top Tools for Developing Augmented Reality Apps: SDKs & Tech
Augmented Reality (AR) software development kits (SDKs) serve as specialized tools designed to streamline the creation of AR applications, sparing developers from the intricate task of assembling components from various external sources.
Let's explore the array of tools available for augmented reality development, keeping in mind essential factors for aligning with your business goals:
- Assess whether the SDK inherently supports augmented reality features.
- Determine the targeted operating platform, such as iOS or Android, for which the SDK is optimized.
- Evaluate the compatibility of the SDK with your preferred programming language to ensure seamless integration into your development workflow.
- Verify the presence of official support from the SDK developers, ensuring reliability and the promise of future updates.
- Scrutinize the licensing model and associated costs to manage expenses preemptively and potential constraints during AR app development.
By examining these details, you can select an SDK that meets your technical requisites and presents a cost-effective solution, facilitating the uninterrupted progress of your augmented reality application development.
Vuforia is a popular choice among augmented reality development SDKs, empowering companies to deliver engaging AR experiences to their customer base. Its compatibility with Unity via an accessible API facilitates the creation of native applications for both iOS and Android platforms. Recognized for its comprehensive feature set, Vuforia is valued for its ability to craft robust AR applications.
Key features of Vuforia include:
- Identifying and tracking target images in real-time, English texts, and 3D objects.
- Placing virtual objects, such as 3D models, seamlessly into real environments.
- Versatile 3D configurations to enhance the visual aspect of experiences.
- Integration of Vuforia Engine Area Targets with the Area Target Generator.
- Support for Scanned Model Targets.
- Advanced Model Targets, allowing for the detection of multiple models.
- Continuation of operations even when applications are not running.
- Simulation mode for thorough testing and refinement of applications.
- Vuforia Engine Tracking Scale for enhanced precision in tracking.
Wikitude proves to be a valuable tool for the creation of mobile applications and AR prototypes. The latest version of the Wikitude SDK empowers developers to incorporate geolocation capabilities, image tracking, and object recognition into their projects. Key features of the SDK include:
- 3D recognition and tracking functionalities.
- Image recognition and tracking capabilities.
- Cloud recognition for expanded data retrieval.
- Location-based AR, enhancing contextual experiences.
- Video overlay features for enriched visual content.
- Integration with smart glasses, ensuring compatibility with wearable devices.
- Collaboration with external plugins, facilitating enhanced customization and extended capabilities.
Kudan stands out as a versatile AR toolkit, offering a range of essential features:
- Meeting location and tracking needs with or without markers.
- Recognizing both 2D and 3D images for comprehensive visual understanding.
- Visual-SLAM for improved spatial awareness.
- Employing a Fusion Sensor to detect white light sources.
- Allowing flexible integration to accommodate diverse application requirements.
- Providing universal settings for broad compatibility.
- Integration with Unity through its dedicated SDK.
EasyAR provides an extensive array of features for developing various types of augmented reality applications:
- Support for SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping).
- 3D tracking capabilities.
- Screen recording functionality.
- Cloud recognition for seamless integration with cloud-based services.
- Unlimited recognition queries, ensuring scalability and flexibility in app development.
Apple's iOS augmented reality SDK is designed to assist iOS developers in integrating AR capabilities into their applications. The toolkit comes equipped with various beneficial features, including:
- Precise device motion tracking for improved spatial awareness.
- Camera scene capture to enhance the overall visual experience.
- Advanced scene processing capabilities for nuanced AR interactions.
- Visual inertial odometry ensures accurate tracking of device movement.
- Plane detection functionality for identifying surfaces such as floors and tables.
- Realistic lighting estimation for authentic rendering of virtual objects.
- Support for Unity and Unreal engines, facilitating smooth integration with these widely used development platforms.
Google ARCore is recognized as a popular SDK for building applications on smartphones and tablets, noteworthy for its cross-platform compatibility that extends beyond Android to include iOS devices. ARCore is built on two essential components: position tracking and object recognition. Some key features that distinguish it include:
- Real-time assessment of illumination for an authentic visual experience.
- Precise placement of virtual objects, ensuring accurate positioning.
- Smooth tracking capabilities for creating realistic and responsive virtual elements.
- Versatility in sizing and locating on various surfaces, be it vertical, horizontal, or sloped.
- Tracking movement aligned with the phone's position, enhancing the dynamic AR experience.
8 Steps to Build an Augmented Reality App
1. Identifying a Niche and Creating a USP
The initial stage in developing an augmented reality app involves crafting a vision for your future product. This vision hinges on comprehensively understanding your competition's market conditions and identifying untapped niches. Here is a systematic action plan to guide your efforts:
Market Research: In-depth exploration of the local market dynamics, gaining insights into the popularity of existing applications.
Competitor Research: Conduct a thorough analysis to identify and understand existing competitors, meticulously assessing their strengths and weaknesses.
Target Audience Research: Do a complete analysis of your target audience, exploring demographics, interests, income levels, and other pertinent factors.
USP Creation: Synthesize the insights gathered to make informed decisions about your target niche. Develop an attractive and Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that distinguishes your application from the competition.
2. Business Plan Development
The next crucial step is formulating a business plan after determining how to create a distinctive augmented reality app that meets user expectations. A vital element of this plan is identifying the appropriate monetization model. Currently, there are several viable models to consider:
Subscription Model: Users acquire a subscription for your application, with the flexibility of choosing from monthly, quarterly, or yearly payment options.
Advertising Model: This revenue-generating model involves placing advertisements within your app. Users may have the option to block ads at an additional cost.
Freemium Model: Striking a balance between free offerings and premium features, this model allows users to access certain app features for free while requiring payment for full functionality.
3. Choosing an App Development Agency
The key to successful apps is teaming up with a trustworthy tech company skilled in developing augmented reality applications. Here are some pointers to help you make the right choice:
- Use platforms like Clutch, The Manifest, and others to find companies specializing in building augmented reality apps.
- Prioritize experience and professionalism over cost when picking a team.
- Read what clients say about them to create a shortlist of promising companies.
- Compare these companies based on things like their skills and location.
- Reach out to your shortlisted companies for a chat and learn more about them.
- Finally, decide on the team that best fits your needs.
4. Deciding on App Features
Work closely with your app development team to determine what features suit your business needs. Besides picking the right tools and platforms, think about adding extra features like:
Push Notifications: Use services like Twilio, Nexmo, Plivo, Apple Push Notifications, and Firebase Cloud Messaging.
Payments: Make it easy for users by adding payment options like PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.
Navigation: Help users find their way with services like Google Maps, Google Places, and more Google Maps.
Mailing Services: Keep your users in the loop with Gmail, ZeroBounce, Firebase Cloud Messaging, and SendGrid.
Social Media: Connect with users on platforms like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
5. UX/UI Design
When building augmented reality apps, creating the design is a crucial step. Work closely with designers to determine how users will navigate, establish your brand's look, and give your app a unique style. Focus on exceptional design and features to make user interaction seamless.
6. Augmented Reality App Development
In this phase, based on the design, we will put together the parts that users see (front-end) and the behind-the-scenes stuff (back-end).
We are not just creating features. Everything we build goes through thorough testing. This helps us catch any issues/bugs with how the app performs, how well it can handle growth, and how reliable it is. It is like making sure your app is strong and dependable before it gets out there.
7. Marketing & Promotion
While your app is in the works, start thinking about the marketing part. Here are some strategies to build interest with your potential users:
Paid Ads: Invest in ads to get the first users for your app.
Social Media (SMM): Use social media to connect with users and build trust.
Influencer Marketing: Collaborate with bloggers and influencers to reach big audiences.
Content Marketing & SEO: Increase your app's visibility on Google by creating blog posts and other content.
Events: Show off your app at live events or become a sponsor for special occasions.
Partnerships: Team up with other companies to spread the word about your app through their channels.