One of the world’s biggest digital stories of all time, Augmented Reality (AR) continues to grow and be adopted. AR app development has attracted widespread attention and investment after the launch of games such as Pokemon Go and Augmented Reality Snakes and Ladder Game . Unlike Virtual Reality (VR) that helps create an artificial environment, AR enables making use of the existing environment by overlaying new information on top of it. It makes information about the real world surroundings available to the user for information or interaction.
Augmented Reality apps are being utilized by numerous industries, such as: public safety, healthcare, gas and oil, marketing, tourism and many others. From doctors to passengers to someone looking for a nearby tube station, to be able to to place computer-generated graphics in one’s field of vision can benefit people from different walks of life.
The forecasted shipment of worldwide Smart Augmented Reality glasses by 2020 is 5.4 million units. Similarly, AR hardware device shipments are estimated to reach 64.6 million and 45.6 million for VR devices. The projected revenue from AR is three times that of VR.
AR enables realistic visualization, giving a physical interaction model with the virtual world. The benefits of this technology vary across departments and from industry to industry. There are many industries which can benefit from AR app development ranging from architecture visualization, to medical aid purposes, to all the way to entertainment industry.
Mobile constraints: Since AR interactions require usage of at least one hand, it is important that designers work on making this easier and more enjoyable. Moreover, to be able to eliminate the need to use one’s hand. Also, devices come in varying orientations and sizes, hence the need to be able to deliver the same experience across platforms.
Existing mental models and dimensional-shift: The mental models of users need to be considered while developing an AR app. Using the existing UI patterns that are locked to a users screen, designers need to get creative and be able to encourage physical movement by the user in order for them to experience more enriched interactions. This will encourage users to experience and thus, appreciate the value of AR.
Environmental considerations: Designers should be able to create unique volumetric responsive designs within the user’s mobile play space. Text or character based cues to guide the user, enabling better environmental scanning.
Visual quality is a priority: The app should be responsive to the lighting and the interactive components should be able to complement the user’s natural environment. Furthermore, it is critical to convey the planes that the phone may or may not recognize to better manage user expectations.
The need for immersive interactions: Digital components should be able to scale or react based on where the camera is pointing. Having characters respond with an attention to how close the user is, or revealing more information as the user approaches, are a couple awesome cases of how creators can utilize proximity cues to encourage movement and reward exploration.
Mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), most commonly used devices for AR mobile apps, ranging from social networking to gaming.
AR glasses (smart glasses), these units have the capability to display notifications from your smartphone, apt for assisting where content needs to be accessed hands-free, particularly in the case of assembly line workers.
Special AR devices, these are designed specifically for AR experiences. For instance the head-up displays (HUD), sending data into a user’s view on a transparent display.
Augmented Reality apps are usually omnipresent and can run in any tablet or smartphone. But what makes it lag behind is the need for better cameras, screens, processors, motion sensor and high speed internet connectivity. Moreover, with low penetration of products like AR headsets, Hololens, Meta and Google Glass, it is hard to derive the thrill and delight AR has to offer.
There is a need to create and generate highly engaging content. As even with the availability of devices mentioned above, if there is lack of interactive content and AR apps enabling unique experiences, there is very little that can be done to promote this technology.
A fully functional AR solution requires a lot of complements. These would include Unity 3D engine, content, hardware, education and awareness of the common public. Until these shortcomings are tackled in an organisational scheme of things, AR can’t be properly visualised. Furthermore, everytime a new technology is introduced, it takes time for it to become widespread. Since people still are not aware of the potential of AR to fully embrace it.
With more people taking an interest in it, AR is going in a new direction in 2018. The success however may not be instant as it takes time for something to start generating revenues. With time the best platform for AR app development will surface. For now, what we are certain about is that investments have started flowing in. Given the challenges that AR companies face, in order to combat these, right business tactics should be devised and implemented. However, the the investment cycle shall form a realistic picture in 2021.