Who can forget the time when the world went frenzy with Pokemon Go?

You might have a hard time finding someone who was not familiar with the app that erupted back in 2016. The Pokemon Go app changed the lives of an average mobile user and made Augmented Reality (AR) a household name. When the craze ballooned, even the big establishments like shopping centres around the world adopted the technological advancement to elevate their visitors’ shopping experience.

While Pokemon Go absorbed most smartphone users around the globe and presented AR within the entertainment industry, few people know that AR is also used in different sectors like healthcare, architecture and eCommerce.

Source: phys.org



In eCommerce in particular, the potential of AR is massive and seamless especially when it comes to customer experience and engagement. This has made many big brands notice AR and its way to create an impact in their promotional activities.

Experts have forecasted the market for AR to grow to $215 billion by 2021 and that’s why big corporations like Google, Apple and Facebook are heavily investing in AR technologies.

Small businesses are expected to follow as it doesn’t only captures the audience’s attention but also increases engagement that can turn into a sales conversion.


What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality or AR is considered by many to be one of the promising innovations in digital technology. Accordingly, Augmented Reality or AR is the technology that adds layers of digital information to the physical world. While it is a growing trend now, it still has to unleash its full potential.

AR is an interactive experience for most users – it involves a real-world environment adorned with computer-enhanced images providing real-time interaction to any user. It is an interwoven environment of an actual physical world and a simulated virtual object.


Source: codingdojo.com

Types of Augmented Reality Mobile App

There are different types of augmented reality mobile applications on the market today, but these are the most common: Marker-based AR  and Location-based AR.

Depending on your need and your niche market, you can decide which AR mobile application to build.



Location-based AR


This type of AR app relies on GPS and other position detectors like digital compasses that can determine your location and create AR objects.

Industries like tourism utilize location-based AR applications to help visitors learn about historical sites. Other sectors like education, advertising or healthcare use this development. The Pokemon Go game that made people go out on the streets is a sample of a location-based reality app.


Source: intellify.com

Marker-based AR


Market-based AR applications use a camera or a portable device to detect a pattern or a QR code before the app overlays digital information on the marker.

The app renders a 3D image, video, another image or even a scene that you can interact with by using your device. This development is widely used by different brands to make their product stand out.

IKEA is one of the market leaders to leverage on this technological advancement by developing a furniture AR app that allows prospects to preview a piece of furniture before buying it.


Source: youtube.com

Best Tools To Build Augmented Reality App

If you are doubtful about AR development due to the costs it may incur (or you wish to learn AR development), you can try and build an AR app yourself with the help of the following tools:


1. Vuforia

Vuforia toolkit is considered as one of the best platforms when it comes to AR development. It offers an impressive set of useful features that make it a top choice by many developers and supports both Android and iOS.

Some of its features which can create excellent performing AR apps include recognition of multiple objects, supported text recognition, customization and creation of a 3D geometric map with its Smart terrain feature.

Price: Comes with a free version but offers a paid version with options starting at $99 per month.



2. ARToolkit

ARToolkit is another popular option as an open-source tool for AR-based applications developments.

Though it is entirely free, it offers advanced features found in several paid tool kits.

The rich set of features it provides like the support for both single and dual cameras was found extremely useful by developers. It even incorporates Digital compass and GPS, which makes the creation of location-based AR almost effortless.

Price: FREE



3. Google ARCore

Google is undeniably one of the top leaders when it comes to digital innovations. With millions of users under its belt, it has also allowed developers to have another free option when it comes to AR development. While it is also free, ARCore is also loaded with cool features making it an excellent AR tool.

Features of ARCore include monitor tracking, light estimation and environment understanding, among others.

Price: FREE




Another leading AR development toolkit, MAXST offers two kinds of software for developers. You can either create a 2D SDK that tracks images or 3D SDK which recognizes the environment. The 3D option has features like SLAM and occlusion effect while 2D feature comes with multiple image recognition.

Price: Comes with a free version but also offers a commercial license.



5. Apple ARkit

When Apple released iOS11, it introduced its own AR development tool kit called ARKit.

What makes it one of the best are its features like VIO or Visual Inertial Odometry which can track the environment without any additional calibration. It can also detect 2D objects that allow interaction with developers and can integrate with third-party tools like Unreal Engine.

ARKit was announced in July 2017 and is compatible with any Apple devices starting from iPhones 6s or devices released not later than 2015.

Price: FREE



6. Kudan

Considered as Vuforia’s most significant competition, Kudan offers features that are similar to those of Vuforia. Its main features include high-quality 3D graphics, however it only supports iOS and Android platforms.

Price: Available for free but offers a paid version for $1,500 per year or a licensed version.




7. Deep AR

Although DeepAR is not as popular as the others listed here, it also has cool features making it a great player in AR development. It can support location real-time tracking, facial detection and it is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

Price: Starts free for ten monthly active users.



Final Thoughts

The demand for AR technology has gained wider recognition however it still has to unleash its full potential.

While big enterprises have already started to leverage the technology advances, small businesses can also find AR to be an adequate tool in making their brand stand out among the competition.


Based on what you want to accomplish with your AR development, consider your app’s functionality and the toolkits’ pricing to make sure your result is an outstanding AR mobile application.

Have a question for us or wish to share an idea?

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