Software Applications for Augmented Reality
In today's ever-changing technological world, businesses are evolving to improve the customer experience and maximize profitability in ways that we never thought possible. Popular technology facilitating this small and midsize business evolution includes augmented reality (AR), which overlays virtual items and scenes on the real world.
Augmented reality software allows users to interact with digital objects in their physical environment/space.
Let's take a look at what exactly AR software is, some common features of AR apps, and the benefits this software can bring to businesses like yours.
Here’s what we'll cover:
What is augmented reality software?
Augmented reality software superimposes the digital data and images on the physical world with the help of hardware such as projectors, smartphones, and headsets.
AR software is used by businesses in multiple sectors, for everything from training to aiding consumer purchases.
Healthcare providers use AR to diagnose and treat patients effectively with access to real-time patient data, while businesses in the entertainment industry use AR to showcase facial filters for social media and messaging animations.
Retailers such as Warby Parker, Dulux Paints, and IKEA have implemented AR functionality in their apps so consumers can try on virtual glasses, view paint colors on their walls, or see furniture in their living room without having the actual physical item/object.
A view of a superimposed object in Vuforia (Source)
Common features of augmented reality software
||Overlay 3D objects, images, and text against a real-world background
||Offers an augmented view.of an object when using an AR device such as a headset or smart glasses
||Add/upload 3D objects to the platform
||Create your own AR content and experience
|Drag and drop
||Assemble applications and processes by selecting and arranging over pre-built components
|Modeling and simulation
||Allow users to outline the possibilities of different scenarios and performance (such as what if analysis, yield analysis, and cash flow projections)
||Deploy AR across multiple devices, such as virtual reality (VR) glasses and smartphones
||Track and interpret application usage or campaign performance metrics
What type of buyer are you?
Before you start evaluating AR software options, you need to know what you'll use it for. Most AR software buyers operate in the following industries:
- Training and education: These buyers—often schools, colleges, universities, and learning institutions—use AR technology to create course materials and virtual portals to engage and instruct students. Buyers in this sector should select an AR solution that allows instructors to build creative, interactive lessons with 3D models that can be used in classroom environments.
- Design and engineering: These buyers—designers, architects, engineers, and business experts employed by construction firms, airlines, and manufacturers—use 3D modeling during their design process for homes, cars, planes, etc. AR software provides a close view of a product's form and functionality; these buyers should opt for software that offers 3D modeling and simulation functionality.
- Retail: Retailers use AR technology so their clients can virtually test products before purchase. Such solutions allow customers to virtually try on makeup in various shades using their mobile device, for example. Providing an AR experience to consumers can improve their shopping experience, boost customer engagement, and increase sales. Retailers should look for AR software that facilitates virtual product tests.
Benefits of augmented reality software
- Offers unique customer experiences: With augmented reality software, you can offer unique, personalized experiences each time a customer purchases a product or service from your business. This can improve customer satisfaction, and even drive repeat business.
- Bring the store to the customer: AR allows businesses to bring the store to their customers. Depending on functionality, businesses can integrate AR software so customers can view products digitally in their homes without having to travel to the store. Customers may be more likely to buy if this is an option if they otherwise wouldn't travel to/purchase from the store because they live a significant distance away.
- Interactive learning experiences: AR applications can superimpose digital information in learning centers through the use of AR glasses and headsets. This allows learners to gain context in an interactive manner, with real-time virtual assistance from qualified professionals.
When choosing AR software, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Integrations: Look for a solution that easily integrates with the smart glasses and headsets readily available on the market, such as Magic Leap, Oculus, or HTC Vive. It should also easily integrate with smartphones.
- Don't confuse AR with VR: Before deciding on a tool, be sure you understand whether an augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) application is better for your needs. Though the technologies are quite similar, they differ in key areas. AR is a technology that grants users the ability to view digital additions to their real-world environment, while VR creates a completely virtual world/experience.
AR in mobile devices: Augmented reality via mobile devices has increased applications for mobile AR, and 2.4 billion mobile augmented reality users worldwide are expected by 2023. Mobile AR lets users avoid purchasing expensive AR headsets or software, as AR attributes can be incorporated into existing applications on smartphones, making the tech widely accessible to more users.
AR in patient care: The healthcare industry can leverage augmented reality to address patient concerns if and when patients are unable to express their symptoms to the doctor. Other examples include doctors communicating information about a patient's lifestyle and recommending any changes, or using technology to show how medication will work within a patient's body.
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.