Augmented Reality For an Enriched World
Augmented reality presents your everyday life with enhanced, information-rich overlays. As evidenced by the explosive launch of Pokémon GO, augmented reality with a culturally-relevant theme can connect with users on electrifying levels. There are two broad avenues for AR: using your mobile device, or using external hardware. Pokémon GO is bringing the first kind of AR to the masses. With its massive success, they showed the world what this technology is, but only a small portion of what it could do. Games aren’t the only application for AR; there are business applications for marketing, 3D modeling, and other ways to increase efficiency in all industries. Because of its early state of adoption, now is the time to develop the AR apps that become the standard for all other ones to come after it. Pokémon GO is certainly doing well, but it won’t last as the only big fish in the market. We can help you develop the next hit game, mobile marketing tool, or efficient business app.
A New Way of Gaming
Games are the most popular category of app on mobile devices. There is an obvious lack of AR games at the moment. With Samsung Gear VR bringing some virtual reality features to mobile, it can set up a false choice between VR or traditional games. Augmented reality is accessible to everyone. AR doesn’t necessarily require accessories (though we can build them!), and it won’t cause the motion sickness some people experience with VR. On such an accessible platform there are plenty of opportunities for novel experiences. Imagine all the possibilities for scary story apps, scavenger hunts, or detective games. These apps want you to go out and interact with the real world—looking up from your phone won’t lose you the game like in traditional games, and walking around is much safer than with a VR headset on.
Augmented reality is a great way to refresh or reboot your current game or other intellectual property. It’s exciting for customers when their favorite games get new updates and sequels, especially when they add in new mechanics while staying true to the world they’ve loved so much. AR brings the virtual world even closer to your customers. If people love gaming online against people from around the world, they will love when that challenge is played out in front of them in their living rooms.
Augmented Business And Communication
Besides games, there are a lot of opportunities for marketing, video, and other business AR apps. There are apps that retail companies use to put their products into your home. IKEA has an app which lets you put their furniture directly into your living room. Imagine how your sales would increase if you could virtually try on clothes or shoes and then buy them, all in one app. Imagine having a successful AR app, and selling virtual ad space so seamlessly and natively that it becomes as part of the landscape as commercials are on television.
Another exciting avenue for AR is in communication. FaceTime and Skype brought loved ones from around the world into your pocket. Augmented Reality could bring those people out of your pocket and into your living room. With AR communication, you could leave secret messages, animate on or with the environment, or send 3D imagery. Business applications of these apps include navigation, inventory, and translation. Your warehouse could be fully AR-equipped with an app that scans inventory to help find exactly the product you want. Boxes can get mislabeled, misplaced, and unmarked—an AR app could give you a virtual scan of each box with its location, or give a digital projection of the box onto its empty location.
Augmented Reality Hardware Platforms
Augmented reality is not only for mobile devices. There are exciting new platforms being developed at the moment, but there is no clear market leader yet. Like with desktop apps, there are clear benefits to using dedicated AR hardware, whether it is computer-connected or an independent machine. Dedicated hardware can give you more computing power; there are typically fewer space restraints, so there will be fewer sacrifices based on millimeters of available real estate. Hardware can also offer exciting ways to experience an AR app or game through wearable accessories that increase the field-of-view for the effect, or add other sensory layers to the product.
The most notable and exciting AR hardware is the upcoming Microsoft HoloLens, which will bring holograms into our homes and offices. Its first generation will be a wearable headset which lets the user see holograms in the space around them. It will ship with exciting games, Skype and other hologram communication tools, and even an app which will let you tour destinations around the world. HoloLens uses holograms and accurate spatial sound to make the holodeck around you intuitive to your senses, and it is untethered so there’s no chords to get tangled in.
The HoloLens operates on Windows 10—the operating system behind every new Windows PC, Windows Phone, Xbox, and Microsoft Surface. Not only is its OS familiar and ubiquitous, Microsoft has released a developer version of the product for us to begin developing with. You’ll be able to experience this life-changing technology right along with us as we develop your app, well before the general public can see for themselves how exciting AR tech can be.
Other Hardware Accessories
HoloLens has yet to be released, so it remains to be seen whether it can deliver on its promises. Pokémon GO has released the Pokémon GO Plus, a wearable accessory to its popular AR game. It reacts to real world objects based on its virtual platform—no need for retrofitting that old town hall with additional hardware for a popular game. You can catch Pokémon right with the watch, or use it in conjunction with its paired device.
We can develop games or apps that are used with or without an accessory. There have only been a few well-known products using this technology, like the Wonderbook peripheral for PlayStation 3. That was back in 2012, and with the huge leaps in technology as well as the massive success of Pokémon GO, these types of games will only grow in popularity. If your AR app will be enhanced with pairing with a smartwatch, we are experts at developing apps for these devices.