Augmented Reality – What Type of Augmented Reality Is Right for Me (and my business)?

Augmented Reality for business

Augmented Reality for business

Augmented Reality (AR) is an emerging technology that holds promise to change how people interact with the world around them.  However, it is important to understand that AR is not a monolithic technology.  As is often the case, subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) differences in implementation can play a key role in how successful a technology is for a specific use case.  In addition, there are many ways to talk about the differences in implementations.  Some are more technical or academic, but below we will outline one way to look at some types of implementation for AR that have been relevant for our clients.
Sometimes called image recognition based, the core idea is that a device’s (phone, tablet, etc) camera pulls in a visual of the surroundings, and software on the device recognizes a particular “marker”, which then triggers the software to provide an output.  Simple outputs may be playing a short video or audio file to showcase Augmented Reality animation tutorial. More complex outputs could include launching an animation or interactive visual effect. Some examples:

A fun exercise to build a circuit using marker based AR and the SMACAR tool set (SMACAR App and SMACAR Studio).

An Augmented Reality experience used to enhance education, providing for an interactive skeleton diagram to identify bones using a marker and the SMACAR tool set (SMACAR App and SMACAR Studio).
Marker-less AR will trigger via differing types of triggers.  These could be geolocation (PokemonGO! is a good example) or user input combined with spatial recognition (furniture placement applications).

Nintendo’s breakout hit just celebrated its one year anniversary!
Courtesy: PokemonGO! (Nintendo)

IKEA has gone a long way in using Augmented Reality in Furniture. The following one is just one example of how AR is utilized in the furniture industry.
Courtesy: IKEA (done by IKEA)

This implementation leverages the use of beacons, which typically work via Bluetooth.  In this case, with a Bluetooth-enabled device, a user who passes close to a beacon will trigger the initiation of the application.  For example, a museum may use beacons at exhibits to trigger narration for that exhibit for users with the museum’s app installed.

Courtesy: Museum Beacons for AR (this example done using iBeacons at Antwerp Museum)
As mentioned earlier, this is just one way to consider options in the realm of AR.  So which is best for you?  See which of the use-case archetypes you best fit into above.  If you have questions or want to discuss this further, please free to write to us via:
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Also, visit to create your own Augmented Reality experience or to read about use cases in various industries.


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