Augmented reality (AR) apps are fast shaping up the environment around us into a digital interface by placing different virtual objects in our real world in real time. This is done through the use of 3D viewers or life-sized 3D models (to enrich the images), AR browsers (to enrich a smartphone’s or tablet’s camera display), gaming experiences (a great example being Pokémon Go that allows us to catch virtual Pokémons in the real-life environment), and so on. In other words, the AR functionality adds excitement to mobile apps by overlaying digital information or media over real things and in real time, with the help of the camera of your mobile phone, tablet, PC or even connected glasses.
So, if you are a business owner and have a few mobile app ideas up your sleeve and want the end product to stand out from the crowd, then you should consider integrating AR functionality in your app. To learn more, here is how various AR features can add more value to your mobile app.
Location Sensitive Functionality
AR can leverage the distinct capabilities of mobile devices (phones or tablets) to keep a watch on the position of each device. Such AR-enabled apps can then share contextual information on the basis of the particular location of that individual’s device. Thus, in the real world, AR can empower apps to provide location-based information to give directions in an unknown or new city, find a vehicle in a huge car park, and so on.
Marker Functionality to Overlay Digital Information
You can make your mobile app use the AR marker feature, which will allow it to overlay the digital information over the real-world and real-time environment through the combined use of the mobile device’s camera and software to pinpoint certain patterns, such as a QR code or a brand symbol.
When the user of the device with the AR app points his or her smartphone or tablet at a particular object, the digital information sits on top of the object (recognized pattern) and is visible as a virtual user interface. Such a feature allows your AR-enabled mobile app to superimpose 3D imagery or text over real-time images that are processed by the mobile device in use.
One of the most popular examples of a mobile app that uses a device’s camera to overlay digital images on top of real-time images is Snapchat. This app places 3D stickers over faces, which is popularly known as face filters.
So, mobile device users who have an AR app like Snapchat installed on their devices can easily turn their faces into a funny one or become a zombie or something else by automatically aligning the filters with their facial features. Such filters are activated in the app by a simple “press and hold” on the users’ faces when they take a selfie with their rear cameras. The lenses feature overlays animation onto the users’ faces, while taking snaps or even videos in real time and offer reaction when the users blink their eyes or perhaps open their mouths.
By the looks of it, Snapchat has always been targeted at youngsters or teenagers. However, the lenses feature has made it attractive for businesses as well, especially certain brands. So, several brands have started signing up for the premium lenses designed by Snapchat. In 2016 alone, around $10 million worth of sign-ups have been recorded.
Snapchat is thus a great example of how AR features in an app can be commercialized. From the ability to add annotations or illustrations to photos to being able to use sponsored lenses, Snapchat has used AR in a highly effective way. It offers a great lesson for businesses who intend to come up with mobile apps that can become highly popular with the users.
Using AR Beyond Locations and Markers
Many of the filters (Geo filters) which are available for Snapchat users are only available for specific locations.
The “World Lenses” feature has been the latest addition to Snapchat and allows users to use the filters beyond their faces. In other words, Snapchat users can now easily add any innovative AR elements to any photo or scene taken with their mobile device’s camera in real time. The idea is to enable users to paint the world around them with 3D experiences by placing 3D objects as they walk around and take snaps from their smartphone or tablet cameras.
Considering the success that Snapchat has experienced with its filters and lenses, Facebook has now announced a new AR platform in the form of a Camera Effects platform. This platform will provide tools like Frame Studio and AR Studio for the developer and creative artist community to create a wide spectrum of camera effects, right from simple frames to highly interactive AR experiences (i.e., animated frames, masks, and interactions during live broadcasts). The idea is to tap the attention of more users by introducing AR in everyday life through the Facebook camera by offering opportunities for outside developers and artists to integrate art into data.
This proves there is good enough scope for companies that generate mobile app ideas to use AR in unique ways to attract prospective users. The objective is to provide more value to your app users through highly engaging AR experiences.
Quytech has years of experience in developing Augmented Reality Apps. Contact us at email@example.com to discuss how Augmented Reality can be used in your apps.