Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have been buzzwords thrown around by technologists since 2012 — around the time Oculus was founded. Businesses didn’t see value in the technology and consumers didn’t have commercially viable products to buy. All of that changed last month when Apple launched ARKit, an SDK (software development kit) that simplifies the development of AR experiences.
Note: Augmented Reality, think looking through glasses at a fake gorilla in your living room. Virtual Reality, think looking into a video game.
Apple has changed the game with the release of ARKit. This allows iPhones already in the hands of customers to be AR compatible. According to calculations by the Mapbox team, there will be 195 million AR ready apple devices by the end of this year — once iOS 11 is released to the public. That’s HUGE.
High quality VR continues to fail because it’s too expensive, but modern smartphones are powerful enough to support AR experiences: no additional consumer cost. Your iPhone is likely AR ready and just needs the iOS 11 update to enable the technology. And ARKit is making high quality Augmented Reality accessible to most developers. From a developer’s perspective, this SDK is an absolute joy.
ARKit is the most robust AR SDK, accurately integrating information gathered from light, motion, orientation, and GPS sensors already built into compatible iOS devices. It provides the ability to track planes in real time, maintain real-world tracking better than any other SDK, and realistically shade rendered objects.
Industries that AR will change
You’ve probably experienced AR if you use Snapchat filters, Facebook lenses, or Instagram stickers. Similar tools are about to change how people interact with products and each other in a more structured way. Here are six industries that our team at InfiniOne thinks will see a massive shift in tech strategy using AR:
Google Glass Enterprise and Microsoft HoloLens have built technology that is opening the floodgates for increased efficiency. Mechanics can see instructions for engine repair in real time; logistics companies are reducing waste by providing visual instructions for employees in the packaging and assembly stages; and military personnel can receive more advanced information both in training and combat. The technology shifts the cognitive load from the agent to the AR system, vastly increasing efficiency. Training will be faster, turnaround will be less of a managerial concern, and goals will be met with greater success.
Education is simply a distilled and continuous version of the training phase identified in the “Enterprise” example above. Let’s discuss the ways we can truly crack down on efficient learning:
Apple’s ARKit allows developers to augment real world media with contextual information. This will allow educators another dimension for the learning experience, improving absorption of difficult material (when software is developed and used properly). It’s a boon for visual learners. Imagine a 7 year old learning how airplanes fly. The child could create a a paper airplane, throw it, track its flight on her iPhone, and watch formulas of varying complexity describe the process . Watching live animations in familiar environments will help students better understand concepts being taught, the toughest ones especially.
Immersive gaming has already taken off. Pokemon Go is a great example of how users enjoy experiencing fictional characters in the real world. AR allows game developers to make gaming experiences that are customized to the user’s real world surroundings. Many users have even reported cardiovascular benefits from playing this game. AR is opening a whole new dimension of interactive experiences that developers could never create before, the opportunities of which are being discovered and created every day.
Most millennials are familiar with AR within social media. Your Snapchat filters are a prime example of augmenting the user experience with technology. They began with basic facial recognition (glasses, flower girl, tongue-out dog) and have progressed all the way to independent characters (dancing hot dog man introduced last week). You’ll soon see these filters become more intelligent and start interacting with users in more “productive” ways. The next step in this space is creative advertising.
Augmented Reality is going to significantly change the way consumers shop. Have you ever been in a retail store and instinctively looked for a review, as you would on Amazon? Customers will soon be able to do just that, converting retail stores to showrooms for online companies. Another application is experiencing products, or “trying them on,” pre-purchase. Imagine successfully shopping for and visualizing a new pair of jeans, couch for your family room, or piece of jewelry. This interaction with products will reduce returns, lower costs for sellers (increase the bottom line), and drive down prices. It’s efficiency at its finest.
Google Glass Enterprise is piloting a program with Dignity Health to transcribe and summarize conversations with patients. Using this technology, healthcare professionals will save time spent on record-keeping, as is the case with many other professions. Further advanced applications will employ AI to reduce doctor error by analyzing drug interactions and many other patient-specific variables. Any such warnings will be immediately displayed in the HCP’s glasses as an extension of the already rapidly-growing space that is healthcare AI.
What are we doing with AR at InfiniOne?
Here at InfiniOne we have organized a team of our most talented engineers and designers to tackle the AR space head-on. In collaboration with Bilawal Singh Sidhu, we have built proof-of-concept apps showcasing what this technology is capable of doing. Reach out to our team if your company is interested in a demo.