The Next Wave in Augmented Reality — AR Sans Apps, Sans Engineering!
Following the latest advancements in the technology and marketing worlds is one of my favorite activities of the day. Not only does it help me stay on top of what’s happening, it also helps me contribute more meaningfully towards my role as a marketing and communications mentor for start-ups.
Start-up founders today are combining technology with marketing tactics, seamlessly, to provide customers with the most brilliant of experiences. A significant and rapidly evolving field that creates harmony between both worlds and allows brands to give their customers unique experiences is Augmented Reality (AR).
There is no doubt that humankind has taken to AR in a big way. According to statistics available online the current value of the AR market stands at $3.5 billion and will increase to $198 billion by 2025. AR is gaining foothold in many industries, from retail to healthcare to entertainment and everything in between and presents exciting opportunities in marketing and customer experience. Research shows that 88% of the mid-market companies are experimenting with AR in various forms to help grow their business.
Despite the surplus of use cases and the public acclaim AR has amassed, some obstacles stand in AR’s way on the journey to full mainstream adoption. Namely, the medium that brands choose to publish AR experiences seems to be the largest obstacle.
Most brands opt for integrating AR experiences into their mobile apps. The issue here is in the seeming fall of mobile apps. According to comScore, the average American devotes 80% of his/her app time to only three apps. Complementing that from the same report is a stat that the average Americans downloads zero new apps per month.
That culprit, in this case, may be the sheer volume of mobile apps available today. As Statista reports, Android’s Play Store has over 2.1 million apps. Not far behind, iOS has 1.8 million apps on the App Store.
Amongst other mentoring engagements, I mentor start-ups for SAP.iO’s Start-up Foundry. In their latest cohort in Berlin, Augmania — a startup founded on a passion for everything AR, emerged big time. What intrigued me most was their vision for an AR future. During my mentorship sessions with Rania Reda — the CEO of Augmania, we often discussed the opportunities as well as the challenges AR companies are currently provided with.
“Our team is operating from different locations, but we all stand united on the belief that AR is the most suitable technology available today for creating propitious change”, said Rania. “I believe AR merges the real and virtual worlds in a way that can genuinely propel humanity and maximize our brains’ capabilities. That’s because, as a content medium, AR never makes users consume content passively. Instead, they have to interact with the content and chase it all over the place. Our brains are wired to learn that way.”
“So far, we’ve worked with companies like Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, and Roche”, revealed Rania. “It has been exciting, challenging, and gratifying to find and implement AR solutions to problems from such a variety of industries. Some of these companies were having trouble engaging audiences with their content. Others wanted to elevate productivity in their workplaces. Ultimately, Augmania’s AR initiatives have helped all of them reach their desired results. We’ve all been through the experience of having too many apps than we ever care for and it’s not a fun feeling. “Alas, customers today seem to have a stigma of being told to download an app due to a fear of being exploited. With all that said, a Back to the Web movement seems especially warranted”, followed up Rania.
Driving that movement forward is Augmania’s WebAR platform. The platform allows users to easily create the AR they covet, and they need but a web browser to access the platform. The process is just as easy when it comes to experiencing AR content on the Augmania platform; it’s all on the web.
For brands, what this formula ensures is the elimination of any friction between customers and AR content. That way, customers can hop onto any WebAR experience directly through a brand’s website. There are no extra unnecessary steps in between — such as having to download an app — to discourage customers from checking out AR experiences.
Augmania is not alone in the push for WebAR. Tech giants are beginning to pick up on this novel tech. For instance, last May, Google integrated AR into Google search. If you google ‘tiger’ right now, you’ll find an option to meet a realistic 3D model of a tiger, in AR, instantly via a web browser.
To stay ahead of this competition, Augmania has loaded up its WebAR platform with perks that make AR content creation more rewarding than ever.
Most notably, the Augmania platform is a no-code one. That is, users don’t have to write a single line of code to create AR content. Instead, the platform utilizes simple drag-and-drop mechanics that guide users throughout the entire process. Hence, users don’t have to concern themselves with frustrating technical difficulties. They actually divert all their focus toward perfecting their AR content.
To help them accomplish that, the platform is also stacked with assets that can be tapped by users to enhance their AR content. These assets, which include a variety of 3D models, images, and videos, lie at the disposal of the Augmania platform users.
After successfully creating AR campaigns, the Augmania platform gives users the chance to brag about their creations. Creators can share their content right away and then track its performance via the platform’s real-time insights dashboard. According to Rania, the Augmania team is always working on developing more exciting features that can earn WebAR the spotlight it deserves and help it overcome any challenge it is facing.
Augmania is a very promising start-up in the space of AR… definitely one on my watchlist!