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What is augmented reality software?
Augmented reality (AR) software is a tool that provides architects, marketers, educators, and game developers the capability to view digital interactive content, such as images, buildings, books, and media objects in real-world context. It allows them to perceive layered visualization as if the objects were right in front of them.
AR software is capable of creating virtual 3D images, designs, and multimedia over a physical space. It uses computer-generated display, sound, text, and effects. It can be used to create and improve interactive content and games as well as provide virtual training experiences.
The benefits of augmented reality software
- Interactive content increases sales and customer retention: AR renders a 3D visual that can be interacted with realistically. Users can visualize products, such as gadgets, merchandise, and furniture, before purchasing it. In fact, according to Business Wire, 72% of Americans said they purchased items they hadn’t planned to buy because of augmented reality. The better and unique shopping experience with AR can also increase customer retention levels.
- 3D virtual prototypes allow testing products: With virtual prototypes, companies can pretest products or services before the big launch. This saves a lot of money and prevents the risks/chances of product failure.
- A better way to train employees: AR provides an interactive learning experience by superimposing digital information in the classroom via smart glasses or AR headsets. It can provide learners real-time remote assistance from qualified professionals. Businesses can convert text-heavy training manuals into interactive audio-visual displays. For instance, you can create virtual fire, smoke, earthquakes, and crowds to train people on dealing with hazardous situations without putting anyone in danger.
Typical features of augmented reality software
- Real-world backdrop: Overlays images, text, and 3D objects against a real-world background.
- Superimposed objects: Offers an augmented view of an object when using an AR device such as a headset or smart glasses.
- Simulation: Imitates certain conditions or environments for training and educational purposes.
- Drag-and-drop: Lets users select a virtual object by "grabbing" it, and then dragging it to another location.
- Content creation: Lets common users—not just developers—create their own AR content and experiences for the audience.
- Cross-device publishing: Allows users to deploy AR across multiple devices such as VR glasses and mobile devices.
Considerations when purchasing augmented reality software
- Differentiate between AR and VR: As a buyer, shortlist your core requirements first, primarily whether you need augmented or virtual reality (VR). Or a single solution that supports both content types. AR and VR aren’t the same—while AR recreates 3D objects in the physical world, VR takes the user into a three-dimensional virtual world.
- Support for required content: The solution should allow any user, not just a technically skilled one, to create content themselves and directly upload it to the platform. It should also let them edit the 3D models that they upload on the AR platform.
- Integration with hardware devices and mobile platforms: The software should be compatible with the popular AR and VR headsets in the market (such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Microsoft HoloLens, or Magic Leap) or smart glasses. It should also be able to integrate with Android and iOS devices.
Relevant augmented reality software trends
- AR to change customer buying behavior: In 2020, Gartner expects 100 million consumers to engage in an AR-enabled shopping experience. Many showrooms and fitting rooms across the globe already offer try-before-you-buy options. AR-based smart mirrors allow users to try different hairstyles, hair colors, and clothes. The mirrors use sensors, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and liquid crystal display (LCD) to predict a customer’s age, gender, and other characteristics in order to offer recommendations.
- IoT and AR process data in real time for faster decision-making: Multiple devices and sensors connected via the internet of things (IoT) generate tons of data that can be fed into the AR software. This live and interactive interface can benefit many industries, especially healthcare. For instance, it would enable surgeons to perform procedures by rendering live 3D reconstructions of a body part. At the same time, the AR software would be linked to multiple devices that capture the patient’s vital statistics.