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augmented reality (4)

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We are living in a digital world, using apps to perform each and every daily task. Augmented reality has gained much popularity in recent years, Pokemon Go is one of the best illustrations of AR games, and you will not find a single person in this world who is not familiar with this game.

Augmented reality is a technology that overlays machine-generated pictures in the real world in the form of animation or making a purchase through smart devices or headsets. AR is a transformation of a normal camera; it offers an impressive, interactive, and reality-based environment to enhance the user experience.

As the future of Augmented reality apps are very bright because the customer's demand is increasing, and they want to try things before they make a purchase. So many SDKs and tools can be useful for a developer to create AR apps. A recent marketing survey shows that in the past 2-3 years, the demand for Augmented reality-based apps has increased by a handsome number.

 

# Vuforia

Vuforia is an advanced and modern AR building tool that offers an attractive platform for building augmented reality apps for iOS and Android platforms. It is a much popular platform in the developer community because it is broad and easily compatible with any other tool.

Vuforia offers an extensive range of products that improves user experience, Vuforia engine, studio, and chalk are some of the widely used tools. If you want to make your 3D project exclusive and want to launch in the market, this is the best ready-to-use tool.

As it is the most popular tool when it comes to developing AR VR apps, it costs $99 per month; it is not that expensive because it offers many functionalities and is very easy to integrate on any operating system. Vuforia uses computer vision technology as it is able to track scanned images and simple 3D objects, such as boxes. It is the ultimate choice for 3D and 2D projects.

 

# ARkit

If you love to work with the open-source platform, ARtoolkit would be a perfect choice to develop AR apps. A recent survey from Wikipedia revealed that it is a very popular tool with more than 160000 downloads every year, and this is the reason why we enjoy many augmented reality apps.

As a programmer, one of the most difficult tasks is to locate the user's location in real-time perfectly, and ARtoolkit solves this problem with ease and able to calculate the position and orientation of the real camera, it helps any AR app to reflect the digital content such as images or 3D models on the real world.

Not only Android, but Apple has also launched an ARKKit tutorial with every new version of iOS, that helps developers to integrate this tool in the app.

 

#Maxst 

As the name suggests, Maxst offers two kinds of different SDKs, one for image tracking and another for environment recognition. The first tool can only recognize 2D images, where the second tool is more powerful and can track 3D objects.

You can generate the data online via the tracking manager, and you can scan 3D objects with the upgraded version. It supports multiple platforms such as Android, iOS, and Windows. Due to its easy integration, this tool is widely used among developers, and the website also offers easy documentation for freshers to understand.

The space mapping tool of Maxst can analyze the input, extract the data, and save it to a map file. If you want to fix the 3D objects in space, this tool is useful. These days, scan QR code and pay instantly, this technology has taken place, even human resource department is using this technology & have developed best human resouce management software, giving unique QR codes to employees, you can swiftly scan an employee's personal details, it saves time and efforts both.

 

#Wikitude

Wikitude is one of the best tools that focus on providing location-based AR experiences and presents real-time data via the Wikitube World Browser App. It has launched its recent version that supports localization and mapping.

The updated version of the Wikitude tool contains a lot of extensive AR features that allow you to create both marker and location-based AR applications. This tools currently provides some amazing features: 

  • Build apps for smart glasses
  • Image recognition and tracking
  • Easy loud recognition means it can target all the images hosted in the cloud
  • Accurate location-based services
  • Numerous external plugins, including Unity.

Wikitude offers a complete package studio to build smart AR apps. All you need to upload an image to the studio, add AR objects, add necessary effects, generate JS code, and directly paste it into the project.

 

# Google ARCore

ARCore is basically launched by Google and supports both the operating systems, respectively. Primarily, its three key technologies for "embedding" virtual content into the real world include motion tracking, lighting recognition, and environmental recognition.

It has the ability to build smart AR apps, and Google has been developing the basic technologies that support mobile AR over the last three years with Tango and based on that, ARCore is developed. 

Another plus point of ARCore is it works without installing any hardware that means it can work across all the Android ecosystems. It can run on millions of devices, and giant smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung, Huawei, LG, and ASUS use this tool for quality and high performance. 

 

Winding Up!

Augmented reality and virtual reality have created a buzz in the techno world, and now every business owner wants to integrate these features in their applications to drive sales. We have already seen Augmented reality apps causing a different level of excitement in users; hence developers need to learn the above tools for better output. After reading this, developers have a wide choice of AR toolkits that helps them to develop market-based and location-based applications.

You need to pick the right augmented reality tool based on your project requirement. Before choosing any tool, it would be advisable to compare features such as 3D recognition, storage facility, Unity, etc. After comparing features now, you can quickly build outstanding AR apps. Ultimately, your main focus should be on providing fast delivery of the product with maximum customer satisfaction.

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The Internet of Things is now widely used in a wide array of business verticals like manufacturing, healthcare, logistics, and more. According to the latest research data, the number of IoT connected devices, which made up ~4,9 million things in 2015, reached the point of ~3,9 billion in 2016.

Concerning AR, Statista predicts at least three various scenarios of AR/VR growth, but they all forecast the economic impact amounting ~$29,5 billion in 2020. Having reached the decision of developing your own IoT or AR software, you need to get heads up about the pitfalls of starting this new business solution development.

Major AR and IoT solutions’ programming challenges.

Challenges may be divided into several categories: high-level business obstacles and application development problems along with the solution’s further maintenance and enhancement. The first group may include the following issues:

  • Unclear business benefits;
  • Insufficient funding;
  • A poor go-to-market strategy, and more;

While it’s quite clear how to avoid business-level problems, it’s also worth taking into account the challenges which arise during the software development process itself. The average IoT obstacles may include:

  • Infrastructure problems (devices, gateways, platforms);
  • Security concern;
  • Cross-platform compatibility;
  • Lack of support, and more.

AR development challenges encompass:

  • AR hardware;
  • Generated content;
  • Security issues, and more;

With reference to the latest Cisco’s survey, only 26% of IoT projects considered as successful by their developers, whereas more than 50% reach the jumping-off place at the strategy crafting stage. One of the key AR challenges is to correlate virtual data with the real environment, which can bring even a leading vendor to a screwjob. For this very reason, it’s critically important to have an idea of technology development nuances.

Nevertheless, the latest statistics on the number of the internet connected devices and the AR technology in various spheres shows that a business owner is a targeted consumer for the outputs. This gives extra room for the IoT and AR initiatives:

Statistics reveals the amount of investment made worldwide in IoT by sectors during 2015-2020.


Statistics shows AR technology’s market share by business spheres.

2 notable IoT/AR use cases

In the context of solving the task, below are the two living examples of successful solutions to take into account while initiating your own development project.

E.g.: IoT mobile app for smart buildings and yachts management:

The idea was to develop a highly customizable system allowing to manage numerous connected devices in smart buildings/yachts.

Challenge:

A necessity to run a proprietary protocol in remoteness from real devices.

Solution:

Multiple devices installed within a building/yacht were united into a single smart system. A proprietary text protocol which provided smooth communication between the user interface and the backend was applied for infrastructure visualization configuration, gateways, and IR-gateways communication. This permitted cutting down on customizing the part of UI for each client.

The developed IoT application allowed for managing a chain of devices, including surveillance cameras (change the angles, zoom in/out), lighting, media systems, smart locks, and more via an Android-based mobile app. This led to essential energy and budget economy. The product is now being enhanced by integrating more smart devices into the system. A similar solution may be implemented in any smart home, hotel, or yacht to introduce automation and analysis to the existing infrastructure.

E.g.: Equipment maintenance and service mobile app with augmented reality

The idea was to develop a mobile app compatible with numerous platforms, which would give a possibility to maintain complex industrial equipment single-handedly.

Challenge:

A necessity to ensure image recognition with absolute accuracy.

Solution:

To create a repair or service guide, a user takes a photo of the equipment as a first step. Then the image is processed by Metaio SDK, which is a basis for its further recognition by the app. The built-in image recognition helps to save on painstaking programming and therefore additional investments on the part of the user.

Afterward, each of the required equipment part scenes is supplied with a step-by-step guide by means of animated, drag-and-drop 3D objects, such as a nut, a screwdriver, etc. The system allows to include text information, as well as images and videos in the instructions. Finally, the app’s user gets the complete instructions by simply pointing the device’s camera at the equipment that needs repair. A similar solution may be applicable to any industrial enterprise, healthcare organization, or any other vertical which requires urgent fixes and updates.

The bottom line

Any AR and IoT application development challenges may be addressed with a well-thought-out plan for development, implementation, and further maintenance and enhancement. The quantity of IoT and AR applications is skyrocketing and the above examples are a living proof of the system’s effectiveness in different business spheres.

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Augmented Reality has been here for some time. Among consumer level products, Pokémon Go was one prime example of primitive level Augmented Reality, it only took a decent smartphone. Lately, some of the social media and networking apps, especially the ones that feature a 24-hour story option e.g. Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook Messenger are using the basic technologies of Augmented Reality to draw masks and filters over the users’ faces. This is real-time and accurate, and fun nonetheless. However, augmented reality face filters and industrial augmented reality, also known as IAR is vastly different. The first one can act on generic smartphone hardware across a wide range of devices whereas the latter needs proprietary software and hardware. The margin of error in IAR practically needs to be negligible, and there should not be any prominent lag in the system to maintain a precise production output. Augmented Reality has become a thing in 2017, and we believe the inflection point for Industrial Augmented Reality will be around 2018 – 2019.

Augmented Reality in the Production Line

Everyone that works down in the core production facility, e.g. the supervisors, the technicians and the field workers could really benefit by using AR and 3D imagery on top of a real object to speed up the designing and implementation process. A 3D augmented reality model could be drawn in the head-worn VR helmet in 3D space, generated by data received from IoT based sensors placed at different crucial points to build up an effective model. Also, IAR might not necessarily require VR headsets. There are different aspects of AR and workers in a production facility could access them using smartphones, tablets or proprietary handheld devices. As of yet, renowned VR devices in production are being used in several industries - Google Glass Enterprise and Microsoft HoloLens have made their cut. The emergence of IoT and rapid development in the same field would certainly ensure a competitive market of IoT sensors and VR helmets for IAR in the upcoming years. Workers in different industries – production, oil drilling, mining, assembly line etc. will never look the same in a few years!

Challenges in the Application of AR in Industries

Creating the AR ecosystem is the major challenge in switching to a completely AR based industry from old-school manual technologies. Assembly line workers do the same repetitive tasks every day and it doesn’t matter how boring their jobs might be, they have gotten used to doing it. Introducing a new technology could set back production by bigger numbers, cause serious trouble in the supply chain and jeopardize a company’s trades. In technology spectrum, the available IoT sensors are still mostly generic. Depending on what an industry would produce, these sensors will need to change and become more customizable and specific.

IAR Application in Industries

So far, implementation of IAR is seen in the following industries –

• Manufacturing: Boeing is one of the first adopters to put AR in their mainstream production line. A few automobile makers have initiated beta versions of their IAR.

• Military: US Air Force has been using a fully functional AR system for some select models of their air crafts since 1992. Louis Rosenberg was the mastermind behind creating the system.

• Healthcare & Medical: To carry out dangerous surgical operations in sensitive organs, such as the brain and heart, a combination of VR and AR is used by surgeons.

• Education: A picture is worth a thousand words. Imagine how many words a demonstration through AR would be?

• Tourism: Yelp Monocle and Word Lens are two AR based smartphone apps that use augmented reality to provide the user with relevant information.

IAR is the Future

Pokémon Go or Snapchat are fun, but they aren’t the only applications AR is capable of doing. With IAR in the rise, the production lines are going to be more productive and competitive than ever.  Whats your take, do you think IAR will be the next best thing? or is the learning curve too high to be worth the investment?

Greg Conrad is a writer for Ax Control

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