Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that allows merging the virtual world with the real world. To take advantage of Augmented Reality (AR), you don’t need special goggles or glasses; just a smartphone or tablet and… well, either a Native AR app, Dedicated AR App or a Web AR feature, which allows displaying objects through a browser. What are the differences between these types of AR, and which one is better for business?

Augmented Reality (AR) - what is it?

Augmented Reality (AR) is a modern technology that allows displaying virtual objects, such as 3D models, in the real-world environment. The visualization of the 3D object merges with the camera view, for example, from a smartphone, and is shown on the device screen. AR technology can be used for entertainment purposes, like creating filters for social media, educational purposes (such as interactive learning aids), as well as business applications. AR solutions are popular in e-commerce, and they are utilized by manufacturers of clothing, footwear, furniture and interior design, jewelry, and eyewear on their platforms.

What is Vative Augmented Reality?

Among business users, applications utilizing Augmented Reality, known as Native AR or dedicated applications, are particularly popular. Native AR refers to tools that leverage Augmented Reality through system-level AR solutions integrated into iOS or Android. On the other hand, a dedicated AR application uses specially designed software with features and solutions tailored to the client’s needs. From the perspective of manufacturers or distributors of various products, having their own AR application serves not only as a competitive advantage but also enhances prestige. Furthermore, such applications can offer much more than just visualizing products in Augmented Reality. They can act as virtual, interactive product catalogs, display products in 3D, showcase product animations, and most importantly, facilitate purchases through e-commerce integration. Importantly, compared to Native AR, a dedicated AR application is significantly more secure and stable, less susceptible to attacks or failures related to system updates.

Benefits of Augmented Reality (AR) Applications

Importantly, in the case of Native AR, the application must be tailored to operate on a specific operating system such as iOS or Android. However, a major advantage of native AR applications is their significantly better performance.

AR applications run on the operating system, allowing direct access to the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), which enables high-quality 3D models to be displayed on the user’s screen.

The application can also be equipped with unique and industry-specific features and sensors, such as gyroscope usage, plane tracking, acceleration, or orientation. These system-level operations make these functions in the application run much smoother.

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Web AR - Augmented Reality in a web browser

In Web AR, objects such as 3D models are displayed directly in a web browser. There’s no need to download a dedicated app from the App Store or Google Play. Any browser will work – Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or even Edge. The principle of Augmented Reality remains the same as in dedicated apps – both involve overlaying 3D virtual objects onto the real-world environment using a mobile device equipped with a camera. However, in Web AR, digital assets like 3D models are hosted on a website rather than stored locally within an app.

How does Web AR work?

When using Web AR (Augmented Reality), the user is redirected to a website where digital assets are stored. This redirection can occur through scanning a QR code, sharing a URL on social media, or embedding it on an existing webpage with a dedicated call-to-action button such as “View in AR” or “See in Augmented Reality” or “View in your environment”. There are many options available and they can be easily tailored to fit the application needs, site structure, campaign requirements, and customer preferences.

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Which Augmented Reality solution is the best?

It’s important for e-commerce analysts that Web AR, or Augmented Reality in the browser, doesn’t require additional analytic systems. Everything is contained within the website, so user behaviors are logged and analyzed using basic website analytics. Dedicated AR applications have their own reliable and precise analytics, which are highly detailed, but they can also be integrated with Google Analytics for comprehensive data from both sources.

Web AR also offers quick deployment and ease of implementation. Modern AR applications in the hands of skilled developers can be built and deployed in a similarly short timeframe.

Rapid deployment and ease of implementation: Web technologies have the power and flexibility to rapidly deploy and update features, much like WebAR, which relies on standard web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for development. This eliminates the need to depend on core platforms.

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Unique Features and Applications of Augmented Reality

AR offers many features and applications, providing unique opportunities. Here are the most popular ones:

Simultaneous Localization and Mapping, or SLAM, is a unique AR feature that allows a device using Augmented Reality to detect and identify its position in a real-world environment. This enables users to place objects, such as furniture, within their space, perfectly aligning with walls and the floor while maintaining accurate dimensions and positioning. This is achieved by calculating the spatial relationship between the 3D object and multiple key points in the environment.

Face tracking is an AR feature that underpins all social media filters, allowing for enhancements or distortions of the face, addition of fun elements, virtual makeup, or animated effects. Through machine learning, AR recognizes the face, its gestures, and key features, mapping characteristic points that correspond to the activated filter.

What is essential for Augmented Reality to work?

Both Web AR and Native AR require “content,” meaning the appropriate resources that can be displayed in Augmented Reality. These objects are typically 3D models of products or 2D and 3D filters for social media. It’s crucial that 3D models for Augmented Reality are properly prepared to ensure they provide the best possible representation of the product, accurately reflecting its actual features and size. Such 3D models must be created by an experienced 3D graphic designer who specializes in crafting these spatial objects. It is recommended to commission the preparation of digital 3D models to companies that focus exclusively on 3D and AR technologies, such as ARLITY.

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