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Which AR platform will follow in Metaio’s footsteps?

What if you were one of the early adopters of augmented reality? What if you believed this technology would be The Next Big Thing? What if you based your app and image recognition on Metaio?

Then you have your work cut out for you now. You need to migrate to another AR vendor as soon as possible. Fortunately quite a few are still available. We have Vuforia, Layar, Aurasma, Wikitude, CraftAR and DAQRI as platforms that all offer augmented reality services. Let’s take a look at the selection process for an augmented reality solution.

Selecting the best platform

Augmented Reality as a technology is not yet set in stone, so pricing is definitely not the only aspect to take into account when selecting your next AR solution provider. All solution providers do not offer the same features and possibilities and knowing the specific requirements for your implementation will help in selecting the best provider.
A solution provider impacts your project on different levels: first in the available features for user experience. Some claim to deliver augmented reality, but can only trigger off markers while others are already experimenting with triggering off video or 3D objects. And last, but not least, there is a huge difference in the level of support for development each of the providers offers. With some you can inform via email for the SDK, suggesting it is not the most used or strategically preferred way, while others have fully functional SDK’s online available with well-documented API’s for publication of your content.

Location, marker, image or object?

User experience in Augmented Reality can differ from AR provider to AR provider. First there is the question of the trigger for augmented reality. Do you use location, marker, image, object or video as an identifier for which content to show? Each has its pros and cons and the right choice completely depends on your project. E.g. we use gps-based triggering in the woodlands track app ‘Ons Bos’, since the mobile internet connection in the woodlands near the border is poor and, frankly put, one tree looks very much like the other. However, for our augmented reality projects for musea, we prefer to trigger off the actual objects, so we are able to present 3D content from whatever direction the user is scanning.

3D in augmented reality

The type of content you want to present in augmented reality can also limit your choice of solution provider. Streaming video for example is not an option that is available with all platforms. And 3D models often need to be in a specific format or they are limited in complexity through the number of allowed polygons or skins, so you might not be able to achieve the quality that you are aiming for.

Tracking the world

Thirdly, you have a choice in the way you track content in the augmented view. You can choose to use augmented reality only for image recognition and quickly convert users to your other online presences, or you can show the content in a blended view of the world: real life at digital content merge together to form one augmented view. Extend this augmented view through SLAM technology to be able to lose sight of the original trigger and look around you in the augmented world.

Technical requirements for augmented reality

Apart from the visible features of augmented reality there are also technical requirements that you need to take into account when you choose an AR solution provider: battery usage, bandwidth requirements, recognition quality and speed and content distribution model.
Specifically the latter highly impacts the user’s experience. Aurasma e.g. features a model where you can publish your content in their default channel. This ensures optimal user experience: targets are recognized without users having to subscribe to channels or perform other manual steps. Aurasma also optimizes latency by storing AR content on your device. So after you have scanned a target once the AR content is triggered instantaneously. The only way to realize this instant experience on other platforms is to use on-device recognition with your own branded app using an SDK.

The next ‘Metaio’

How will you ensure that you will not select another Metaio? How will you avoid spending time and budget on a migration to another vendor only to have to migrate again in the near future? The risk that the platform you select will be swept off the market is still present and over the last 3 years we have seen more than one take-over or pricing model explosion.

We have 1 tip: make absolutely sure that you are in complete control of your content.

— More to come in the next blog–

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