The growth in augmented reality technology has been increasing through the years. Commercial use of this technology has exploded because big market leaders like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon. This is a great opportunity to dive into this trend and see how effective augmented reality is in 2021.
1. Mobile AR: Apple ARKit 4, Google ARCore
Apple has recently released the latest version of its open-source augmented reality development tool, the ARKit 4. The newest advances include location anchors, a new depth API, and improved face tracking. This will allow Apple’s ARkit developers to tap into the power of the latest iPhone’s LiDAR hardware.
With Google, ARCore is innovating with the introduction of publicly-made Street View photos. As long as an Android user has an ARCore-capable smartphone, Google will accept submissions for Street View photos. It has been seen to have improved enough that Google feels confident that smartphones can take the photos necessary to incorporate with Google Maps and to add these images alongside photos taken by more specialized equipment.
2. AR in Shopping and Retail
An important trend in the retail industry is to give consumers a virtual option to shop, just like American Apparel, Uniqlo, Lacoste, Kohls, and Sephora do. Virtual fitting rooms have been made available. This allows customers to gain a try-before-you-buy experience from home. Augmented Reality has helped consumers make purchases and has been a helpful tool because of the social distancing policies that affected retail during the COVID-19 pandemic. AR is in a great position to resolve this problem.
3. Utilizing AR for Navigation
AR for indoor navigation has been on the rise. There is a wide range of tools that can be used to enhance this experience at different scales like Bluetooth beacons, ceiling antennas, and QR codes. This can help customers find exactly what they are looking for while shopping in person.
4. Augmented Reality Relies on Artificial Intelligence
The role of artificial intelligence in augmented reality is important because augmented reality software simply cannot rely solely on human programming to display virtual objects against a real-world backdrop. Neural networks and machine learning can accomplish these tasks with far higher efficiency and can improve augmented reality experiences drastically.
It is also worth noting that machine learning and artificial intelligence cannot function without a strong team of data science engineers. Analysis and collection of training data are important to the success of a machine learning program designed to support AR software.
5. Remote Assistance and Virtual Manuals
Because of the increase in telework, new solutions are needed to maintain the efficiency of certain professions that formerly operated in-person. Augmented reality can now allow IT technicians to give guidance to customers using on-screen directions. As the customer holds their smartphone camera up to a computer in need of service, the technician can draw over the screen to direct the customer to certain points of interest.
There is another way, which is WebRTC. This allows for both parties to connect to one another and see the same AR experience via a peer-to-peer connection.