What is WebAR?
A new type of augmented reality solution for businesses
Augmented reality (AR) has come a long way since the early days of Pokémon Go, and WebAR is about to take things even further.
According to industry experts, AR has the power to change the world. WebAR, more specifically, has a low barrier to entry that allows clients to leverage the technology efficiently.
In a conversation during 2022’s XR Sumit, experts in WebAR explained how due to emerging demands for immersive content, there is a “huge need” for WebAR content.
WebAR’s surge is particularly noteworthy considering the emerging Metaverse technology trend. One of the biggest hurdles in Metaverse content creation is distribution, and flexible WebAR software development kits (SDK) assist firms in content distribution.
AR can also improve workplace training, collaboration, productivity, and performance thanks to its easy distribution. It also helps medical professionals provide better patient care. WebAR also allows businesses to engage with their customers unprecedentedly thanks to new ways for customers to interact with a brand campaign.
For example, GigXR distributes mixed reality (MR) content via a library of AR/MR healthcare training content. The firm works with international medical institutions to deploy shared immersive learning scenarios.
What is WebAR?
Businesses risk losing customer interest at the first hurdle by forcing people to use their data and storage space to download dedicated AR apps. And this is especially true for cold customers who have no prior relationship with or loyalty to the brand offering a dedicated AR application.
With WebAR, however, businesses can remove this inconvenience and provide accessible avenues for end-user to access AR immersive content. Rather than downloading dedicated apps, users can experience AR directly through their browser windows at the click of a button.
Accessible WebAR Content Creation
Niantic, Pokemon: GO’s developers, distributes and supports its WebAR SDK: Lightship for third-party developers. Niantic originally made its ARSDK private for internal use only. Although, following successful funding rounds, Niantic open its doors to encourage others to create on Lightship.
The ARSDK is incredibly accessible for bussing immersive content creators and companies looking to expand into new digital territories. Lightship is also gaining new tools and features constantly.
Over 2022, the firms acquired firms like 8th Wall and Scaniverse to increase the quality and reach of Lightship-developed projects. The ARSDK is ready for developers to distribute immersive content across various hardware.
Moreover, with the rise of multiple ARSDK and WebAR services, firms are developing interoperable AR content creation solutions.
GeeneeAR is a developer of a low-code immersive content creation suite. The firm’s WebAR SDK allows immersive content creators to develop, distribute, and monitor AR content across different platforms and hardware.
WebAR Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms, like WorldCAST for NuEyes smart glasses, promote content creation for education, tourism, and industry sectors.
What benefits does WebAR offer the enterprise?
Standard AR solutions offer businesses many opportunities to innovate and prosper. On the other hand, WebAR increases a firm’s immersive opportunities. Here are a few examples of the benefits businesses can gain by investing in a WebAR solution.
Increased user adoption
The best way for any company to reach a goal is by removing as many obstacles as possible. Downloading and saving apps requires time and effort on the user’s side. Even if an AR application is free, it still costs the users time.
WebAR removes the need to download an application. Therefore, users are likelier to engage with the platform as it costs them almost nothing.
As more people use an AR app, businesses can reach a wider audience and yield a better return from their AR investment.
More people using technology means more data, customer engagement, brand awareness, and value from an app that users can access quickly at any time with little effort.
Rather than wasting precious time and money rolling an AR app out over a network, WebAR allows developers to deploy immersive content via interoperable, accessible ARSDKs instantly.
WebAR solutions are borderless products that are accessible anytime and place without delay.
WebAR avenues also enable end-users to benefit from additional integrated immersive and smart tech.
Developers can integrate features like QR codes to attach content to a location. More accurately, many ARSDKs like Niantic’s Lightship also contain deep geo-tagging tools to connect WebAR content to a real-world location.
Additioanlly, when using smart glasses, frontline workers can access WebAR content, including material like design and repair documents. Combined with eye-tracking technology, frontline workers can access and navigate WebAR content without using their hands.
Moreover, Niantic and Qualcomm are developing a conceptual headset to distribute WebAR content in outdoor environments. The device will leverage Niantic’s Lightship Visual Positioning System (VPS) to optimize immersive content distribution.
Niantic’s device is also leveraging Qualcomm’s Snapdragon AR2 chipset, which improves a device’s performance with a small form factor.
Will all businesses use WebAR in the future?
While delivering AR through a web browser has benefits, doing so is not without limitations.
Performance quality may be lower than standard, downloadable AR solutions. Some WebAR content is only accessible via a limited number of smartphones and smart devices.
However, it is only a matter of time before developers find a way past these problems. Thanks to increasingly accessible design avenues, the WebAR market is ready for forward-thinking end-users.