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In today’s digital economy, we see a constant rotation of new, innovative technology emerging on the market. While some platforms are built exclusively for consumers, others are designed with an enterprise purpose in mind. The most powerful pieces of technology, however, do both. And augmented reality (AR) is the perfect example.
Some of the biggest companies including Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, have been making hefty investments in AR in recent years. The newest framework, Apple’s ARKit, will have perhaps the most profound impact yet. The software, which will be available to hundreds of millions of iPad and iPhone users, will enable them to create unparalleled virtual experiences. Soon, users will be able to seamlessly blend digital objects and information with their surrounding environments, redefining the way people conduct their everyday lives – whether it be through consumer apps or platforms designed to transform business processes.
Bringing augmented reality to the masses
During the 2017 WWDC Keynote, Apple introduced ARKit for the first time. The company explained that it will be an integral core technology in the upcoming iOS 11 software update – making ARKit the largest AR platform in the world. The software, which will impose digital projections of objects into the physical world, will bring an immediate opportunity for innovation. The advanced functionalities will not only provide a launching point for developers, but it will allow the everyday user to incorporate AR into daily tasks, business processes, and more.
One of the most exciting features about the release of ARKit is that Apple is the first company to truly bring advanced augmented reality to the masses. With the launch of iOS 11, all iPhone and iPad users who upgrade their software will have instant access to true augmented reality applications. Overnight, hundreds of millions of people will have access to software that is capable of AR, in addition to the current AR user-base. ARKit will significantly grow the accessibility of AR technology, joining cutting-edge programs such as Google Tango, which is currently only available on AR-specific device Lenovo Phab 2.
Further, the release of ARKit presents insurmountable opportunities for developers to quickly and easily build AR applications. The prebuilt infrastructure enables them to surpass initial development stages, and focus on creating new features and engaging experiences. Previously, developers may have spent months designing surface-detection algorithms or depth-sensing features. With ARKit serving as a baseline, we’ll start to see the release of many consumer apps, surpassing the success of Pokémon Go, soon after Apple’s software is available to the general public.
Beyond serving as a starting point for consumer applications, ARKit will allow many companies to develop their own versions as well. Industries such as real estate and retail will elicit developers to build and perfect current platforms using ARKit to transform the customer experience.
Real estate AR apps, for example, will solve the visualization issue often associated with purchasing a new home. Too often, potential buyers turn down a property because they cannot envision themselves living in the space. Not before long, developers will begin to create, use and enhance current AR software, allowing real estate agents, potential buyers, and homeowners to overlay retail items and personal pieces of furniture, art, and furnishings onto a virtual image of a space. The advanced technology will redefine the industry, helping users to o create personalized room scenes and life-like, 3D-modeled digital content specific to their design preferences – eliminating any level of uncertainty.
The retail industry will also see a vast change in business strategies. To remain competitive in today’s digital-driven world, retailers must incorporate the newest technologies to enhance the customer experience. With the availability of AR through Apple’s new offering, we’re going to see an endless array of new retail digital services. One example of a current AR service: Wayfair’s AR app, WayfairView. The app supports more-informed shopping decisions by allowing consumers to virtually insert 3D-images of Wayfair’s products into their homes, ensuring they fit in the desired space and match the current décor.
Just the beginning
It’s evident through the release of Apple’s ARKit that augmented reality is here to stay. With the upcoming iOS 11 software update, AR will soon be at the fingertips of millions of people who otherwise would not have access. Not before long, developers will be able to build far more advanced frameworks, opening the door for immeasurable potential in previously untouched environments. While there’s still some improvements that can be made, such as ARKit’s detection of vertical planes, it will be very exciting to watch as the technology expands, launching AR into the masses and transforming a variety of industries.
Jan-Hein Pullens, co-founder and COO of roOomy, drives our innovative success to ensure roOomy continues to produce high quality products, and remain an international leader.
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