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Why Web AR Applications Are Better Than Regular AR Apps

One popular method of combining digital graphics with what we see in the real world is called “augmented reality” (AR). There are typically two ways augmented reality is delivered: through specialized apps or through the web browser (WebAR). There is a bit of a shift going on between these two methods, and one has emerged on top for all the right reasons.

The use of augmented reality has seen phenomenal growth in the last few years. The number of people using mobile augmented reality is expected to rise to 1.7 billion by the end of the forecasted period. From 2015’s 200 million users, this is a staggering increase of 1.5 billion. As a subset of XR, the AR market is projected to grow from $30 billion in 2018 to $300 billion in 2024. This growth will be driven mainly by the advent of VR and MR, two other XR technologies.

Web augmented reality (WebAR) and augmented reality (AR) apps are on the cusp of becoming the next big thing in the tech space, but there are some very important distinctions between the two.

What Is WebAR?

Web AR, or web-based augmented reality, refers to the generation of AR through the use of online standards. All that is required is access to the internet via a web browser on the user’s Smartphone or other devices, and everything is done in real-time. End users do not need to install any special software because the most popular platforms already support the technology.

Web AR applications can be used with any browser, OS, or computer configuration. Therefore, there is no longer any need to acquire specialized applications. Studies suggest that user engagement decreases by as much as 50% when consumers are required to complete a download. Thus, this is a crucial factor to keep in mind. As a result, after the initial experience, just 25% of users stick around to explore further.

Anywhere that there is an internet connection, a QR code, or an NFC tag, a user can access a Web AR experience. That way, consumers can enjoy augmented reality experiences on various mobile devices and browsers without the need for downloading a separate app. This wide availability implies that WebAR can reach twice as many mobile devices as its app-based alternative. This facilitates user access and increases content creator exposure.

IKEA AR

The market is booming as a result of AR’s reach. Ikea, a Swedish furniture company, uses augmented reality to allow consumers to sample how furniture would look in their homes using Smartphone’s before making a purchase. The potential increase in sales via augmented reality has been referred to by Ikea’s head of digital transformation, Michael Valdsgaard, as a “dream scenario.”

“Most people put off making a purchase because they don’t feel confident in their ability to decide if the color will go with [the rest of the room] or if it suits the style. We can now put such solutions in their hands and allow them to enjoy free, hassle-free fun with home decor.

The same method can be applied to nearly any good or service, including food, drink, apparel, and accessories. WebAR is an easy and enjoyable method of audience engagement that uses Augmented Reality on the web. Web AR is on track to become a vital component of the internet and the economy as money pours in.

So, what exactly are augmented reality apps?

Augmented reality apps: Applications that utilize Augmented Reality technology are called “AR apps” and can be downloaded on mobile devices like the iPhone and Android. Compared to Web AR, the cost of developing an augmented reality app can be higher.

Multiple platforms exist within which augmented reality apps can be developed. Apple and Android versions for their mobile operating systems and universal JavaScript ones are all available. These frameworks can be used to create a unique augmented reality app.

Not only is augmented reality app development typically a bit more expensive, but they also have the potential to disrupt the user experience. Users are required to download and install an augmented reality app. When it comes to taking up space on a device and when you begin to factor in the effort that comes with downloading a stand alone app, you have pretty much lost a good percentage of prospective consumers. All because you require the user to download an app to enjoy the augmented reality experience.

In some instances, there are ways to complete a project using AR applications or Web AR despite the fact that they primarily differ “under the hood”. For instance, while Web AR may provide a lot of the same offering using its features, AR app frameworks provide a bit more functionality and detail when it comes to the actual experience. With it being an app that is downloaded with a large proportion of the information stored directly on the device, AR apps have the ability to use more of a mobile device’s hardware to deliver a richer experience, such as graphics co-processors.

To provide the same AR experiences, developers may use either bespoke AR applications or a Web AR solution. The method and the platforms through which a user accesses the AR experience is predominantly the key differentiator. Initially, augmented reality applications were the standard for creating these AR experiences. However now with the advancements in both mobile technology and general internet speeds, Web AR has come along and widened the realm of possibilities.

Web AR

Top WebAR Advantages

Activating Web AR doesn’t require any technical expertise or experience, not that most people don’t know how to download an app, but for sure everyone knows how to follow a link through their browser. Typically, all the user needs to get started is a QR code that sends them directly to the web-based AR platform. Web AR is generally less expensive, requires no upgrades, and is simpler to create, manage, and track using analytics.

  1. WebAR Works with most web browsers:

People will most likely use and already have the browsers that operate Web AR. Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and other browsers all support running Web AR experiences. It is a lot more accessible as a result than downloaded programs. Web AR is already supported by almost 3.5 billion Android and Apple devices.

Web AR is significantly easier to develop because it works in any browser. You only need to make the experience once to have it work across all devices and browsers. Creating a new app for each platform you want to support is no longer necessary. The only thing your users need to do to enter your Web AR world visits your website. Users on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android have the same Augmented Reality experience when they click a link in Firefox or scan a QR code with Safari.

Customers can choose from various additional entry points into Web AR experiences, which you can provide. Include near-field communication (NFC) chips in your products, send customers brief URLs or SMS messages, or provide links from social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

  1. Web AR, there are no downloads required, and the users will have no problems using this

There is a reluctance to install software on mobile devices because of security concerns and the fear that a single-use program will take up too much space. Web AR is resistant to this resistance because it does not require any downloads, while many augmented reality apps suffer.

With Web AR, users only need to take two actions (start the Web AR experience and then grant camera access) instead of the typical six actions that are required in order for a user to download apps. Because of how much simpler it is, ultimately more people will utilize your Augmented Reality application. You should aim for maximum adoption, and the accessibility of Web AR certainly helps to facilitate this.

Web AR applications are gaining popularity quickly in the market since it is similar to augmented reality (AR) apps but does not require further downloads. Developers widely acknowledge the requirement to download and install an app as the most significant barrier to widespread use. The fact that no files need to be downloaded makes Web AR easier to roll out quickly. Unlike with some AR solutions, users won’t have to wait for a lengthy download to complete before they can start using the product. Instead, consumers need only click a link on their device to embark on their augmented reality adventure.

Users also don’t have to worry about keeping their apps up-to-date because of WebAR. It’s annoying to users when programs they’re using require regular updates that they usually find out about when trying to actually use the app. There will be no more mandatory upgrades with a Web AR application.  Instead, add new content to your website automatically, so users don’t have to take action or experience downtime.

Everyone who engages with your Web AR application will be exposed to the most recent version of your data. The software they’re using will be the most cutting edge since it’s the browser they’re already familiar with, but that’s beside the point. Comparing Web AR to downloadable AR programs that users would need to update regularly, it’s clear that WebAR provides a more convenient and secure experience for consumers.

  1. Simplified Analytical Tracking

Web-based Augmented Reality (Web AR) allows you to track metrics like user engagement and demographics quite easily. Information like this is pretty crucial for learning more about your audience and how they interact with the material you provide. RPR provides a Google Analytics-compatible bespoke analytics dashboard here.

Web augmented reality analytics provide the data you need to measure the success of your advertising campaigns. More in-depth metrics like dwell time (how long users engage with the experience) and geographical analytics are also available for your Web AR projects, in addition to the standard metrics like likes and shares (which areas of a scene people use).

Pageviews: The foundation of any analytics report will always include  pageviews or the act of a browser loading a page on your site. Each time the page is loaded, including when it is refreshed, it is considered a separate view. A user’s frequency and return rate can be tracked by tracking the number of pages they view from the same IP address. How often do individuals view your content, if at all? How many clicks do you get each link/Scan? Using this information, we can estimate the Web AR experience’s potential for re-play. A higher rate of return means that the money spent on the Web AR experience was well worth it.

Dwell time: In addition to views and click-through rate, dwell time is a strong indicator of how engaging your AR material is. What percentage of people who start a five-minute Web AR session end up playing the whole thing to the end? People typically spend two minutes engaging with Web AR content. In general, a higher percentage of time spent on a page is indicative of more engaging content.

Engagement Rate: The level of engagement with Web AR applications are a social indicator for gauging how exciting and valuable that content is. The entire number of likes, shares, and comments is divided by the number of followers, and that figure is then multiplied by 100 to arrive at the percentage of engagement. Compared to absolute measures like likes, shares, and comments, this provides a better, more precise gauge of content performance. As a result, social acts may be measured consistently, facilitating cross-cultural comparisons.

Audience Engagement Survey: You can use the data from audience engagement surveys to inform your future work. The most effective channels can then be prioritized. As well as increasing conversion rates, web augmented reality boosts average dwell duration. Web AR helps potential buyers relate more closely to items and gain more favorable impressions of the brands involved. More than ever, companies of all sizes are using virtual and augmented reality to boost their brand recognition.

Spatial Analytics: Specifically for AR and VR, there is a new measurement category called spatial analytics. It uses information from users fully involved in the experience, tracking how much time is spent on particular places or items in the environment. You can see which content is exciting and engaging by looking at the summary statistics. With this information at your disposal, you may make the required adjustments to improve the user experience.

Analytics information from Google is used in WebAR experiences, including the total number of visits, the percentage of unique visitors, and the percentage of users who have been granted access to their cameras. Using these tidbits, you may create a complete portrait of your audience. In one scenario, a search engine may send you a few hundred visitors who each generate thousands of page views. In another scenario, a single visitor may generate tens of thousands of pageviews from various sources.

Since the Web AR experience is camera-dependent, the adoption rate may be calculated with pinpoint accuracy from the number of visitors who opt to share their camera data. Refusing to grant permission to use the camera is the same as giving up on the experience before it even begins.

With the use of analytics, you may find out if you have a lot of visitors who aren’t very engaged, a small number of highly engaged visitors, or a large number of unique visitors who are engaged but just interested in a subset of your spatial assets. Putting these observations together, you have the data you need to improve your AR products.

  1. Quick Installation

Compared to building dedicated augmented reality apps, creating a Web AR experience is generally a faster process. Web AR development tends to follow the traditional process of custom web development SDKs and libraries that provide the additional functionality required to deliver an AR experience.

But making specialized augmented reality apps calls for a bit more time to be spent on the code and platform-specific libraries. Again if it needs to function for both iOS and Android then that is basically two totally separate builds. Costs and difficulties would increase with this method due to the necessity of testing and distributing the app. You can start small and build on your experience with Web AR.

Web AR’s compatibility with other solutions is facilitated by its use of already established web standards. AJAX, for instance, enables developers to make instantaneous changes to a website, while social media application programming interfaces (APIs) allow for user authentication and easy sharing.

  1. Save Money and Require Little Maintenance

Web AR is easier to develop and maintain and costs far less than dedicated augmented reality apps. The development and upkeep of Web AR applications is much less laborious than traditional AR apps; the necessary infrastructure is already in place so that developers can focus on content creation.

Web AR keeps the essential elements of Augmented Reality, such as 3D animations and portals, while being cheaper and easier to maintain. When compared to the free and open source capabilities of a modern web browser, the high price tag of traditional augmented reality apps is mostly attributable to the time and money spent on creating and maintaining a complicated program.

The upfront and ongoing expenditures of creating a Web AR experience are much lower than those of creating typical augmented reality software. The money you save can be used to hire more writers or to buy new equipment, or for a surprise Christmas party.

Is There a Cost to Using web AR applications?

As great as Web AR applications are, they are not without their flaws, but that is really to be expected with any new technology. Due to the browser’s limited resources, web-based augmented reality experiences may lack some of the bells and whistles of native AR apps. Despite this, WebAR has adequate support for most of the functions that you would need to deliver a memorable experience.

Due to WebAR’s slightly increased latency compared to conventional apps, some scenes may appear less responsive than they are. This shouldn’t be too difficult with today’s technology and network speeds. Given the right circumstances, an augmented reality app’s direct hardware access can be just as useful as the augmented reality itself, allowing for user interface aspects typically blocked by web browsers.

WebAR experiences, because of hardware and network resource limitations, are typically shorter and less detailed than those provided by standard augmented reality (AR) apps. More expensive augmented reality app development may be preferable for more complex situations.

If you are interested in using web AR applications to reach your audience in a new and more memorable way, get in touch! We can provide a free consultation to walk you through the process and help you determine which approach is going to be best suited for your needs and what you are looking to achieve as a result of this activation.

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