Most people usually perceive augmented reality and virtual reality technology as something that is limited to sci-fi movies. This technology became truly mainstream, especially in India, when PokemonGo showed us the ability of AR in enhancing the gaming experience, and Oculus showed us how headsets can be transformed into something limitless. But today, one no longer needs to know the complicated language of Unity, Python or even C++ to get into this mysterious industry.
Market statistics state that the AR/VR industry is rapidly expanding into various sectors and industrial applications. This technology allows humans to actually feel the virtual world around them through interactive designs and gestures. According to a report, the AR and VR market is expected to reach $60.5 billion worldwide by the year 2023, growing at a CAGR of 40% during the forecast period from 2018 to 2023.
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Tuong Nguyen, a noted research analyst once told the media that VR has perhaps made the largest impact on the consumer side due to its popularity in gaming, whereas, the adoption of AR is growing exponentially in the enterprise sector.
Earlier this year, pop icon Madonna treated her fans with a first-of-its-kind stage show on the Billboard Music Awards, performing her latest single — Medellin, where according to news sources, five Madonnas appeared on the stage, where one was real and the rest of the four were digitally created with the help of augmented reality.
Brought to life with the help of Unreal Engine and Brainstorm’s InfinitySet combined with volumetric capture, these AR personas — not hologram and therefore not visible through naked eye, kept appearing on the stage at intervals during the performance. This augmented performance was handled by a relatively new UK-based AR company, Sequin.
Say No To Coding
In today’s competitive environment, it isn’t enough to grasp the audiences’ attention simply with a well-composed image or a well-shot video. And, therefore social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and now Facebook have started giving easier AR/ VR access to the users making it easier for them to create more engaging content. Even marketers are now using 360-degree videos, interactive polls, and innovative posts to create a long-lasting impression on their audience.
To involve more users and to make AR/ VR more accessible to people, the industry offers several tools and platforms that allow anybody to create any sort of interactive experience without any prior knowledge of coding. Whether one needs to make an education training video or an interactive business project or just to even enhance a game, modern AR/ VR tools allow users to dive into this mysterious world, minus the several years of specialised training.
With AR/ VR tools anyone can now build projects with interactive sessions, however, choosing the right one for the right project is the key aspect of the technology. Web-based platforms can be used to create 3D business presentations, however, one requires heavy software with better graphics for creating education-related projects or company training projects.
Facebook has recently released an augmented reality platform— Spark AR Studio, which allows companies and brands to easily create their own AR experiences without any necessary coding experience. Users can now upload their own custom made AR filters for their Instagram feed/ stories. According to a study, 42.9 million people were expected to use VR in 2019, and 68.7 million would have used AR at least once a month.
Another AR platform that is helping businesses to design smart city projects without coding is — WakingApp, an Israel-based AR studio with ARKit and ARCore to help builders and architects to create interactive projects for presentation. The application has currently tie-ups with Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard headsets, but it is soon expected to be commercially available and become compatible with all other major brands — such as HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. The application claims to provide an opportunity for businesses to develop augmented content without the help of developers, which in turn will cut down the time and cost for creating any content.
In India, a Chennai-based startup— Scapic is trying to revamp the industry of AR, by helping businesses with their augmented needs to market, sell and manage their products. Their cloud-based editor offers a suit with simple user-friendly tools helping in creating AR/ VR content without the knowledge of coding or 3D expertise.
In an interview, founder Sai Krishna VK mentioned, “The editor lets people create, share and explore immersive experiences, and provides a platform for building virtual/augmented/ mixed reality content easily. It will help to build the SaaS foundations of the next iteration of the internet broadly called the Immersive Web.” He believes immersive computing will remove the abstractions between people and computers and is the inevitable next step in the arc of computing interfaces. He further added, “Instead of staring at screens or constantly checking our phones, we’ll simply exist in the real and virtual worlds around us.”
With the gaining popularity of AR/ VR in India, there are several investors willing to invest their money and time on such startups. GridRaster Inc, a Bangalore-based startup, which provides VR and AR experiences on mobile devices recently raised $2 million from a group of venture capital firms. Shortly after that, cricketer Chris Gayle also picked up a minority stake in another Bengaluru-based AR startup FlippAR— an AR development service provider. He also invested a similar amount in another Bengaluru-based AR startup named IONA.
Another India-based company, placed in Gujarat—ShilpMIS Technologies has recently developed a cloud-based platform, Melzo, which provides DIY content creation solutions for VR environments. It allows users to create, discover, and share immersive content with the help of a drag-n-drop tool.
Sketchbox is another app, based out of San Francisco, aimed to help designers to create virtual and augmented reality experiences for its audience without typing a line of code. The goal of the app is to provide designers with an innovative tool to help them craft AR/ VR environments without the understanding of technical modelling tools.
It is a lofty boast, however definitely true that augmented and virtual reality space is widely favoured by a lot of companies, and eliminating the barriers of coding and the requirement of specialised developing skills will bring everybody into the game — from beginners to professionals, and revolutionise the computing aspect of businesses. It is also likely to have a seismic impact on what lies in the future of coders and developers.