How to kick-start your first mobile AR development project

1.) Get to grips with the market
2.) Extend your current desktop or mobile app into AR
3.) Think about an AR based innovation workshop
4.) Start with the end in mind
5.) Understand the commercial ROI of AR

In 2018 there’s a huge amount of buzz around Augmented Reality (AR) and it’s likely impact across multiple industry sectors. For businesses trying to understand the commercial potential of mobile AR, cutting through the hype can be tricky. It’s difficult to understand where the real value in AR lies for your business. Recent research published by The Digital Catapult indicates that the AR software market in the UK will be worth £1.2 billion by the year 2020. Some industry analysts are even suggesting that AR has the potential to spawn a multi-billion pound industry and that the technology could be as impactful as the advent of the desktop PC and the smartphone. So in order to help you navigate the essential facts, today we’re focusing on ‘How to kick-start your first mobile AR development project’:

1.) Get to grips with the market
On a global scale, the AR industry is currently growing at an astonishing pace, as businesses seek to assess the commercial opportunities and cross-sector ramifications of the technology. It’s estimated that between 2015 and 2016 the investment growth rate in AR technologies was over 300% (Realities Centre Immersive Sector Investment Trends Analysis). It’s also predicted that the AR sector will continue to expand by over 100% annually, every year between now and 2022 (Growth Enablers 2016 Market Pulse Report). If you’re a marketing manager or involved with technology development, this is likely to impact your software offering in some way and could even have profound ramifications for year business. Working out how to get started in AR can be challenging so it’s good to start thinking about these ramifications well ahead of the curve.

Once you’ve got to grips with the wider AR market, it’s time to start thinking about which platforms to develop for. We recently published how to develop an ARKit app in 5 easy steps and an essential breakdown of everything your business needs to know about Google ARCore. For example, if your mobile AR app is being designed and developed for a hazardous or offshore environment, you’ll need to create your mobile AR app for a ruggedised tablet or smartphone. Which platform you decide to develop for will be impacted by availability of ARKit and ARCore on the ruggedised device you need to target. Alternatively, if you’re building a consumer facing mobile AR app, you may want to reach as many existing mobile devices as possible. This would suggest a requirement to develop for both ARKit and ARCore, although the right platform will always depend on the commercial and technical goals of the project. If you’re interested in learning more, we recently published our top 5 mobile AR trends for 2018.

2.) Extend your current desktop or mobile app into AR
Mobile AR technology enables you to leverage untapped value in the smartphones camera. Developing a great mobile AR app is all about understanding how to leverage this value to the best of your ability. The best way to start the process is to analyse your current feature set and focus on where mobile AR can deliver the most value. If your business is retail, chances are you’re developing an application that enables prospective buyers to visualise 3D furniture objects in their intended natural environment. If your business is construction, or oil and gas, you might want to consider how AR can be used from an asset management perspective. If your business involves field worker operations, extending the functionality of a desktop or notebook app into AR seems like a natural fit. Ultimately, the size, shape, requirements and overall complexity of your mobile AR project will be driven by your industry type and the nature of your existing offering. There will be lucrative rewards for innovative and forward thinking companies who invest in AR early to get ahead of the competition.

3.) Think about an AR based innovation workshop
Whilst investor education is key in terms of developing the AR sector as a whole, what’s equally important is educating businesses in terms of how AR is likely to disrupt their respective industries. It’s also critical to start thinking about how AR can be used to create a compelling USP that puts your business light years ahead of its competition. There are many ways in which this exploratory process can take place and running an Augmented Reality innovation workshop can be a great place to start. AR innovation workshops offer a low cost, non-committal way of exploring the enormous potential of AR in relation to your company’s own software offering. Through a process of use case discovery, exploration, refinement and elaboration it’s easy to develop a compelling business case for AR in the shortest possible time scale. An Augmented Reality innovation workshop offers a great way to help refine your thinking around AR and what it means for your software offering in a low cost, zero-risk and non-committal way. AR innovation workshops enable you to diffuse AR based thinking directly into the heart of your company’s IT operation. The purpose of an innovation workshop is to equip you with all of the use case information you need to support the development of a wider AR POC or prototyping initiative.

4.) Start with the end in mind
If you’re a UK based company looking to discover the best Augmented Reality companies, there are a few things you must consider before engaging a prototype developer. Before you invest in a prototype or AR project, you must always start with the end in mind. This means you need to think about your high level KPI’s and how to measure the success of your project once it’s live, either in beta testing or a fully fledged commercial environment. Are you trying to generate new revenue streams by developing an AR app? Are you thinking about how AR can assist your business in cutting costs? Are you exploring the capabilities of AR from a process efficiency angle in terms of how it can help you to do the same job quicker or in a more effective way? These are all questions you need to consider before finding the best Augmented Reality developer for your project.

5.) Understand the commercial ROI of AR
From a realistic commercial perspective, it’s pertinent to note that IT spending in AR is still in its infancy. Similar to the rapid growth of the mobile app development sector nearly a decade ago, it takes time for large companies to understand the associated ROI when it comes to investing in AR and using it as a potential lever to extend the functionality of an existing piece of software, be it a mobile or web based desktop app. However, similar to the mobile development ecosystem this will change with time. Critics suggest that AR is impressive technology that’s looking for a problem to solve. Whilst there may be some truth in this viewpoint, it’s fair to say (especially if industry analyst reports are to be believed) that AR has the same disruptive potential and capabilities as mobile. With new and interesting AR companies cropping up all the time, it’s only a matter of months rather than years before AR starts to solve some of the big commercial challenges and this has nothing to do with games or entertainment. Here at Mozenix, we believe in the transformative impact of AR and the disruptive impact it’s liable to possess across multiple industry sectors. This transformative change will be driven on the basis that AR drives significant commercial benefits for SNE’s and enterprise alike. As the technology starts to mature and these benefits become more visible to business managers, it’s likely that IT spending on AR will start to increase significantly. If you’re interested in learning more, we’ve created a full breakdown of how to measure ROI on mobile AR.

Conclusion
If you’re thinking about developing a mobile AR application for ARKit or ARCore, there’s never been a better time to start. The key steps in getting something to market fast will involve understanding the market and which platforms to target, thinking about how you can extend your current software offering into AR and focusing on the commercial objectives of your project. If you’re in the early stages of planning a project, one great way to get started is to complete our AR readiness test. This will help refine your thinking in and around mobile AR in relation to your current software setup. If you’re ready to start the conversation now, contact us directly today. With offices located in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee, Mozenix are ideally situated to help take your AR journey to the next level. If you’re still unsure about the best approach to your AR project, it’s worth taking two minutes to explore our AR readiness test to help crystallise your AR thinking.