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what is ar

What is AR?

Estimated read time: 6 minutes

Do you want to know what is AR technology? Read on as we discuss augmented reality technology in detail.

AR is a modern technology, which helps in integrating digital information with the actual environment of users. AR systems achieve this integration in real-time.

The following quick facts about augmented reality are relevant here:

Thomas Caudell, a researcher with Boeing came up with the term “Augmented Reality” in 1990.

A very popular example of augmented reality is the heads-up display in automobile windshields.

AR developers write AR apps using special 3D programs, and they integrate contextual digital information in software with an AR “marker” in the real world.

You can read “Marker – Augmented Reality” to learn more about augmented reality markers.

AR markers are visual cues, and these trigger the display of the above-mentioned digital information. Markers can be images or small objects.

Developers “train” the app to recognize them in the camera stream, therefore, the camera sends information about the marker to the app.

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This information stream includes the position, scale, and rotation of the marker.

The augmented reality app then processes the information feed from the marker, and it places the appropriate images in a layer on top of the image of the actual environment.

You can learn more about augmented reality in “augmented reality (AR)”.

What makes AR so powerful?

The wide range of images or other contextual information that AR apps can process makes AR quite powerful. An augmented reality app could potentially work in one or more of the following ways:

Framemarkers: The app will recognize rectangles in pictures.

Image/NFT: In this case, the app will use a “Natural Feature Tracking” (NFT) marker. These are images, without the need for a black border.

GPS markers: Users’ GPS location is the marker in this case.

Object markers: The app can use small objects as 3D markers.

Marker-less tracking: This is a more advanced form of AR, where the application recognizes things without being “trained” with that before.

There are other ways in which an AR app could work, e.g., processing multi markers, RFID tags, etc. You can read about it in this Stack Overflow Q&A thread. As you can see, augmented reality is a versatile technology!

The market for augmented reality

As more and more businesses discover the value augmented reality offers, the market for technology is growing. The following statistics illustrate this:

From $3.5 billion, the global market for augmented reality will likely reach a whopping $90.8 billion by 2028, according to a GlobalNewsWire report.

Industry observers estimate that there will be 1.7 billion AR devices by 2024, moreover, AR revenues will surpass “Virtual Reality” (VR) revenues by then.

70% of consumers think that augmented reality is beneficial, and the market is responding to this sentiment. AngelList, the leading platform for American start-ups lists 1,684 augmented reality start-ups and 2,113 investors.

Media planners are bullish about AR, and 67% of them want augmented reality in their digital advertisement campaigns. Read more about these statistics in “20 augmented reality stats”.

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AR: A technology that doesn’t cost too much!

AR is quite powerful, however, it doesn’t cost too much! The budget requirements for developing augmented reality apps are reasonable, and the typical development schedule doesn’t stretch too long.

You can read more about these advantages in “Buzzword decoder: Embedded augmented reality markers and markerless AR”.

There are several reasons behind the reasonable cost of Augmented Reality, e.g.:

Developers most often create Augmented Reality apps for mobile phones, and there are cost-effective ways to develop mobile apps.

They might build native mobile apps using the ARCore framework for Android or ARKit framework for iOS.

Programmers can use Android and iOS “Software Development Kits” (SDKs) such as the ones offered by Vuforia.

AR developers can also use Unity, a popular game engine, and develop cross-platform Augmented Reality apps.

You can read this Quora Q&A thread to understand these reasons in-depth.

The notable enterprise augmented reality use cases

There are important enterprise augmented reality use cases, e.g.:

Medical training: Medical students can get significant benefits from augmented reality in business. Learning to operate complicated medical equipment, or learning complex surgeries become easier with it.

Repair and maintenance of complex equipment: Maintenance personnel is nowadays using AR headsets and glasses to perform their job, and they get highly useful information.

AR headsets and glasses also suggest potential fixes.

Interior design and architecture: AR is helping interior design professionals and architects to visualize their designs, moreover, they can make virtual changes.

I have explained this use case earlier in “How to build a home design app like Design This Home”.

Tourism: Travel and tourism businesses can use AR to enable users to have an immersive experience of their destinations via a head-up display or AR-enabled glasses like Google glass before they travel.

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Entertainment: We all know about the famous AR game Pokémon Go. Entertainment brands can use AR to give an immersive experience to their viewers, which increases user engagement in a real environment.

You can read about more real-world augmented reality use cases in “10 real use cases for augmented reality”.

Final Thoughts

Are you ready to invest in the lucrative augmented reality industry given the rate of its expansion and its expected growth in the coming years?

Do you want to develop AR software to take advantage of the lucrative industry opportunities?

AR is a developing technology like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, etc.

You will need a professional team experienced in using AR technology and supporting hardware like head-mounted displays, AR content development tools, etc.

Read our blog on how to partner with a development company for your AR application project.

If you are still looking for talented developers for your current team, you can enhance it by outsourcing top-quality developers from DevTeam.Space.

You can either outsource a complete software development project or hire software developers according to your project and team requirements.

Get in touch with us via this form, and one of our account managers will get back to you to discuss in detail how our field-expert community of developers and managers can help you with developing an AR application with your own AR content.


1. What is AR?

Augmented reality is the integration of digital information with the user’s surroundings in real time. It adds generated perpetual information over the real-world environment.

2. What is augmented reality used for?

AR is used for a number of reasons, like collecting unique user data, selling products and services, launching marketing campaigns, etc.

3. What are AR and VR?

Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies help integrate digital environments and the physical world. VR creates a virtual experience for users that they experience through VR headsets and VR devices. Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality enhances the existing real-world environment and real-world objects with digital content using an AR device.


Alexey Semeney

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