How AR and AI Work Together to Build Unique Mobile Experiences?
The intriguing partnership of Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a match made in the digital heaven. An AR application can become more beneficial when AI is incorporated into it. The natural bridging of AR and AI enables mobile app developers to build more interactive and intriguing apps. This article explores a few practical ways in which AR and AI can be combined to build incredible mobile experiences.
Ways AI and AR Complement Each Other
The partnership between AR and AI is likely to have a profound impact on customer experience. Companies are developing next-generation applications for mobiles that employ AR and AI technologies. In fact, AI is the heart of practically all AR platforms.
Though Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality have distinct technologies, they can sync with one another on a variety of applications. They can leverage each other’s best features and aspects to build innovative mobile experiences. AI enables AR to have a multidimensional interaction with the physical environment. It allows you to manipulate 2D and 3D virtual objects with your words, eyes, and hands.
It is anticipated that the demand for AR-based apps is bound to soar in the next four to five years. Hence, the search for appropriate Software Development Kits (SDK) and Application Program Interfaces (API) for AI and AR is ongoing.
Current State of SDKs and APIs for AR and AI
As the capabilities of current SDKs (Software Development Kits) and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) rapidly expand, the number of commercial opportunities increase exponentially. Consider a few examples:
- Vuforia: This is an Augmented Reality SDK that enables app developers to build mobile-centric, immersive AR experiences. It is capable of supporting both iOS and Android devices, allowing brands to develop apps with minimal commercial and technical risks.
- ARCore: This is Google’s proprietary AR SDK. It enables developers to get their AR apps up and running on mobile devices. ARCore supports iOS devices and allows developers to build rich and immersive AR experiences supported by mobile devices.
- Core ML: This is a Machine Learning framework used across multiple Apple devices. This API allows you to perform real-time predictions of live images on your device. Its low latency and near real-time results are its biggest advantages. Core ML is an application that can be run without network connections.
- TensorFlow Lite: This is an open-source deep learning framework focused on mobile device inference. TensorFlow Lite enables developers to insert their own custom models.
Practical Ways to Combine AR and AI
The marriage of AR and AI opens up endless opportunities. Here are a few ways in which this combination is deployed to create digital miracles.
1. Speech Recognition: As an AI model listens to what you say, AR effects appear in front of you. An example would be when you say ‘pizza,’ a virtual pizza slice appears in front of your mouth on the app screen.
2. Image Recognition and Image Tracking: It allows customers to see how an object would look and fit in a given space. Combining AR with AI technology allows users to move still photos of items into a still image of a room and assists them in making a decision. Example: the popular IKEA Place.
3. Human Pose Estimation: It is a technique that detects human figures and poses. It predicts the positions of a person’s joints in an image or video. This can be used in controlling AR content. Yopuppet.com is one example.
4. Education: It allows students to gain new perspectives by interacting with virtual reality. For example, they can visualize and interact with a 3D life-size version of the human body.
5. Recognizing and Labelling: When the camera is pointed to a scene or an image, the AR app displays a label that indicates the object or the item when it recognizes it.
6. Car Recognition: Using a smartphone camera, this tech-application allows its customers to sit inside the car and explore the car’s interiors. There isn’t even a need to download the application.
7. Object Detection: AR-AI combination can be applied to automatically learn and detect the position and extent of the objects within an image or a video. This mobile-friendly model facilitates interaction between physical and digital objects.
The bridging of AR and AI is offering businesses an opportunity to empower their customers with ways to sharing information in captivating ways. Together, AR and AI continue to enhance mobile experiences, enabling developers to design richer, more intuitive, and relevant experiences for their diverse consumers in numerous ways.
2020 forever changed the trajectory of digital transformation in every business, in every industry. As the global pandemic endured, customers prioritized their health and safety, and embraced digital-first shopping behaviours. With every consumer click, tap, and swipe, businesses were forced to advance their experience.
Innovators, however, must look beyond digitization, basic ecommerce, and ordinary digital engagement, to differentiate, and create sought after value. Augmented reality, and mixed reality overall, represents a unique accelerant to deliver new experiences, awaken the senses, online and IRL (in real life), and enhance engagement throughout the customer’s journey. Augmented reality represents an immediate opportunity to enrich shopping experiences.
AR for an Enhanced Experience
With AR, brands have a novel opportunity to deliver value-added experiences, beyond shiny object syndrome. Through augmented reality, brands and retailers can unlock a new dimension to digital and physical shopping where products and experiences are brought to life. These experiences can come to life at home, in-store, or anywhere. All it takes is imagination and innovation.
A recent study found that 63% of consumers believe AR will transform their shopping experience and 61% indicated that they would prefer to make purchases on sites that offer AR technology. More so, 70% of consumers reported that they would be more loyal to brands incorporating AR as part of their shopping experience.
The stores as we know are changing with AR. These will allow customers to engage in ways unknown and help retailers generate leads in better and optimized ways. This includes revamped trail rooms, trial rides for cars and more. You could even share them over with your friends with just one tap!
AR in Ecommerce Today
IKEA paved the way for AR commerce by helping customers move beyond imagining what furniture could look like in their spaces. Launched in 2017, the IKEA Place app helps customers visualize products from its catalogue, through AR, at true scale, within any space.
Following the popularity of the IKEAs AR app, a handful of innovative brands have continued to demonstrate the promise of AR in online and in-store shopping.
For example, Nike brought AR to the footwear and clothing categories. The experience uses AR to scan the customers’ feet and find the right shoe for them. From scanning your feet to finding the perfect size, the process takes less than one minute.
Warby Parker is innovating the way customers try on glasses with their at-home try-on AR experience through their mobile app. When a customer enters the “try on” area of the app, they simply flip their phone to selfie mode and select the frames they want to see on their face. While other glasses brands have tried AR, Warby Parker has paved the way with a real-time selection of frames.
Walmart is using AR to interact with their customers on their shelves through a range of display options of hair colour and recommended shades that customers can try on in real-time. Once a user scans the barcode provided, their camera opens to try on all options. Walmart is the first retailer to implement brick-and-mortar AR for their stores to enhance in-store experiences.
AR also is getting a big boost from one of the most revered, market-making innovators in the game. In 2020, Apple entered the mix, mixed reality that is, with the integration of LiDAR scanners in higher-end iPhone and iPad models. These new cameras will give consumers the ability to scan and also virtually imprint vivid 3D images into online and real-world experiences. Apple also launched what it refers to as the “world’s largest AR platform,” giving developers the tools they need to develop and market compelling AR experiences. AR doesn’t just mean augmented visualization. The company also introduced spatial audio capabilities in its most recent AirPods Pro and Max lines, which sets the stage for immersive, integrated audio and video virtual experiences.
Even in the early days of COVID-19, the market size for AR was estimated at almost $19 billion by 2023. With the pandemic lingering, consumer adoption of ecommerce and online shopping will only continue to gain momentum. This definitely is AR’s moment.
Retailers and brands must think beyond traditional retail, commerce, and even legacy spatial design. Innovators must reimagine customer engagement and CX through a lens of next-generation experience architecture, one that augments, enhances, and blurs the line between physical and digital (#PhyDi) worlds.
AR represents an opportunity for experience architects to imagine and enliven innovative, value-added, and engaging new worlds. Amazing, productive AR experiences represent a competitive advantage and a promise to drive growth by increasing customer engagement, attracting new shoppers, and boosting conversion rates.
Whether you are already an experienced developer or just starting out, if you want to become really good in this industry, you need to constantly sharpen your skills to stay relevant. Here are some of the most valuable developer skills to tackle this year.
Of course, you won’t need all of them and this list isn’t complete. But it should give you a good idea of what to learn next or what to improve on.
1. Practice Coding Every Day
Even if it’s for only 30 minutes. This will help you learn the best development practices and grow your skills. It will also help you stay in top form and master new technologies.
2. Learn To Be A Good Communicator (Both While Writing And Speaking)
You don’t need to speak English like a native speaker, but you do need good enough communication skills to help clients understand what you are saying. Whether it’s in meetings, emails, or even on the phone, you don’t want to lose a client because they couldn’t understand your words. Also, good speaking and writing skills help make you stand out from other developers.
3. Practice Object-Oriented Design Principles
Even if you just started programming, learning OOP will give you many benefits over time. It will also make it much easier for you to read other people’s code, which is essential when working with other developers and your team members.
4. Learn How To Use Version Control Systems (e.g. Git) Effectively
Version control systems are essential for any developer who works on multiple projects simultaneously or collaborates with other developers on projects.
5. Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills
Software development is a complex field. You’ll be exposed to many different problems and tasks during your career. Make sure you can solve them effectively by learning how to think like a developer.
6. Learn How To Use Design Tools Such As Photoshop, Sketch, And Illustrator
Good-looking websites and apps are essential if you want to create high-quality products that users love. While it’s possible to learn how to design using tutorials and YouTube videos, most of the time, you will need some formal training in this area when you start working on real projects.
7. Keep Learning New Technologies And Languages
Don’t get stuck on one stack! Learning new languages and frameworks will help you stay employable in this industry. If you have had the same stack for a long time, then there is a good chance that your skills will become obsolete over time. Always try to stay up to date with the newest technologies used by top developers around the world.
8. Learn At Least One Scripting Language (e.g. Python)
Scripting languages are useful for automating repetitive tasks. Even if you don’t want to become a full-time developer, scripting can make your life easier as a software engineer.
9. Learn How To Write Clean And Maintainable Code
You will have to spend lots of time reading other people’s code. If the code is not clean, then it will be very hard for you to understand what’s going on. So you must write clean and readable code yourself.
One way to improve your coding skills is by writing unit tests (e.g. by using JUnit). This will help you catch bugs early in the development process. Also, try to keep your methods short so it will be easier to read them later when you need to come back and fix something in the project that you wrote months ago.
10. Learn To Think Ahead And Plan Out How A Feature Should Work Before You Start Developing It
It takes time to go from writing an initial idea for a feature/product/bug fix to having that feature ready on the market. You need to be able to think ahead and make sure that everything fits together properly during this whole process (and also after). This includes planning with your team members, asking users what they want, talking with stakeholders about their requirements, etc. Don’t just start coding things without thinking first!
11. Learn How To Implement Security Measures Properly
There is a lot of information out there about security, and it’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed. Make sure that you go beyond the obvious like ‘make sure your password is strong enough’ and learn more about security threats and how to fix them.
12. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions
Asking questions is a great way to learn. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to assume that you know everything. Many developers tend to think that asking for help is a sign of weakness, but it’s actually a sign of strength. If you don’t understand something, ask someone who does and then try to figure it out yourself as well. This will help you gain a deeper understanding of the topic in question.
13. Learn How To Work With Different Environments (Mac, Linux, Windows)
You don’t have to become an expert in all platforms, but you should know how they work and what their pros and cons are. Also, knowing how different development environments work will allow you to save time when switching between them. For example, developing an Android app on Windows or Mac will force you to change your workflow since the process is quite different from using Linux or Ubuntu.
14. Practice Pair Programming Regularly With Your Team Members (or Others)
Pair programming means two people working together on one computer at the same time — one person sitting behind the keyboard writing code while the other person observes and gives feedback/suggestions/code reviews, etc.
Pair programming has many benefits, including a better understanding of the problem domain, sharing knowledge and ideas between team members, faster debugging, etc. It also allows developers to get comfortable with each other through regular communication and helps team members build trust towards each other, which greatly improves teamwork.
15. Understand Design Patterns (SOLID Principles And Object-Oriented Design Patterns)
You don’t have to know every single pattern by heart, but understanding what they are will help you a lot as a software developer. Object-oriented design patterns are used repeatedly in different frameworks and technologies, so understanding them will be extremely useful for your job as a software developer.
The SOLID principles guide us when writing code:
- Single-responsibility principle
- Open/closed principle
- Liskov substitution principle
- Interface segregation principle
- Dependency inversion principle
16. Learn How To Deal With Change As A Software Developer
When working on new projects or even when working with existing code base, things change from time to time (and not always because we want them to). You need to constantly adapt to these changes if you’re going to continue being productive in this business. If you cannot handle change well, you will eventually get stuck with outdated skills that won’t help you much anymore.
17. Learn How To Put Yourself In Other People’s Shoes
This is a beneficial skill in the software development industry. You need to learn how to see things through your client’s eyes and try to understand what they want or need. You need to communicate with them and make sure you deliver what they want.
18. Learn About Business Processes And Soft Skills
It doesn’t matter if you work for yourself or for another company. You must understand business processes and soft skills like communication, time management, problem-solving, and more. These are all crucial skills that will make you stand out from other developers who don’t know anything about this stuff.
19. Learn How To Deal With Deadlines
Everybody knows that projects sometimes run late and deadlines are not met. As a developer, you need to learn how to meet deadlines by setting smaller checkpoints in your projects that you can check off as you go. This will help you be more efficient and get the job done on time.
20. Learn How To Learn New Technologies Fast
As mentioned before, developers need to stay relevant and learn new technologies quickly. This means learning new languages and learning about new frameworks or libraries that can help you solve problems more efficiently. It’s not only important that you know about the technology but also why it’s better than the others.
If you don’t understand something or there is something that isn’t clear to you, ask questions! Don’t be afraid of looking stupid because if someone doesn’t understand something, they will never fully master it!