The AR Cloud: What is it?

Written by: Michael Konchalski, Chief Technology Officer, All Things Media

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that brands are spending time and money trying to figure out ways to incorporate into their marketing and user experience strategies. At its core, AR is a live augmentation or supplement of computer graphics, audio, and/or video on top of the real world. AR is a layer that exists on top of your real-time direct or indirect view of the world.

Snapchat did a great job of bringing AR in front of millions of users. Apple and Google pushed AR forward by bringing native device support for AR to the masses with ARKit and ARCore respectively, but AR graphics, like this guy, are just a scratch on the surface of this powerful technology.

AR has been around in various forms since the early 1990s and there are still some challenges, including device compatibility, upstart cost, content creation, and the need for app installation. What isn’t readily solvable are the issues of AR persistence, multi-user/player interaction, and platform and device interoperability.

Enter the concept of the AR Cloud, and if you haven’t heard about the AR Cloud, now is the time to start paying attention to the concept.

The AR Cloud as a concept seeks to create a persistent digital world that sits unseen in the real world, and within reason would allow users to provide digital context to every object and location, allowing the ability to create and place content in a given space for sharing with the world.

That’s right, I could leave a Dancing Hotdog sticker for someone else to find. I know my friends would get a good laugh out of it.  

The concept goes further to introduce shared AR experiences, multi-user/player aspects, multiple interactions with the same object seen by anyone who is looking, and more importantly, interoperability between platforms and devices. While this certainly comes with its own set of technical limitations, the possibilities are endless.

Take a moment to let that sink in, because it’s a massive idea…in fact, it's world-sized massive.

Setting aside technical limitations, let’s take stock of what I’ve just unearthed. Consider the implications of a shared, persistent experience. With the AR Cloud, a retail store could leave detailed product descriptions about an object within their store, create digital AR navigation to specific items within the location. Auto Dealers can place feature highlights around a vehicle. A museum can offer a guided AR navigation designed by their curator for optimal experience.

The possibilities become limited only by the amount of content you can create and what makes sense for your brand.

To learn more about the AR Cloud or to schedule time to speak with us about developing AR solutions for your business, please contact us here.