In 2016, in partnership with Nintendo, Niantic Labs created an augmented reality app, Pokémon Go, that is responsible for raising Nintendo’s stock and adding $7.5 billion to the company’s market value. Just two days after it was released on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store, the app surpassed Tinder in downloads and Twitter in daily active users.
Immersive media like this has disrupted the industry, and the unexpected success of Pokémon Go is indicative of the popularity of this latest tech trend. In its recent forecast, Digi-Capital, an augmented, virtual and mixed reality adviser, predicted the market will grow to $150 billion by 2020, $120 billion of which is contributed solely to AR.
The AR app phenomenon is penetrating the mobile industry and making AR available to any user with a mobile device, from smartphones and tablets to wearables and game consoles. This presents a wide variety of exciting opportunities for software developers and other tech professionals.
Augmented reality apps
According to TechTarget, Thomas Caudell of Boeing came up with the term “augmented reality” in 1990 as a way to explain “how the head-mounted displays that electricians used when assembling complicated wiring harnesses worked.” The yellow “first down” line that appears in broadcast football games is a popular example of the practice, as well as one of the first commercial uses of AR technology. The basics of AR technology now appear in industries like public safety, healthcare, marketing, and more.
AR is defined as “the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time,” taking the user’s current environment and overlaying new information. AR applications are written in 3D programs, which enable developers to add animation and other digital information to “markers” in the real world.
This collision of the digital world and the world we live in allows the user to access digital information and images alongside everyday objects and locations. AR connects us with the digital world in unprecedented ways, with a relevance in daily life that is allowing AR to edge out VR in the marketplace.
The benefits of immersive media
AR offers benefits beyond gaming. Tourism, education, and e-commerce are just a few industries where mobile AR experiences are expected to make a real impact. AR expert Scott O’Brien told Amplify, a curriculum and assessment company, that healthcare professionals can utilize AR technology to improve patient outcomes as well. “The use of AR eyewear for surgeons will enable them to … [reduce] fatigue, mistakes, and has for years assisted junior doctors and nurses understanding simulated procedures,” he said.
In high-density areas like sports stadiums and shopping centers, wearable mobile computing with AR technology “improves navigation, helps locate friends or colleagues, and presents relevant factual information,” according to Amplify. And automotive companies like Audi and Volkswagen have launched AR apps that function as digital manuals and real-time troubleshooting tools. There’s no doubt that AR will continue to penetrate more industries and markets as time goes on.
Augmented reality development
Software developers use skills related to image processing to develop apps that can track markers or features in the real world. According to Waracle, a mobile app developer, “If you’re using computer software to generate images, it’s fundamental that the images in question look realistic and credible from the users’ perspective … failure to develop an authentic UI/UX will result in an augmented reality app that’s very difficult to use and provides little value for the end consumer.”
In addition to image processing, traditional mobile development skill sets and a complete understanding of the app development process are key. Other competencies include 3D modeling, computer vision, and imaging. Waracle notes that the preferred programming languages for most AR app development projects are C# and C++. Developers who have already mastered these languages are prepared to work on a wide variety of AR app projects.
AR app development provides an exciting opportunity for software developers to get in on this rapidly growing and lucrative market. The potential uses for AR are varied and novel, and qualified developers can benefit from this in-demand trend.
The Software Guild and development opportunities
The Software Guild gives junior programmers the chance to learn some of the skills involved in developing AR applications, as well as access to an employer network with connections to resources and potential job opportunities. Our coding bootcamp prepares students for entry-level developer positions. Coding bootcamps such as the Software Guild offer an outcomes-focused, intensive learning environment for those interested in programming careers.
To learn more about the Software Guild’s programs, visit www.thesoftwareguild.com/coding-bootcamps.
This post was created by The Software Guild with Insider Studios.
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