Augmented Reality at RWDevCon 2018
We sent one our guys to RWDevCon 2018. Sent might be the wrong word, actually. It would be more accurate to say that we probably couldn’t have kept him away.
In the beginning of April, Morten Faarkrog, from our Mobile team, went to RWDevCon 2018, a tech conference that focuses on mobile development, hosted by the esteemed RayWenderlich.com. Once again, the conference was completely sold out.
But Morten didn’t go as ‘just’ another developer. Besides his full time job, Morten works as technical editor for RayWenderlich.com, and has spent that last six months planning and organising the 2018 RWDevCon. He’s helped setup and test 4 workshops: Swift Algorithms, Machine Learning, Practical Instruments, and ARKit.
It’s especially that last one, ARKit, that Morten was excited about. ARKit is about Augmented Reality on iOS, and, according to Morten, we’re all going to see a lot more AR in the future. We had him share some of his thoughts on AR and AI, that he took home from the RWDevCon.
“Technologies like augmented reality and artificial intelligence are, in my opinion, inevitable. It’s the future, whether you like it or not, and it becomes more a question of when rather than if. Many may think that Apple’s ARKit is a gimmick, but just look at the ever-so-popular Pokémon GO. There’s no setting that beats our actual world.
But what are the use cases? Where does it make sense to use augmented reality in a way that it’s not just a gimmick, but an actual improvement to the alternative?
A standalone AR app needs to do something extraordinarily special to justify its existence. Focusing on ideas that just weren’t possible before AR is the way to go. Something that requires you to move around in 3D space or using the camera feed as input. IKEA’s Place app, which lets you virtually place IKEA products in your home, is an excellent example of blending AR and usefulness.
When it comes to AR, the user experience is a huge barrier. For most cases, using AR in an app isn’t as easy as just launching it. There needs to be enough empty room where you’re situated, the lighting needs to be just right, you cannot move around too much, and you definitely shouldn’t leave the app during your AR session. This all makes sense from a technical standpoint, but how do you tell users about this in an intuitive way? One of the most difficult challenges about AR is educating the broader market. App users aren’t exposed to AR regularly and don’t see its wide-reaching use cases in their daily lives.
Especially in Denmark there’s the question of social rejection. Augmented reality on your phone requires that you actually… use your phone. Point it at real world objects to see their effect, move around in 3D space while only you can see what’s actually going on. This is breaking social norms and may become a barrier. However, looking at Pokémon Go we’ve proved that it can be socially acceptable to run around with a phone while pointing it at virtual Pokémon.”
Moving on from the RWDevCon 2018, with the focus on staying on the forefront of the tech development, Morten and the rest of the mobile team are keeping a close eye on the development of AR for all platforms, and they are tinkering with AR and AI for future projects already. We can’t really disclose what that’s all about just yet, but we’ll keep you posted.