Marker-Based vs Markerless: What Augmented Reality Type is Right for Your Business

Recently, there’s been a significant spike on Google Trends of two very interesting queries “augmented reality wine labels” and “augmented reality business card.”

Both of these queries represent a marker-based augmented reality (AR) type of application.
Marker-based AR is a mobile device application that allows you to scan physical images, “markers”, and render a 3D model, another image, video, or scene and interact with it using your device.
Augmented Reality Business Card

An augmented reality business card is a very unique and innovative way to stand out during a business meeting, roadshow, or event using a fancy marker-based AR solution.
With an AR-recognized business card which works as an AR marker, a user is able to scan the card and see the most relevant information about the company and a call to action.
However, it has certain limitations which will be described further.
Augmented Reality Wine Label

Similar to a business card, an augmented reality wine label is a marker-based AR application. Additional content on an AR white label can be triggered using a specific smartphone application which your clients or users have to install on their phones.
An AR wine label is a great way to spice up your wine business and build more trust and loyalty with your clients. However, you have to have a solid client base where you will distribute your AR application.
Both AR business card and AR wine label are great if you’re working with well-established existing clients, however, it may not be a good fit for the acquisition of new clients.
The problem with these applications is that you have to make a client install the application first and then hand them the business card or show a wine label. The marker can only be recognized if it’s hard-coded into the application. Currently, such a solution is trying to find the right balance between practicality and originality.
Even though such applications are relatively easy to build using open source augmented reality libraries such as OpenCV, ARCore, ARKit, ARToolKit, and Kudan, the apps require additional improvements and accessibility points.
Luckily, in 2018, Google announced the WebXR API which has come to solve the problem of impractical use of AR apps. WebXR is a web augmented reality solution which stores data on the internet and provides access to the content elsewhere.
But what about the markerless AR applications? Do they make a difference?
Markerless AR applications do not use markers obviously, however, they use pre-baked content and 3D models which run within the special smartphone application anyway.
They require more time and resources to be developed and deal with different issues such as surface training, lighting, etc. Here are the most common examples of markerless AR applications.
IKEA Furniture AR App

IKEA app allows you to preview furniture before you buy it. The application is installed on a mobile device and uses a set of pre-built 3D models of furniture which a user can interact with.
The basic functionality of the app includes rotation, furniture placement, color variation changes, and photographing.
Google Maps AR Navigation

Google Maps AR Navigation is one of the most recent markerless AR applications which helps users navigate within the city.
The feature can easily be accessible by clicking the “Start AR” option. Currently, the application is supported at Pixel Devices and it’s unknown when it will be supported on all platforms.
Conclusions
Marker-based and markerless AR applications are a great way to add a spark to your business, improve engagement, and build loyalty with your existing customer base.
In the future, both solutions will find a better use for digital marketing and other industries as soon as they’re accessible through external web servers.

Recently, there’s been a significant spike on Google Trends of two very interesting queries “augmented reality wine labels” and “augmented reality business card.”

Google Trends Augmented Reality

Both of these queries represent a marker-based augmented reality (AR) type of application.

Marker-based AR is a mobile device application that allows you to scan physical images, “markers”, and render a 3D model, another image, video, or scene and interact with it using your device.

Augmented Reality Business Card

AR Business Card

An augmented reality business card is a very unique and innovative way to stand out during a business meeting, roadshow, or event using a fancy marker-based AR solution.

With an AR-recognized business card which works as an AR marker, a user is able to scan the card and see the most relevant information about the company and a call to action.

However, it has certain limitations which will be described further.

Augmented Reality Wine Label

AR Wine

Similar to a business card, an augmented reality wine label is a marker-based AR application. Additional content on an AR white label can be triggered using a specific smartphone application which your clients or users have to install on their phones.

An AR wine label is a great way to spice up your wine business and build more trust and loyalty with your clients. However, you have to have a solid client base where you will distribute your AR application.

Both AR business card and AR wine label are great if you’re working with well-established existing clients, however, it may not be a good fit for the acquisition of new clients.

The problem with these applications is that you have to make a client install the application first and then hand them the business card or show a wine label. The marker can only be recognized if it’s hard-coded into the application. Currently, such a solution is trying to find the right balance between practicality and originality.

Even though such applications are relatively easy to build using open source augmented reality libraries such as OpenCV, ARCore, ARKit, ARToolKit, and Kudan, the apps require additional improvements and accessibility points.

Luckily, in 2018, Google announced the WebXR API which has come to solve the problem of impractical use of AR apps. WebXR is a web augmented reality solution which stores data on the internet and provides access to the content elsewhere.

But what about the markerless AR applications? Do they make a difference?

Markerless AR applications do not use markers obviously, however, they use pre-baked content and 3D models which run within the special smartphone application anyway.

They require more time and resources to be developed and deal with different issues such as surface training, lighting, etc. Here are the most common examples of markerless AR applications.

IKEA Furniture AR App

IKEA AR app

IKEA app allows you to preview furniture before you buy it. The application is installed on a mobile device and uses a set of pre-built 3D models of furniture which a user can interact with.

The basic functionality of the app includes rotation, furniture placement, color variation changes, and photographing.

Google Maps AR Navigation

Google Maps AR

Google Maps AR Navigation is one of the most recent markerless AR applications which helps users navigate within the city.

The feature can easily be accessible by clicking the “Start AR” option. Currently, the application is supported at Pixel Devices and it’s unknown when it will be supported on all platforms.

Conclusions

Marker-based and markerless AR applications are a great way to add a spark to your business, improve engagement, and build loyalty with your existing customer base.

In the future, both solutions will find a better use for digital marketing and other industries as soon as they’re accessible through external web servers.

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