June 17, 2019 – In the first blog post since it entered into administration in December 2018, Blippar has announced the launch of its new web based augmented reality solution – WebAR, which uses image recognition and SLAM technology. The company will be integrating the technology into its AR creation and publishing platform, Blippbuilder, allowing users to create and distribute web-based AR content, regardless of whether or not they know how to code.
In 2017, Blippar launched its Augmented Reality rich media ad format called ‘Augmented Reality Digital Placement’, which enabled brands and agencies to engage consumers with AR display ads, without the need to download an app. These AR experiences were quite limited in terms of functionality and only allowed for AR experiences which were pre-loaded.
The company is now taking the technology a significant step further by integrating image recognition and SLAM technology to enable rich augmented reality rendering within a web browser, which was previously only possible on native apps. WebAR leverages a user’s smartphone and desktop camera to bring brand experiences to life without the need for a separate app, simply by clicking on a web link or scanning a QR code.
According to Blippar, AR creators can now offer users rich AR experiences on the web. This version of Blippar’s technology makes experiences markerless, allowing AR creators to produce richer surface tracking experiences.
The webAR experiences are applicable to every industry interested in AR, including education, automotive, entertainment, retail and consumer-packaged goods. Blippar stated that the technology enables any educator, advertiser, brand, agency, or digital publisher to deliver and scale interactive, contextually-relevant AR consumer experiences directly from a web link (URL).
Some of the key features of WebAR include:
- Experiences are currently constructed to be lighter and less complex since WebAR technology is still in its infancy;
- Experiences can be initiated (triggered) using ‘Gyro’ (a floating 360 content experience), ‘Image recognition’ (triggering AR content from any print, product and image medium), ‘SLAM’ (triggering AR content from an arbitrary surface and location) or ‘Object recognition’ (triggering AR content from everyday physical objects);
- Can achieve very realistic looking textures within AR experiences;
- Relies on server-side network requests in order to use computer vision APIs for object recognition;
- To start a WebAR journey the user needs to open a URL link or scan a QR code;
- WebAR can be distributed via newsletter, social media, comments, etc., – all formats that support the web and have a camera;
- Requires an internet connection at all times to experience it;
- Build times can be fast but depends on the complexity of the experience;
- Can be distributed independently and even made decentralized.
Ambarish Mitra, Founder of Blippar, said: “Taking AR beyond apps creates an easy distribution channel as the web is still predominant and solves one of the biggest barriers to AR adoption which has been the need to download a separate app to view the content. Once WebAR is open to all consumers and developers, the possibilities become endless.”
Mitra added: “We are extremely grateful for the overwhelming support since December from our clients, partners, investors and everyone in the ecosystem and we are very thankful to everyone who has contributed to the Blippar journey so far in particular our team members – past and present – without whom we couldn’t have built any of this.”
Blippar has been innovating in the AR space since 2011 and was acquired by Candy Ventures in January 2019. While continuing its work on campaigns for brands and agencies, Blippar’s focus is now on the expansion of its integrated AR creation and publishing platform Blippbuilder that works across all devices, operating systems, and integrates technologies, like Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore.
Blippbuilder will support web-based AR, which will be live on the platform by the end of July 2019.
Video credit: Blippar/YouTube