The enhanced user experience (UX) — Some Augmented Reality (AR) tools to consider

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In previous postings, I’ve discussed how architects, engineers and contractors can apply new technologies, especially augmented and virtual reality, to enhance the user experience (UX) in marketing presentations and materials.

Craig Park has outlined a comprehensive listing in a recent Society for Professional Marketing Services (SMPS) Marketer magazine article, and I’ll share some of his observations here, first for Augmented Reality and (in the next post) for Virtual Realty.

Video: A marketing video from Augment, demonstrating the tool’s utility for the AEC community.

To clarify: AR “is a live direct or indirect view – often using tablets, mobile phones or specialized head mounted displays (such as Google Glass) — of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are “augmented” by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.”

Resources include (alphabetical listing):

ARToolKit: Open-source tracking library for AR;

Augment: Users can overlay building plans, materials and other 2-D content on a 3-D BIM Model;

EasyAR: Free alternative to Vuforia (see below);

Visidraft: Described as an “iOS app to let project teams see building products and other elements, such as furniture, within a 3-D CAD model of a space”; and

Vuforia: A popular fee-based program for AR development.

As you can see, there are many choices here — and if you are willing to take some time and experiment, you’ll find the hard costs are surprisingly low and in many cases there are no fees to use the tools.

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