There are a lot of letters being tossed around in the world of reality-enhancing technologies: WebAR, WebVR, WebXR. What are the differences? And, more importantly, how can your brand use them to its advantage?
First, let’s start with what they all have in common: Web.
As you may have guessed, “Web” refers to the world wide web. All of these technologies are Web-based, meaning they are accessed through a web browser, not an app.
Doing away with apps is a huge advancement for both experience providers and consumers.
For one, experience providers don’t need to have or invest in an app to integrate reality-enhancing technologies into their marketing strategies or business platforms. They can integrate them directly into their existing websites or a new web platform. Therefore, businesses of all sizes (and budgets) can now utilize the technology.
Secondly, the app-less technology is far more user-friendly. Before, experience providers would have first to convince users to download an app, open it, and activate the experience to convey their message. Now, users simply point their device’s camera at a trigger, like a QR code, or click a link to launch the experience immediately. It literally shaves off minutes of invested time the user must commit to.
So, the technology is more accessible to both providers and users. Win-win!
Now, let’s jump into the different letters attached to “Web.” We’ll explain the differences between Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and eXtended Reality.
Web-AR is Web-based Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality adds digital information to a real environment in real-time.
Just think of Pokémon Go or Snapchat Filters. With Pokemon Go, you can see digitally-created creatures in your real front yard. With Snapchat, funny face filters add puppy dog ears or goofy eyes to your real face. They both augment, or add to, the reality around you.
Now, both of those examples use an app to augment reality. But remember, Web-based Augmented Reality does not require an app.
So, let’s take a look at similar Web-based Augmented Reality examples that don’t require an app.
In this WebAR experience, singer-songwriter Rita Ora appears in user’s homes, much like Pikachu appears in your yard. Yet, no app is required. Ora shared her AR “Mini Me” on her Instagram, where her 16-million-person fan base could instantly access the experience.
In this demo, WebAR adds sunglasses to a person’s face, using face-tracking and spatial technology, much like Snapchat’s filters. The fashion and beauty industry embraces this technology to help sell makeup, clothing, jewelry, and more. It’s also quite popular in the home décor and furniture realm.
WebVR is Web-based Virtual Reality. If you remember, Augmented Reality adds digital elements to the real world around a user. However, Virtual Reality puts the user into a digital world. That’s a big difference!
To reiterate, VR takes the user out of the real world and places them in a virtual world.
VR is most popular in the gaming and entertainment world, where players feel like they are “in” the game. Though, VR is spreading into the marketing and retail industries, too. Customers can now shop “inside” a store from the comfort of their homes.
But there is a drawback to WebVR. To encase a person in a digital world, you have to fill their entire vision space. So, even though WebVR does not require an app, it does require a headset to get the full experience.
WebXR is most commonly known as Web-based eXtended Reality. Though, many say the “X” is simply a placeholder for all the reality-enhancing technology that’s to come.
For simplicity’s sake, think of WebXR as an umbrella covering Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality and whatever comes of those technologies working together. Since it’s often used to describe a combination of AR and VR, WebXR is also commonly referred to as “Mixed Reality.”
WebXR is gradually replacing the term WebVR since the VR technology is quickly evolving into something more than the general public is used to.
WebXR developers are continuously working on blending AR and VR, so users can seamlessly switch between the two. Why is that helpful?
“There are plenty of scenarios where it would make sense to have the application be responsive and go from an VR to an AR. Immediately I think of education, shopping, and training scenarios,” Diego Gonzalez, a web advocate at Samsung Internet, told Venture Beat. “Possibly the most important one being education, where objects can be in a virtual place and interact in a simulation with the user, and then they can be brought to the ‘real world’ to manipulate and take a closer look at. In this case, the combination of being able to inspect something ‘onsite’ and then see how it behaves/operates in a different environment.”
Understandably, the marketing world favors WebAR. Why? Because it doesn’t require a headset for users to experience. That means target customers can access the marketing experiences anytime, anywhere.
And, thanks to 5G, we do mean quite nearly anywhere.
As 5G mobile networks continue to roll out, WebAR experiences will become more realistic and won’t be limited by load speeds. The same is true for WebVR and WebXR.
4G capabilities limit experiences to about a 20mb. With 5G, experiences can go into the gigabytes. That is a huge difference that will change the landscape of Augmented Reality in 2021 more than any other.
WebAR is continuing to spread in the marketing world. At Aircards, we provide the following WebAR services:
To learn more about any of the above services, please Contact Us today.
Read Next: 2D vs. 3D Augmented Reality
We're so proud to have worked on the 'Shirt of Firsts' experience! Football fans were able to watch history in the making with Clear’s first NFT...
Coca-Cola HBC recently collaborated with Summit Scramble, the WebXR powered mini-game developed by Aircards and powered by 8th Wall.