Augmented Reality (AR) services. You’ve heard about their benefits and how they work, but how does a company go about adopting them?
AR services are the treasure at the end of the rainbow, but as every Indiana Jones fan will tell you, there are a lot of tricks and traps to survive on the way there.
AR services can be challenging in terms of scalability, integration, and keeping pace with a fast-developing market. If you get it wrong, you can kiss those AR benefits goodbye as you break your back only to deliver a mediocre return.
This is a better way through your AR journey. And as those same Indiana Jones fans will also tell you, it’s important to bring Indiana Jones on your treasure hunt!
By getting help from a company that’s been around the block, you can avoid unnecessary setbacks and work with experts who take “been there, done that” to another level.
Regardless of your choice, your challenges will be the same.We’ll be discussing some of the biggest hurdles companies face when adopting an AR service.
Key challenges companies face when adopting AR services
The companies that successfully experimented with 3D and AR have recognised the value AR services can have on their customer’s buying experience.
But running a pilot or a proof-of-concept is one thing. Adopting the technology at scale and embedding it into operations is another.
Creating, managing, and distributing 3D and AR is complex.
There are four main challenges every company faces when scaling 3D and AR initiatives to enhance product experiences:
So let’s examine how companies can tackle these challenges.
This is often the first question that many managers ask: Where do I even begin?
A fair question.
Most teams don’t have the technical skills required to begin implementing AR services into their business processes. AR is a complex technology that requires a great deal of experience and knowledge to create successfully.
There’s a chance, of course, for companies to merely try to wing it, especially companies in the tech industry, but augmented reality’s benefits only come to the forefront when AR tools and 3D content are both high quality.
And most managers are keenly aware of the problem. In a survey of 100 technology executives, 33% expressed concern over “talent and technological gaps.”
How can they go about overcoming these challenges?
When it comes to the creation of 3D assets, companies can outsource the work to a 3D artist who can provide them with quality 3D products for a reasonable price.
However, the journey doesn’t end there. 3D content has to be uploaded onto a platform, published, and managed.
3D models have to be upgraded and updated. When an issue emerges with the performance of AR tools, who is the company to call for assistance?
This is the crux of the issue. Even if a company finds different contractors who can help them with parts of the process, the ongoing management is manual and time-intensive.
For a company with hundreds of products, to hit the ground running without massive investment is unimaginable. Companies can find themselves overwhelmed by 3D content that ends up bogging down their business process and delivers seemingly no benefit.
That’s why finding a solution that covers end-to-end processes is essential for companies wishing to embed AR services into their business processes.
And it’s why Plattar has become such an invaluable 3D and AR partner for many companies.
We offer a no-code editor for creators of all skill levels, meaning the technical knowledge of a company’s employees becomes all but irrelevant.
As a 3D product provider, Plattar offers access to a number of 3D artists and technology that provides considered and focused technical expertise. The creation of 3D assets is put in the hands of experts who deliver high-quality content.
Plattar offers intuitive 3D asset management. Clients do not have to participate in the 3D creation process, they only have to examine 3D products to ensure the products are up to their demands. We take care of the rest.
When the final product is delivered, only one line of code is needed in order to be implemented across various touchpoints.
Scalability is one of the key challenges when it comes to adopting 3D and AR services into a business process.
One-off projects don’t necessarily translate into scalability because to scale AR content, a company needs to have the proper dynamics in place.
After you’ve created your 3D models, you have to:
- Upload them to your site
- Handle product updates
- Provide a variety of 3D experiences
- Scale-up production for 3D model rendering for all your products
That may not seem long, but that perception inevitably changes when a company considers that every 3D model has to go through this process. This requires a significant amount of technical expertise, time and resources.
A company with a large product suite and a huge number of product variations either needs to commit to a large investment or find an outside partner that is capable of carrying the load.
In terms of scalability, 3D product providers who offer end-to-end solutions, provide the best opportunity to help integrate the 3D content production into existing business processes.
But what does that look like?
It is the simplification of the creation of 3D scenes and their publication. A 3D product provider like Plattar offers a no-code editor that is accessible to users of all skill levels as well as an easy-to-use interface.
Furthermore, the company offers a built-in CMS for easy import, export, editing, and creation of 3D experiences. By providing user templates, Plattar cuts down on production time as well as the costs of 3D content creation.
Having a single web-based platform allows clients to build, manage, and publish content, all from the same provider.
When a client uploads their 3D content onto Plattar’s platform, the platform automatically converts the files and the formats into outputs designed for specific touchpoints, because 3D and AR experiences are optimised differently, depending on the final destination of the 3D experience.
|SDKs||Access to Android, iOS, and Web SDKs to leverage the reach of AR.|
|APIs||Using Plattar to integrate an AR CMS into your site.|
From there, by dragging and dropping, the client adds their 3D experience to any touchpoint of their choice.
The 3D content pipeline can become a tangled mess.
There are many steps in the process. There is the creation of 3D models and their continuous updating and upgrading. There is the deployment of augmented reality tools like the 3D viewer, 3D product configurator, virtual ‘try on’, and virtual environments.
Beyond creation, refinement and deployment, the company must ensure careful management of all these assets to ensure they perform at a high level and deliver the benefits the company was promised.
If the company does not find a way to streamline the process, the entire project is likely to be compromised. The involvement of multiple players itself poses a major issue – you know what happens when there are too many chefs in the kitchen.
Separate players within the project produces silos, which are inefficient, increasing workload while decreasing the company’s ability to scale. If a company has to juggle three different 3D product providers, each of which is responsible for only a part of the process, it is inevitably going to be inefficient – in time and money.
If your company is going to make such a sacrifice, you may as well build your 3D-AR products in-house.
Or can work with a 3D product provider that handles every stage of the process. In doing so, your company truly becomes a client, overseeing the 3D content pipeline, ensuring that the quality is up to your expectations.
Plattar offers simple workflows and collaborative features through its online platform and its in-built CMS. The entire process allows smart imports, quick conversions, and a drag-and-drop editor option that requires no technical expertise.
In doing so, the complex 3D content production pipeline becomes simpler, easy to manage, and the end products get the chance to live up to their potential without wasting the client’s resources.
The AR services market is one that is developing at a rapid pace. New solutions and improvements to the performance of AR are occurring constantly.
Companies may spend massive resources to build AR services from scratch and then fall behind the market as it develops. Think of it like Formula 1. You may be able to build a Formula 1 car if you’re willing to spend a great deal of money, but without the necessary experience and know-how, you won’t be able to drive.
If this is your company’s first time around the block with AR services, the problems of scalability and quality will more than likely be enough to sabotage any chance you have of delivering an exciting experience to your customers.
You need solutions that can withstand the advances in the market and technology.
A 3D product provider like Plattar offers continuous updating and upgrading of 3D models, ensuring they always keep pace with the market. Plattar ensures a balance of speed, quality and user experience, translating to a 3D viewer that is accurate without lag and glitching.
How to successfully get started with AR services online
If a company wants to choose the right path when getting started with AR services, it’s important to evaluate a number of factors to help decide which path to take.
Here are the most important questions to answer before making a decision:
1. Scope out your needs
Size of product suite
This is a key factor in determining your needs as it plays a major role in the scalability of your 3D content pipeline.
- How many products do you have?
- How complex are they?
- And how many variations of them exist?
The answers to these questions will help inform your decision-making process. More complex products use 3D scanning, while with simpler ones, 3D artists may suit your needs better.
The product variations also determine the complexity of your 3D product configurator.
The more complex the product, the more use your company will have for a 3D product configurator as it is the perfect tool for companies to show off the range of options they have on offer.
Capability of in-house technical support
A company’s in-house technical support may help with the adoption and scalability of AR content. But it all depends on the kinds of resources a company can call upon when it comes to integrating AR into the business process.
- Coding: can you create your own SDKs from scratch? What is the level of technical knowledge within the company?
- Asset management: can you manage your 3D assets alone or do you need outside help?
How much outside help do you need to integrate AR into your business?
Do you have a lot of in-house technical expertise, or is it all external? Do you need the product provider to offer end-to-end services, or do you merely need help with, for example, 3D modelling?
The answers to these questions will help you understand the investment that may be required to adopt 3D and AR content.
Alignment with marketing goals – what is it that you wish to achieve?
AR games, on the other hand, are the perfect tool companies can use to reach a wider audience and create a unique marketing campaign.
By using a 3D product provider like Plattar, you find a partner in AR services that can answer your every need by shouldering the work-loard, no matter how large or small your product suite.
Plattar offers in-house technical support. Their processes are designed to ease the integration of AR into your business processes, and their expertise can ensure your AR services will be aligned with your marketing goals.
2. Understand your options
Your two main options are building in-house or buying a subscription.
Let’s examine the pros and cons of each option:
|Build in-house||Increased controlAbility to customiseDevelopment of company know-how||Higher costTime-consumingTechnically challengingNo guarantee of performanceLarge investment|
|Buy Subscription||Lower costSaves timeGuaranteed performanceCollaboration with expertsTechnical support||Not customisableMonthly paymentsRelying on outside expertise|
A 3D product provider like Plattar is the perfect example of buying a subscription. Working with the finest experts in the industry, we guarantee the quality of your AR services, save time and deliver top-notch performance at a low cost.
3. Do your homework on AR services
Before committing to an AR service, it is best if you do your homework, so you are able to make an informed decision.
Here are some points you can use to evaluate a company’s AR services:
- Their technical solutions: How well does the company accomplish the task? Virtual ‘try-on’, 3D viewer and product configuration, virtual showrooms, and preview placement? The first step on the journey of finding the right 3D product provider is determining if the company’s technology and expertise match your needs.
- Their experience & expertise: Is the company the best at what they do? Can they prove it? What do their previous customers say about their services, and what do you think about the 3D and AR products they’ve provided to others? Do they possess the level of proficiency your customers deserve? Have their products achieved the success you’re looking for?
- Their support & service (now and in the future): You want to ensure you have access to your provider’s support systems at any time should be an issue with your 3D models. Your AR and 3D provider’s ability to diagnose, respond to, and prevent future problems will be the difference between you enhancing customer experiences or losing their trust completely.
- Transparency & pricing: There can be no nasty surprises when it comes to pricing. Your provider must offer full transparency in terms of its processes so you’re aware of what is going on at every step of your 3D-AR journey.
- Booking a consultation or demo to test out their support.
Plattar takes pride in ticking all of these boxes – answering every question clients may have, ensuring they can breathe easy knowing every part of the process is transparent and issues are supported and resolved with expertise.
How much do AR Services cost?
The cost of AR services depends mostly on the size and complexity of your product suite as well as your decision to buy a subscription or create your AR services in-house.
By buying a subscription with a 3D product provider, prices can begin as low as 149$ per month. Building AR services on your own, however, can make those costs sky-rocket. An app such as Ikea PLACE was built in-house for 60,000$.
The costs of AR services must be measured in terms of their return on investment. AR services lead to 10-30% higher conversions and a 40% decrease in product return rates on product pages using 3D visualisation.
This demonstrates AR services are worth the investment, no matter how expensive it might seem at first glance.
How quickly is AR implemented?
AR implementation comes in stages. Here’s an example of how it might go:
- Stage 1 – the first 6-8 weeks is spent on the creation of 3D model rendering images and their variations, ensuring the client is satisfied with the quality of the assets
- Stage 2 – the 10-12 week mark is spent on creating and automating the 3D content pipeline. The products are converted into 3D and AR.
- Stage 3 – In the next three months, the 3D product provider begins to create 3D assets of all your products and the 3D content pipeline begins to operate at full capacity.
Do I need AR services?
AR services are quickly becoming an integral part of any company’s operations. The benefits of using AR are too great to ignore. When one considers the increases in user engagement and customer loyalty, coupled with the return of investment AR services provide, it becomes abundantly clear that AR services are no longer a choice but a fundamental necessity for any company wishing to remain competitive in the long term.
AR services are not a temporary fascination. Yes, the pandemic created exceptional circumstances which has encouraged the uptake of 3D-AR solutions, but that does not mean that AR services will lose their importance when the pandemic ends.
The same pain points that every online store experiences, will still exist when the pandemic ends and AR will still be the best tool available to tackle these challenges.
Contact Plattar and learn how an end-to-end AR service partner can get your company ready for the next step in the evolution of online shopping.