In the next few months, Apple will release two technologies that are likely to have a sizable impact on a number of industries. The first is the new iPhone, and while much has and will be speculated on it, this post isn’t about that (but stay tuned because we’re bound to comment on it). The second and more definitive technology will be the release of Apple’s ARKit technology in the forthcoming iOS11. Apple’s ARKit technology, for the first time gives consumers an affordable and accessible technology capable of producing movie-studio quality augmented reality experiences. Moreover, it provides for new sensor capabilities that approximate spatial positioning, measurement capabilities, indoor mapping, and related technologies that have previously been only approximated.
What is ARKit?
ARKit is a new technology that is being made available on iOS11 devices, iPhone 6S, iPhone 7, and the forthcoming iPhone 8.
As a simple example, if you point the iPhone running ARKit at a table, it can approximate the surface dimensions of the table. It can also approximate the iPhone’s relationship and spacial orientation to the table to a very fine precision. This can be used to measuring the table with a virtual ruler or position information or virtual objects on the table.
The technology behind ARKit is a combination of 3D software and optical technology that Apple calls “Focus Pixels.” It’s believed that by understanding the exact focal distances of its cameras it’s possible to calculate these surfaces and planes in the real world. Previously, such technology required more complex cameras and specialized optics such as Microsoft’s Kinect or Google’s Tango technology. With the release of ARKit in iOS11, there will be over 100M devices capable of augmented reality applications. This is more than all the other VR/AR platforms combined. The depth cameras on the iPhone 7 plus and likely the iPhone 8 will add to the capabilities and further enhance the accuracy of the technology.
Why should businesses care?
ARKit has the potential to fundamentally change how many business users and field workers interact with technology and collect data. The changes and enhancements made can often be incorporated into existing workflows and existing mobile applications. This means that many companies that have started to think about mobile, can quickly take advantage of this new technology to give their employees and customers a working advantage.
ARKit for Construction
Construction workers, architects, carpenters, and painters can use ARKit in their day-to-day to make measurements and see how spatial changes can impact pricing and purchasing calculations. Whether or not it’s an architect using ARKit at the conceptual stages of planning or a developer preparing to lay foundation, the measurements are more precise and significantly faster than traditional methods, and will allow teams to be set up for success.
ARKit for Retail
Retailers can help consumers visualize products in their own environment. Imagine if your consumers would know when they purchased a product that it would already suit the dimensions and aesthetic of the space they’re shopping for. This will allow consumers to pick the perfect size couch, fridge, TV, or even wall painting.
— Asher Vollmer (@AsherVo) July 21, 2017
ARKit for Hospitality
Technology has come a long way since the launch of Google Maps in 2005. Developing with ARKit will provide people with more precise and accurate navigation. Outdoor navigation will get better but indoor navigation will become more precise and commonplace. Whether a user is trying to find the easiest path to their loved ones within a hospital wing, or even the quickest way to a coffee shop, there’s no question that ARKit will have a big effect on helping you find your way.
ARKit + CoreLocation, part 2 pic.twitter.com/AyQiFyzlj3
— Andrew Hart (@AndrewProjDent) July 21, 2017
ARKit for Engineering
The application in civil and architectural engineering are also compelling. AR can allow you to import and visualize models and engineering modifications. It can also allow you to visualize things like fluid dynamics and real time stress points overlaid on physical devices.
— Lashan Dias #ARKIT (@lashandias) July 17, 2017
And many more…
Here at Raizlabs, we are developing ARKit prototypes and technology (like this one below).
CEO & Founder, Greg Raiz, demos the ARKit Domino game, built by Raizlabs designer Samantha Broccoli and developer Rob Visentin.
If you’re interested in working with us on the future of augmented reality technology, say hello.