Augmented Reality Apps vs WebAR

Augmented Reality (AR) has evolved from adding simple graphics as an overlay to images to simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) experiences that are rendered in real time in a user’s environment.  While custom designed AR Apps like those offered by Dreemar have been part of the AR evolution from the birth of this technology, recent developments by several companies are developing platforms based upon WebAR, i.e. AR experienced through a common browser as an alternative to native app-based AR experiences. This post explores the current status of both and argues the advantages and considerations for both technologies in delivering an effective AR experience.

Dreemar: Augmented Reality (AR) evolved from adding simple graphics to a range of experiences rendered in real time.  While Apps are the defacto standard, several corporations are building platforms delivering AR experiences using native web browsers, termed WebAR.  Conversely, an AR App is downloaded and installed onto a mobile device.  At face-value, the only differentiating distinction is the decision to engage with AR through an App or a browser.

This blog provides an objective comparison between both approaches.

Augmented Reality: The Key WebAR Advantage

The only distinct advantage of WebAR is the uniformity of the experience across all devices and operating systems.  This allows marketers to target a larger, wider browser based audience with a short-term promotion and lower costs.


The Key WebAR Concerns

Where the simplicity of using WebAR is attractive, there are several limitations.

Firstly, as this is an evolving technology there is no agreed universal standard for a common delivery of the solution.  Basically without a common standard, solutions are limited to work on a specific browser.  Further, any updates to the browser may limit the WebAR experience.

Another point of consideration is that WebAR relies entirely on downloading each experience as triggered.  Equally important limitations in file size and low bandwidth for users limit the experience.

WebAR has its place and the continued efforts to standardise the structure and meet an agreeable specification will continue.  There is a growing base of WebAR solutions linked to specific browsers delivering AR experiences within defined limits.


Richer, Immersive Experiences Are Still the Domain of Native AR Apps

Despite potential advantages as discussed, WebAR lags  in terms of delivering highly immersive, high fidelity AR experiences.   Comparatively, augmented reality apps excel in terms of the features, interactivity and engagement that can be created.  Further,  WebAR works well with good internet connectivity and aimed at a specific target audience.

With an AR App, you have more control over which type of devices have access to the content for the best experience.  Another key point is offering embedded AR experiences for a total offline experience.

Moreover, Apps offer much richer user data and insights that help refine and improve future AR campaigns.  Augmented Reality Analytics provide a wealth of user based data that is a corner-stone of developing future campaigns.  Analytics is unique to the Dreemar solution.

Native Apps facilitate building an engaged virtual community unavailable with WebAR.  If planning a long term AR campaign or a customised experience, a dedicated App is the logical choice.  Dreemar’s AR platform helps you create customised AR experiences and enjoy the benefits of a native App without coding.


Augmented Reality – The Verdict

To clarify, the ideal choice of solution is based on your specific needs.  If looking to engage for a short-term to a very specific audience and browser, WebAR is a good option.  However, if looking to create a richer, more informative experience, more easily deployed an AR App is the better choice.

At Dreemar, we enjoy bringing everything AR to life.  Contact us to learn more.

View Augmented Reality experiences here.