The tyranny of the app is crushing the soul of XR. The ability to move seamlessly between virtual worlds has until now been the exclusive provenance of web VR offered by Firefox and the lesser known startup Janus VR. It’s been a bumpy ride. Without more bandwidth, well beyond cable modems, and tons of storage not yet built into VR devices, don’t expect VR to escape the app anytime soon. However, with the introduction of 8th Wall’s new “8th Wall Web” interactive AR content that could previously only be experienced by downloading an app can now run directly on any existing website. The importance of this development cannot be understated.
The 8th Wall Web enables developers to create mobile AR content for any smartphone with a camera.8th Wall
8th Wall Web makes all augmented reality features immediately accessible by most smartphones
with a camera and web browser. This could work well for AR, as it’s files are smaller and experiences shorter. “It’s a full stack solution that’s tied to the web with very few limitations, same as any website,” 8th Wall founder and CEO Erik Murphy-Chutorian told me in an interview last week. “Our mission is to overcome the recurrent problems developers have with mobile AR. It’s not possible with many smartphones, the integration of AR in the development process, and app downloads are a persistent problem.” We wrote about 8th Wall’s solutions not too long ago. You can read more about the company here.
There are many companies creating solutions for geolocation of content, as illustrated by Pokemon Go, which still lacks anchoring (that is about to change). Ubiquity 6, YouAR, and Xperiel all have unique methods and interfaces to allow developers to create a proprietary “AR Cloud” that would allow geolocation along with many other important features, such as occlusion, surface detection, multi-user shared experiences, and light level estimation. These features will allow web-based mobile AR to create a compelling presence for digital content anchored in the real world, augmenting reality.
“AR belongs on the web, giving people instant access to this immersive media as easily as they would view a photo or video. Whether it’s watching a breaking news story, browsing a product on an e-commerce site, or engaging with your favorite brand, the web is the world’s source of information and the way we interface with the world,” said Murphy-Chutorian. “8th Wall Web creates a tremendous opportunity to reach customers on a scale that would not otherwise be possible.”
“I’ve tried the demo,” says Happy Giant founder and CEO Mike Levine. “8th Wall’s new WebAR support will be a massive breakthrough for brands and others wanting to get into AR, without the hassle of having to ask their users to download an app. This level of frictionless, web-based SLAM AR is going to open up a world of creative possibilities.”
Just six months after launch, venture-backed 8th Wall boasts it already has 500 active developers. “These developers are helping us build 8th Wall into the go-to solution for AR app development. The 8th Wall Web is another step toward that goal,” Murphy-Chutorian said. The company expects its 8th Wall Web solution to accelerate their growth as they seek to be the go-to development platform for mobile AR.
If you want to have a mobile AR experience created by 8th Wall on the web, click here.
Originally published at www.forbes.com on September 12, 2018.