What Does it Really Cost to Create Augmented Reality?

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In recent years, augmented reality has continued to grow with companies around the world looking for ways to implement the technology to increase sales, boost demo impact, or show off the details of their latest products—but is anyone talking about how much augmented reality costs? And is augmented reality a practical tool for companies to implement? Here are the factors that impact augmented reality app cost, and what AR on various budgets can look like.

The value of augmented reality

Whether you’ve used augmented reality before or not, it’s important to know why this technology is so compelling. By allowing users to superimpose digital images onto reality through devices like phones, AR has transformed the way companies approach sales, product demonstrations, education, and even rehabilitation.

The value of AR continues to grow as we discover new ways to use it. Now, we know what you’re thinking, more value = more cost. But not necessarily. Here are three factors that we know impact the cost of AR apps.

3 factors that impact augmented reality app cost

1. Interactions

The concept of augmented reality is built around interactions, or experiences that allow the user to interact with a new reality that is created when the digital image is superimposed into real space. There are many different kinds of interactions available, and AR apps with lots of high-level interactions cost more.

What are some of the interactions available? For basic interaction, most AR apps will use 3D animated interactions, which projects a 3D model into reality. This is likely what many people think of when they think of AR. An intermediate interaction takes this a step forward — what was once a solid 3D model in real space can now be revealed layer by layer, showing the user the inner workings of a product. Advanced AR interactions can involve multiple models interacting or proximity animations, where different sequences are activated depending on where the user is standing in relation to the models.

As the number and complexity of interactions increases for an AR app, so does the cost. Don’t let this deter you from investing in an AR project. Spend time with your team and gain a thorough understanding of the experience you’re hoping to create for your users. From there, it will become clear the types of interactions you need and how you should prioritize budget.

2. Asset and model preparation

Any high-quality AR app relies on models and assets of the products a company wishes to project into reality. Not every company has 3D models and digital assets prepared when they start an augmented reality project. A company that approaches a developer with branded assets, 3D files, and other elements will likely spend less to develop their AR app than one that hasn’t begun this process.

Many AR developers, including our Array team, are happy to help with this part of the process to ensure that your AR experience is everything you envision.

3. App developer

Another factor that influences augmented reality cost is the developer for your project. Prices can vary depending on what you’re looking for with an average cost of $150 an hour for global app development. Though cost will influence who you choose to develop your AR app, it’s equally important to make sure that you’re working with someone who understands your vision and is committed to exploring innovative solutions with you.

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8 Examples of Augmented Reality that Made an Impact

Low-, mid-, and high-cost AR projects

Now that we understand some factors that affect augmented reality cost, let’s look at examples of low-, mid-, and high-cost AR projects.

Low-cost: A six-foot tower in your back pocket 

When Stryker approached us to help them take their six-foot 1688 AIM 4K Platform and make it portable for product demos, we worked with them to create an AR application that put this looming piece of tech straight into their sales reps back pockets. The basic interactions included in this project helped make the sales process easier for them, and engaging for their potential customers.

Mid-cost: Showcasing pre-surgery workflow

In our work with a medical company, the company needed a way to easily explain the surgery prep process to their staff. To accomplish this, we created an app that allows them to project a leg with AR anywhere in the room, allowing surgeons to walk through the pre-surgery workflow with their teams. This project required more than the basic 3D projection of the project in the low-cost tier, allowing medical workers to see and familiarize themselves with procedures and to improve the overall surgical workflow.

High-cost: Making complex processes simple with AR

Eaton approached us to improve their trade show experience and showcase how their electrical components work together to improve vehicle performance. This project went beyond basic 3D model interactions and used layering to show consumers the details of Eaton’s tech in real-time on the showroom floor. Verbal explanations can fall short when reps are trying to explain complex processes, and with this AR experience, we were able to help Eaton support their sales reps to show instead of tell.

A low-cost, high-impact AR solution

Between interactions, asset prep, developers, and real world examples, augmented reality app cost augmented reality app cost may seem like too much of an investment to take on—but what if we told you there was a way to get a high-impact AR experience for only $250 a month for your first product? 

We’ve worked tirelessly to develop Array, our AR app that allows customers to see what’s possible with your product. The app gives you a place to upload a branded catalogue of products for your customers to interact with. Array gives companies the high-polish experience of a custom AR app, with the added benefits of updates, feature improvements, and a community-driven user base.