The Cost of Creating Augmented Reality

February 21, 2019

AR can be implemented within a wide range of platforms:

  1. Social Media (Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
  2. Applications (Native App)
  3. Websites (Web AR)

The cost of developing augmented reality relies on a variety of factors, but one contributor to differences in pricing is whether AR is being integrated into an app, or if its web-based AR.

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

AR apps have some strong benefits compared to other platforms, such as the ability for the app to host larger assets in higher definition. AR Apps also allow a large range of functionalities to be implemented onto the app, such as image and face tracking, surface detection, and more. Whilst AR Apps have the ability to offer higher quality experiences to customers, it also has the drawback of limited reach, complex development, and high development cost.

AR Apps require customers and users to download the app to experience augmented reality. This can deter a large number of potential customers as they may not have the bandwidth, time, or patience to download an app. In addition, AR Apps have extremely high development costs due to the need to develop these from scratch. AR Apps can become very complicated to build depending on the app's functionalities and business goals.

From my experience, AR App development for most enterprise projects usually starts with a cost of approximately $50,000 USD — taking into account 3D design and animations, development, back-end, and quality assurance. However, the developmental cost can fetch up to $1,000,000 USD depending on the agency used and the complexity of the app’s features. For example, the IKEA AR App which allows users to place Ikea furniture in their living room using AR technology is estimated to have cost $57,500 USD with $1200 per 3D model according to Think Mobiles. It was also estimated that it would have taken approximately over 1,000 hours for the project to be completed.

IKEA Place AR App

On the other hand, Web AR is much easier and cheaper to implement into your business. For developers, Web AR is only based upon web script development, which is more accessible than the (relatively) more complex coding and languages required for developing AR Apps. The simplicity of Web AR has allowed companies to develop Web AR Production Platforms which allow user-friendly accessibility into creating Web AR campaigns.

At 26HZ, our AR solutions range from $2,000 to $3,000 USD for a simple marker-based solution to hundreds of thousands for a very complex/tailored solution. On the other hand, our own Web AR Production Platform: ARCUS operates using a freemium model with a monthly subscription service. The development cost of ARCUS range from $0 to $99 USD a month for in-depth animations and AR solutions.

In conclusion, AR Apps have far higher barriers to entries for both businesses and potential customers in terms of reach, cost, and complexity. However, Web AR presents itself as a far cheaper and more accessible solution for businesses looking to improve their sales. Due to increasing technological user-friendly solutions such as ARCUS, which allows non-developers to create their own AR campaigns, AR is now more accessible than ever.

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