Case Studies

Native AR vs. web based AR

WebAR is on the rise, thanks to the biggest obstacle facing app-based AR. You see, since augmented reality (AR) became a big thing, the best experiences have been app-based. Think Pokémon GO, or any of those handy AR features that have been added to brand apps, from ASOS to IKEA. 

Top 10 benefits and draw backs of App based AR (Native) vs webAR.  

First off what is WebAR

  • WebAR is all about making AR accessible to everyone, everywhere by bringing immersive experiences directly to the mobile web browser - no app required.
  • WebAR is an augmented reality experience that is accessed through a web browser instead of an app.  You need a smartphone or tablet with an internet connection.  
  • 3.5 billion global smartphone users by distributing AR experiences instantly to their web browser

Benefites of WebAR:

  • WebAR offers the augmented reality experience without trying to get people to download an app.  
  • You can embed it directly into your website and easily control the content surrounding the AR access.  With an AR native app updating some of the content will have to go through an approval process with the Apple App store if you want to update.
  • Much shorter deployment time
  • Usually less expensive to develop
  • WebAR analytics- Browser-based AR experiences mean more valuable data insights. As well as integration with Zapalytics, using a custom branded page enables you to plug-in your existing Google Analytics account to access more granular data to inform your business’ camera strategy.

Shortcomings of WebAR

  • Limited selection of main features – limited to simple interaction
  • Functionality typically lags and the WebAR (from out internal testing) tends to not be able to handle larger more detailed files
  • Although it’s important to point out that the browser technology is relatively new, so while we expect it to continue improving, there could be a variation in performance across devices. There is nothing to stop you leveraging WebAR in your projects, we just recommend that you test thoroughly before deployment - if you’re at all unsure, feel free to reach out \It's still early days for WebAR, so there are limits. Performance is simply better on an app, where there's capacity for more memory and therefore better visuals, better animations and better interactivity. One of WebAR's challenges is the limit of your operating system's web browser – there's only so much memory a web page can have, which has a knock-on effect on the visual and performance quality.  

Performance is better on an native app  

Gaps in functionality (which may be due to browser constraints) we’ve implemented graceful fallbacks to improve the user experience. The likes of image and face tracking, full adaptive quality streaming video (with alpha channel support), 3D models, dynamic lighting, code scanning, scripting and analytics are all present and correct. Plus, users don’t need any special web browsers; the version of Safari or Chrome that came with their device should work.

What seems certain is that Apple is very much betting on AR, so it would be both beneficial and make sense for them to build their own AR capabilities straight into their operating system – and a web browser is the simplest option. In any case, Web AR is proving the case for quick and convenient AR experiences that, although simple, can have a real impact – so it's likely we'll only be seeing more of this capability in the future.