We're delighted to announce augmented reality (AR) in Zoho Creator! Now, you can set up your own immersive 3D experiences—combining a glimpse of the real world with computer-generated graphics. AR technology augments what you see, by superimposing digital data (3D models) on real-life objects, captured by your device camera. This real-time digital interaction provides better data visualization and enhances end-user experiences, providing you with exciting new business opportunities.
AR is seamlessly accessible via web browsers, smartphones, and tablets, which facilitates the growing interest in multi-experience development platforms (MXDPs). Using AR, your businesses can provide unique approaches to key business challenges in real-world applications.
AR can enhance user experience in many ways:
Organizations can use AR to promote their products or services and launch innovative marketing campaigns.
A rich feedback loop can be created using AR in product customization and quality, where users can select the defective products and also annotate the 3D models by describing the defects.
Users can try out different products virtually, check if a product fits well in their rooms (in the case of furniture products) by either partial or full replacement of the original view of a product with an augmented view of the same product, and make informed choices, all within the comfort of their homes.
Marker-based AR: This AR-type relies on the recognition of images (referred to as markers). Markers are unique, visual patterns that your device cameras can easily recognize and process. For example, you can point your devices at markers such as scan codes or logos to seamlessly activate the AR experience. Marker-based AR works by scanning a marker, which triggers the content to be overlaid on the camera upon visuals matching the marker image For example, students can scan a diagram in their textbook and view its 3D model (projected on the diagram) through their digital devices.
Markerless AR: This AR type does not use a marker. Instead, it allows you to scan the real environment and place digital elements on the recognized (flat) surface. This offers more control to users, as it allows them to choose where they would like to place the virtual object (including real-life placement of virtual augmented objects). For example, furniture companies can enable customers to virtually place their furniture in their homes to check if it would fit well.
In the markerless AR type, users can preview the models in the following two modes:
AR mode: This mode displays the 3D model as superimposed on its environment. Users can rotate/move their devices to view the plotted model.
Object mode: This mode displays only the 3D model. It allows you to view the selected/scanned model in a 360˚ rotation. You can also zoom in and zoom out the model, as per your convenience.
Note: These modes are available in the AR field and AR viewer (only for markerless inputs).
In Creator, AR has been introduced across three modules:
Microservices - AR Library
Form fields - AR field
Pages - AR Viewer
AR library stores AR sets of all the apps in your Creator account. You can add and manage AR sets from here. An AR set consists of AR elements such as 3D models and their markers.
The AR field in a form displays the AR sets (3D models) from the AR library as a dropdown. You can add the AR sets in the AR Inputs field property. When you access your app in live, you can choose a model from either marker-based or markerless AR sets, and you can annotate it.
The AR Viewer acts as an interface for your device's camera. This interface is used to invoke the camera (only in mobile) to scan a marker for your marker-based AR sets. In your app's page, you can configure the AR Viewer's input in two ways:
Marker-based AR Sets: To scan the marker and plot the respective 3D model.
Passing the 3D model's name through page parameters to load a 3D model directly.
1. Imagine you've created an app named Zylker Jewelry. The following flowchart shows how AR is used across this app.
This app enables you to perform the following actions:
(i) Users can use the scanner (AR viewer) on the app's Jewelry Lookbook page to scan the various designs available on your brochure and view them as popup models. They can rotate, zoom in and zoom out, and view the models in full-screen as well.
(ii) Quality assurance engineers can select 3D models of the defective jewels and also annotate them by describing the defects.
Let's take a look at how the above actions can be configured in the Zylker Jewelry app.
This app has an AR library that contains 3D models of chains (marker-based) and rings (markerless).
The app's Jewelry Lookbook page has an AR Viewer element with the 3D models of chains as its input. When users access this page, they'll be able to scan the brochure and view the available chain designs on their devices.
The app's Add Defect form has an AR field containing the 3D models of chains and rings as its AR input. Quality assurance engineers can select the 3D models of defective jewelry from the dropdown and annotate the models by describing the defects. This form also has an Assign To field, that assigns the defect to the designated Service engineer, who can view and take appropriate action.
2. Using AR, classroom education can become all the more intuitive and interactive, as it enables teaching staff to demonstrate virtual examples of textbook concepts. This, in turn, will enable students to engage more actively, learn faster, and memorize information more easily.
Let's take a look at Zylker Schools of Learning, a learning app created for teachers and students. This app facilitates interactive learning through AR technology used across the following components. Apart from these, AR functionality can also be accessed via your mobile applications.
This app has an AR library that contains textbook diagrams as markers, along with their 3D models. The app's Virtual Book page has an AR Viewer element with the 3D models as its input.
When students access this page, they can click the diagrams and view them in both AR mode and Object mode — rotate, zoom in and zoom out and view in full-screen as well.
When you access the app via mobile, apart from viewing the diagrams in AR Viewer (similar to web), students can also open their device scanner, scan their textbook diagrams and view them as plotted (popup) models on top of their textbook.
This app has a New Task form that contains an AR field. This field has 3D diagrams as its input. You can assign tasks to your students, asking them to annotate the 3D models and also view the submitted tasks.
In the below GIF, the demo user Demo 3 is the Teacher profile and Demo 1 is the student profile.
You can also place stickers of the textbook diagrams on your classroom walls, which can be scanned by your students through the provided devices. Upon scanning the sticker, they can view, rotate, and annotate the 3D model of the scanned image which is mapped in the AR Library.
Thus, AR helps in explaining otherwise plain textbook concepts in a visually-appealing manner.
AR in Creator will be available in C6 for Paid plan users only.
If you have any questions related to AR, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
The Zoho Creator Team