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Blippar, a London-based augmented reality (AR) content creating and publishing platform, today announced the integration of its no-code AR creation tool, Blippbuilder, into business communication and collaboration platform, Microsoft Teams. In giving Microsoft Teams’ 270 million monthly active users access to the Blippbuilder platform, this integration will not only facilitate the creation of immersive AR experiences, it will also enable users’ collaboration and experimentation with AR projects.
In an interview with Blippar CEO, Faisal Galaria, VentureBeat inquired into how Blippar’s no-code AR platform might fit into the general metaverse discussion. For Galaria, the promise of the metaverse, however it manifests, is on a scale much larger than the limited “walled garden” digital worlds currently in existence.
According to Galaria, Blippar believes the metaverse will be an evolution of the internet commonly referred to as Web2 in which millions and millions of web pages and sites co-exist. He noted that Blippar’s content authoring tools, Blippbuilder and WebAR SDK, both publish to the web, removing the friction of app downloads, logins and “walled gardens,” enabling Blippar-powered AR experiences to work everywhere.
AR goes mainstream
From 2005 to 2020, AR was considered an emerging technology in Gartner’s Hype Cycle, a graphical methodology used to monitor technological innovations and their growth. In 2021, in a study titled “Emerging Technologies: Emergence Cycle for Augmented Reality,” [subscription required] Gartner revealed that AR was swiped off the cycle due to its rapid maturation. This is substantiated by its report on top strategic technology trends where it predicted that one-third of global enterprises would leverage AR in developing their multiexperience platforms in 2021. What this means is that AR is no longer an experimental technology and is now usable.
Galaria holds the same view with Gartner, as he believes “the next generation of the internet will be experiential, 3D and immersive, rather than the small screen-based internet we are all familiar with today.” This integration will ergo contribute to the industry-wide adoption of AR, especially across the content creation space.
Features for AR content creation
Blippbuilder is a no-code AR builder that allows users with little or no coding experience to create simple, realistic and immersive AR campaigns for personal or business use. By leveraging advanced artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and computer vision in delivering lighting estimation, surface and image tracking, asset compression, publishing and streaming functionalities, Blippbuilder ensures users only need to focus on creating. Blippar claims this integration will make it the “only augmented reality app to exist within the Teams ecosystem.”
Blippar’s proprietary surface detection, combined with its SLAM-enabled drag and drop functionality, will allow creators to drop objects into a project and publish as it is. This will guarantee that users can create interactive and immersive AR experiences regardless of their coding experience, according to Galaria. Users can engage with these experiences without any third-party hardware or mobile application interference through a dedicated browser known as WebAR.
WebAR is compatible with smartphones and can be accessed from different social media platforms like WhatsApp, TikTok, Facebook, WeChat and Snapchat. Also included in Blippbuilder are tutorials and practice guides designed to teach users how to take their AR projects from concept to content.
Features like adaptive cards, tool tips, single sign-on, notifications, starter projects, support features and real-time interaction are expected to foster seamless collaboration and co-creation among team members, regardless of hierarchy. Blippbuilder can also be integrated into the existing workflow of Microsoft Teams users, allowing them to leverage the powerful storytelling and immersive capabilities of AR for their product packaging, advertisements, virtual products and ecommerce product try-ons, as well as 3D visualization, onboarding and training, and other three-dimensional experiences.
Galaria reiterates that the “existing process for creating and publishing AR for small businesses, agencies and brands is splintered. Companies are forced to use multiple tools and services to support collaboration, feedback, reviews, updates, approvals and finalization of projects.” He added that by “introducing Blippbuilder to Microsoft Teams workstreams, including team channels and group chats, Blippar is making it easier than ever before for people to collaborate, create and share amazing AR experiences with our partners at Microsoft Teams.”
After confirming the metaverse is indeed one of the hugely transformational trends shaping the AR industry, Galaria revealed Blippar encourages futurism around the metaverse/spatial field. In addition, the company has also developed the 4 Cs of AR (creation, collaboration, cross-platform and consumption) to establish the relevance of its no-code platform in democratizing AR creation and distribution.
The collaborative creation and authoring enabled by the Microsoft Teams integration, the ability of Blippar-powered AR experiences to work cross-platform, the prospects of AR glasses in AR consumption and the interoperability of Blippar’s tools with third-party assets all combine to bolster the company’s alignment with metaverse principles.
More on Blippar
As one of the UK’s first tech unicorns, Blippar has an acclaimed portfolio of many world firsts in spatial computing and the AR industry. Blippbuilder, the integrated tool, is one of Blippar’s two distinct AR self-creation tools that have helped over 100,000 users create and publish their AR experiences.
By combining the creation and publishing tools of Blippar with the collaboration features of Microsoft Teams, Blippar claims decision-makers will benefit from the values of AR without the traditional restrictions of large costs and rigid contracts.
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