Augmented reality for the enterprise is still such a burgeoning technology that it's been impractical for many SMBs to create their own custom apps. Like the early days of web dev and mobile apps, the options have been hiring a specialist to go custom or using a white label.
A company called ScopeAR, which we've been tracking, is among the first to offer web-based AR authorship that requires no coding -- though it's a safe bet the technology is about to proliferate as mixed reality gains broader enterprise adoption.
"About a year and a half after the original Apple App store launched, developers finally learned how to leverage a touch screen to build engaging and useful user interfaces, and app development exploded," Scott Montgomerie, co-founder and CEO of Scope AR, told me in late 2018. "AR app development requires a whole new way of thinking. Much like the iPhone's user experience required a transition from mouse-and-keyboard interaction to touch, AR experiences require a new method of interaction."
It will also require a very low bar for developers, which is where Scope AR's WorkLink represents a turning of the tides for AR development and adoption. The web-based platform empowers aerospace, medical device, and industrial professionals to quickly create their own augmented reality content without any coding or 3D modeling expertise.
"We set out to make the creation of 3D AR content as fast and easy as recording iMovie or creating a PowerPoint," says Montgomerie. "Using our technology platform, any user can easily author their specific knowledge into WorkLink to be widely consumed for training, complex assembly, and field service troubleshooting."
WorkLink, which is designed for special use industries, utilizes a browser-based workflow that natively accepts an array of CAD file formats. Users transform their engineering model files and place them within a mixed reality scene. Animation and motion can be added, along with annotated work instructions. It's all drag-and-drop, on par with paint-by-numbers web dev services or slideshow creators.
Verge3D, another early tool for no-coding AR development, includes a visual logic editor, as well, and it's a safe bet we're going to see more examples of this barrier-crushing technology.
WorkLink is specifically designed for use within organizations. According to the company, commercial use cases include training, commercial education, service and support of advanced medical capital equipment such as robotic surgery, COVID-19 testing equipment, and sports medicine.
"WorkLink Create empowers enterprise workforces amidst the unprecedented resource constraints and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic," says Montgomerie. "We accomplished this by improving on the organizational and technical bottlenecks for AR content, thereby helping our customers to maximize continuity in their operations."