The glut of AR entertainment doesn't mean there aren't valuable AR tools available on the App Store. It takes a bit of digging, but there are several apps available that have practical application for business users.
Here are five of them that I've tested myself, and each could help you do your job, or learn something new, right in the real world (albeit virtually).
If you work in tech you've probably had to troubleshoot something over the phone, which can be nearly impossible, especially if it's a hardware problem. Chalk has you covered.
With this app a user can call you and turn on their camera so you can see what their iOS device's camera sees. They can draw on the screen to point out what's wrong, and you in turn can draw back to help clarify instructions.
SEE: Video: VR and AR: What are they and what makes them different? (TechRepublic)
Chalk has the potential to be a lifesaver for tech pros, and it's free on the App Store.
Worried that server rack won't fit where you planned to put it? Use PLNAR to measure the room it's going to go in with just your camera!
PLNAR can calibrate itself to get an accurate reading based on the distance to the floor. All you have to do is tap to place points where corners and doors are. It gives square footage as well, and you can save and export projects as PDFs to share with other people.
At first glance Thyng seems like any other "put virtual objects on surfaces" app, but it goes further than that: Companies that want to market products in the AR space can connect with Thyng to turn their products into videos, add "buy now" buttons to them, or anything else.
Thyng has two modes: One is for putting virtual objects on surfaces. The other is Targets, which are the branded interactions mentioned above. If that sounds like something your company could benefit from, it's a good idea to contact Thyng and see what it can do for you!
Designers who use iPad Pros should definitely check out Morpholio Trace. This app allows you to capture images of space while overlaying a grid to help capture perspective. Once you snag an image you can put layers of virtual tracing paper on top of it and sketch up ideas right on your screen.
SEE: How to become a Unity developer for VR and AR (TechRepublic)
You don't have to have an iPad pro to make Trace useful, but using an Apple Pencil would definitely improve the experience.
Morpholio Trace is free on the App Store, but it only comes with a seven-day trial. After that you'll have to fork over $3.99 a month or $11.99 for a full year.
JigSpace isn't, strictly speaking, a business app. It's a learning app that virtualizes objects in a surface and provides information on how they work. The information provided can be valuable to most anybody, though.
Biometric scanning, the Curiosity Mars rover, even the anatomy of a lightsaber is featured! JigSpace is adding content (called "jigs") constantly, so there are sure to be some useful tutorials, trivia, and knowledge in it that can benefit you, both personally and professionally.
These five apps are just the tip of the AR iceberg that iOS 11 unleashed on us. More and more apps are appearing all the time—what are some of your favorite business-related AR apps for iOS?
- Why 2017 could be a big year for AR and VR in business (TechRepublic)
- VR and AR: The Business Reality (ZDNet)
- 7 ways AR and VR are changing the healthcare world (TechRepublic)
- AR to be key to business, as VR lands with consumers, says IDC (ZDNet)
- Research: Virtual and augmented reality in the enterprise (Tech Pro Research)
Brandon Vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.