Augmented Reality Companies in 2017

Augmented reality is still somewhat exotic within the world of IT, though there are already many products with AR. No wonder, the list of best augmented reality companies has to be short, when you have a short list to select from. On the other hand, irrefutable success of entities like Pokemon Go and Ikea apps proves high potential of AR for commercial use. Our list includes 15 top companies that have succeeded in AR development with apps, games, gear  and software.

TL;DR

Types of augmented reality companies covered in this post:

  • Augmented Reality platforms. These companies develop the software to create AR products, as well as own end-user products. Such platforms include frameworks, engines, SDKs, tools. Top AR platforms: Vuforia and Apple.
  • Augmented Reality end-product companies, specializing in developing, marketing and selling their own AR products. This implies software, games, apps, books, etc. Top AR product companies: Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and Niantic.
  • Augmented Reality companies for custom development. Providing customers the tools for creating AR experiences. Commonly working in spheres of publishing (AR effects to printed media), education and entertainment. Top companies: Wikitude and Layar.
  • AR apps creating companies. Also often operating and developing solutions for marketing agencies – interactive advertising campaigns, show effects, live events, exhibitions, etc. Top AR apps developers: Inde, Augment, GravityJack, ThinkMobiles.
  • Industry-specific AR solution companies. Working in certain exclusive market niches, e.g. sport streaming, education, medicine. Building apps and AR tools for their clients in B2B model, the top companies include Blippar, NASA and Metagram.

AR platforms

Vuforia

Vuforia software development kit is the most widely used SDK for augmented reality development. It supports all the newest trends in AR technology, like Google Tango Project. Vuforia SDK enables vision technology to track a variety of 2D and simple 3D targets in real time. Additionally, developers also may create so called ‘markerless’ and location-based AR experiences. It provides APIs to work in .Net, C++/Objective C and Java. Vuforia projects may include native Android or iOS applications, or adapted for any other platform when developed on Unity.

Apple & ARKit

Apple, as the worldwide leader in electronic products, mobile devices and online services, however lately, started developing new augmented reality technology. ARKit for iOS 11 devices and above is introduced to help developers create AR solutions for iOS apps. This SDK provides:

  • TrueDepth Camera enables face tracking option in AR apps. Using this feature the camera is able to detect  position, topology, and even the expression on a user’s face.
  • Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO) allows a device to sense self-movements in the real world with a high degree of accuracy.
  • Scene Understanding and Lighting Estimation give iOS apps ability to analyze the scene and place virtual objects on a horizontal place. 

AR end-product companies

Microsoft

The IT giant company is also following the trends in augmented reality with its own developments and projects. They’ve produced various hardware for AR, glasses and sets, apps and games, which include:

  • Microsoft Hololens – augmented reality glasses with 6 sensors, a camera and a measurement unit;
  • Multiple AR apps for Hololens, like Cortana virtual assistant, for instance;
  • AR Skype demo;
  • AR games like Fragments, Young Conker, RoboRaid;
  • Actiongram, a video recording app to create media with mixed-reality objects in it;

Sony

One of the top 100 world tech companies has introduced several AR tools recently. For example, SmartEyeglass – the  augmented reality glasses with camera, GPS and a bunch of sensors to superimpose digital data in front of user’s eyes. In addition, the company provides developers with SDK for mobile app development, with guides and tutorials.

Nintendo

As a multinational electronics and game company headquartered in Kyoto, Japan, Nintendo has been intensely developing augmented reality games along with other products. The now globally known Pokemon GO is probably the best showcase of AR technology to everyone. Nintendo also offers the AR games pack – a package of  15 AR games specially designed for Nintendo DS.

Niantic

The US company initially founded in 2010 as an internal startup within Google Inc., but later on got independent. Famous for games that encourage people to get outside and explore the real world to find special gaming experiences. The best example is of course and again the Pokemon Go app, developed by Niatic and Nintendo together. After raising such a huge interest in augmented reality, the company made a new app called Ingress. Similar to Pokemon Go, it makes players form factions and challenge each.

AR services/custom development

Wikitude

Originally entering the market in 2008 with the AR browser, Wikitude started focusing on SDK for augmented reality and tools for developers later on. The latest version of all-in-one SDK 7 provides image recognition, tracking technology, geolocation. And all this works for smartphones, tablets and smart glasses, Wikitude engine supports cross-platform AR: native and JavaScript for iOS/Android, Unity/Cordova/Xamarin extensions. Another service, Wikitude Studio, gives a possibility to publish AR projects to your own app. More than 20,000 apps have been developed with Wikitude, as company claims.

Layar

From 2009 on this Dutch enterprise’s focus is on custom AR solutions and tools/kits to develop AR apps. But their true passion is bringing life to print objects around. Layar app (iOS/Android) lets users scan magazines, posters etc. and enjoy additional digital content in form of videos or animations. Another feature is Layar Creator – to build AR items, flyers, landing pages by simple drag-n-drop. Lots of developer tools and assets, so it is always useful to follow the updates.

Custom AR solutions  companies

Inde

If you’re a fan of large-screen installations, check out these guys. The UK company brings fully interactive AR products in fields of entertainment, education and advertising. Their pride lies in own products like:

  • Broadcast AR, for cinematic experiences, such as Toronto Zoo project
  • Live Avatar, for 3D objects reacting to motion and speech
  • Hero Mirror, a unique AR photo booth
  • Mobile AR, to develop apps with augmented reality

 

Augment

A great service too look into for those who plan to drive the sales of their e-commerce efforts. Augment specializes in B2B solutions that connect connect retailers and online shoppers, and display products in 3D augmented reality. This targets more sales and engagement. Great AR platform with separate tools tailored for manufacturers, retailers, marketing agencies, educational entities and other businesses. 

Gravity Jack

One of the well-established digital agencies in the USA, producing mobile apps, AR/VR solutions, 360-degree videos, computer vision, websites. The company has multiple awards and patents in AR, and has released 2 major products: an augmented reality SDK and a mobile content management system (CMS) platform. They are now working restlessly on a new AdroitAR project, a marker-less real-world object detection for significant industries like robotics, production lines.

Thinkmobiles

We’re not here to boast, but we consider our AR/VR team worth of promoting and at your service. ThinkMobiles started in 2011 as a mobile and web development agency primarily, though we couldn’t miss out on augmented reality. So we began developing AR apps too, made dozens of apps for clients as well as our own application MyAr, thus you can consider TM as an AR company too. Among our clients were Holsten Systems, CaptainVR, Hashplay, Gyroptic. We provide custom AR solutions, AR mobile apps, AR tools for ecommerce. Check out MyAR app below.

Industry-specific AR developers

Metagram

Presenting holographic large-scale film experiences in augmented reality. They built a special system to demonstrate various scenarios and moving objects visible even without AR glasses, and people can move around and see it all from various angles. Metagram has patented their all-axis space hologram, and they offer it to other businesses, advertisers, artists, etc.

Blippar

UK company specializing in AR, artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision. es. Acknowledging that AR is already changing the way people shop and socialize, Blippar provides digital content via products like:

  • Blippbuilder, a platform to create animations, 3D objects, interactive print, etc.
  • Build Ar, which is great for non-coding folks
  • Publish AR, to ad AR into your app and let users unlock it through Blippar
  • AR SDK, to help add AR into your own native app

NASA

Most of us wouldn’t expect NASA, a space agency, to appear in this list of top AR companies. But the fact is that since 1998 the agency has been developing various projects in AR and VR for space research. So far, they’ve made a dozen of apps public, for instance the main NASA application, containing massive content about all NASA projects. For space exploration and educational purposes, apps like ISS, NASA 3DV, Spacecraft 3D are wonderful.

Looking for your own AR solution? Let’s talk.