What is it?
The Appearition platform is a service that gives you the tools to create and serve immersive experiences for your apps. It can be configured to connect to your existing data stores to aggregate and transform information into engaging presentations for your end user.
What are immersive experiences?#
An immersive experience is one where a person is presented with information and content projected into the real world space around them. This content can be interacted as though it were a real physical object.
It’s more than text, images and video rendered on a flat screen.
An experience engages multiple human sensors. Visually, objects are presented in 3D and immersion of those objects provide an extra 3 dimensions. An experience of being able to walk around, look behind and over virtual objects. This is known as six degrees of freedom, more succintly referred to as 6DoF. You can argue a 7th dimension is also available as some immersive experiences will allow you to look inside an object and examine the inner workings. Consider a car engine presented in front of you. You can walk around it, look under and over it and then peel back layers to see the moving parts inside.
6DoF… Walk around a 3D object and look under and over it.
Aside from visualisations, immersive experiences can target two more human senses, sound and touch. Consider experiences where volume, pitch and frequency can be used to distinguish, simulate and place virtual objects in the real world space. Sound can be used to inform the condition or state of a virtual object in real world terms.
Touch experiences are those where people can control and interact with virtual objects using hand held devices known as paddles. Beyond this is the emerging concept of haptics where hand gestures can be identitied and tracked with computer vision and translated into commands and instructions against virtual objects.
Building an immersive experience is complicated#
There are a number of technical concepts that need to be understood and adapted when adding immersive experiences to your apps.
Firstly, you must understand the impact that different types of devices have on the end user experience. To date, immersive visual experiences have been delivered via smart phones and tablets but emerging quickly is wearable headsets such as Microsoft’s Hololens (AR), Epsons Moverio Glasses (AR), Oculus VR Gear (VR) and in the lower end of the range, Google’s Cardboard Glasses (VR).
Visualisations must be tailored to suit the varying screen sizes, resolution capability and processing power of different devices.
When it comes to implementing Augmented Reality (AR) into apps, you will need to adopt computer vision technology for image, object and scene recognition. You must know the variations of camera quality on the different types of devices and adapt accordingly.
Experiences must be contextually rendered against a person’s physical location.
Location tracking is required to identify a person’s position within a real space. At the global level, this uses GPS for lat/long placement and GEO fencing for creating experience boundaries. At the local person level, simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) is used for tracking the surrounding space in relation to the user’s perspective. There are other capabilities available too, such BLE or WIFI meshing for indoor and close proximity mapping.
3D object models: textures, materials, shading, translation, scale and rotation… animation?
Presentation of immersive content largely requires an understanding of 3D modeling and rendering concepts. Textures, materials and shading and dealing with differences in handling FBX, OBJ and other file formats have their challenges. Placement of those 3D models requires understanding the geometry of X,Y,Z in relation to translating, scaling and rotating. You will need to place 3D objects in the device camera’s field of view in relation to the perspective of the user’s real world.
Immersive experiences are NOT static#
One size does not fit all
An immersive experience is one which has contextual relevance to a person in a particular moment in time for a specific location in their world. It is relevant according to the activity they are doing and the real world objects around them.
As such, the content that should be presented to a person cannot be “baked into the app”. Rather, the app must capture the context of the person (e.g. user profile, user location, objects in camera’s view, etc) and seek the relevant content from a remote source. That content needs to be formatted according to the device’s capability and transmitted back to the device for rendering.
Immersive visualisations of data
In many real world business scenarios, content is derived from data that has been collected, analysed and processed from operational and transactional sources. Internet of Things (IoT) devices are becoming more prevelant in the world. Electronic objects which have sensors to collect metrics about themselves and their surrounding environment are continously feeding data back to vast stores known as data lakes. Such a fluid and changing data landscape cannot be supported with static immersive experiences.
Scheduling of an immersive experience is an important function in business scenarios. Consider retail advertising which offer deals to their customers for a specific period of time. Whether manual or automatically managed, being able to publish and unpublish experiences is not a static activity.
How the platform helps you#
The Appearition platform gives you the capability to add immersive experiences to your apps and solutions and abstracts away the complexities of building and maintaining the technology required. It enables your business to author and manage immersive experiences which work inline with existing business systems, workflows and IT operations.
There are two areas to the platform: Server and App Side.
The server side components are made up of numerous services and web based interfaces deployed in the cloud or on-premise. These services can be configured to connect to existing data stores and digital libraries. Content collected can then be aggregated and formatted according to the visualisation and presentation requirements of the experience.
The server is responsible for receiving requests from connected apps (via secured Web API endpoints) and is responsibile for orchestrating the contextually relevant experiences that will be sent back down.
The app side components are responsible for capturing context and transmitting it to the server. It can seek user identification, run computer vision, capture user location and any other user information. The app side components are responsibile for rendering content on the device and capturing interactions with the real world. As required the app can run necessary commands or send them back to the server side for further instructions and experiences.
There are numerous providers of tools and services for technologies such as image recognition, object recognition, SLAM and GPS mapping. Similarly, there are many types of data sources that are used in industry for storing and handling data.
As such, being vendor agnostic in relation to integration and serving immersive experiences is a key aspect of the platform. It is not bound to just one provider but rather, it can be extended to consume the services of any technology provider.
The platform has been designed with extensibility at its core. It has been built on a solid foundation with a suite of abstractions and generic interfaces. As new technology providers emerge or new business demands arise, new modules can be added to the platform to evolve the functional offering.
Appearition Platform Cloud
The Appearition platform is hosted and managed in the cloud as SaaS (Software as a Service). We take care of the infastructure, manage your backups and patches and updates. You simple get an account can focus on connecting and building immersive experiences.
Alternatively, the Appearition platform can be hosted on-premise. You will need to supply and manage the infastructure, network, backup and security. Appearition will provide you with an installation pack and guide and support. You will also need to manage patches and updates.
Please contact us for further information. email@example.com