As Augmented Reality is gaining a firm footing in entertainment, business, and advertising, many of us seem to have own ideas of AR mobile apps. It’s hard to deny, who wouldn’t be inspired by leading examples of Snapchat, Ikea, Pokemon Go? Especially by IKEA apps, both Catalog and Place, incorporating AR to excite customers into purchasing products.If you want to make an app similar to Ikea’s app, or just curious how to build an augmented reality app, let’s go through it together. We begin with taking a closer look at the app.
IKEA app features
Introducing IKEA Place
Ikea’s app is a projection-based type of augmented reality app. It means it generates a projection onto scaled objects in your environment. The app has two modes - AR mode and Catalogue mode. The latter comes with a simple and comfortable user interface, careful item descriptions, easy navigation, which all are great, but let’s focus on AR.
In AR mode, the app superimposes 3D models over real-time video of the interior. Customers look at the screen of their smartphone or tablet and see the room augmented with selected furniture. AR features include:
* 3D models in high definition
* Moving, rotating, scaling options
* Scanning of room dimensions
* Special items from a catalogue
* Accurate positioning in iOS
And of course, there are modern attributes of any mobile app such as sharing to social networks, reviews, and comments, notifications.
Tools to make an AR app
IKEA’s tech stack is a well-kept commercial secret, obviously. According to Siftery, they use ASP.Net, HTML5, Java, List.js, jQuery, Hotjar, etc., though it’s all known developer tools for mobile and web apps. What about Augmented Reality app?
With confidence, we can say you’d need these two: Unity engine and ARKit. Unity3D is a virtual gaming engine for 2D and 3D graphics, with many features handy when it comes to augmented reality. ARKit by Apple, which has been made publicly available, along with iOS 11 SDK and Xcode 9, allows developing AR apps, exactly like IKEA in particular.
For sure, there are plenty of other AR tools, e.g. Vuforia, Wikitude SDK, Unreal engine, and many more, that you can apply. It all depends on the goal in mind.
Assembling a team of programmers, 3D artists and designers would be the first factor in the cost of augmented reality project. Rates may vary from $30 to $100 per hour, and anyway it’s going to be a pretty impressive cost at the end, considering the time it takes. For AR app you’d need a team consisting of 2 designers, 2-3 Unity developers, 2 iOS / Android developers, 1 QA engineer (and a project manager optional). The highest priority goes to designers and 3D artists.
In terms of the development process of an app like Ikea, it typically consists of five big parts:
* Back-end - 400 hours minimum
* UI/UX design (user interfaces, navigation, animations) - 200 hours minimum
* 3D models - about 48 hours for each one
* Programming - 500 hours minimum
* Quality assurance - 200 hours or more
Bottom line is that if you want a commercially successful app (i.e. earning you money), you’d need a custom mobile app with augmented reality. Custom apps are not cheap and development may take few months or even years. The budget mainly depends on app features and starts from $50,000 as a rule.
Based on median $50 hourly developer rate, an app like IKEA would cost around $45,500 plus ~$1,500 per each 3D model. Your price would be different, due to your specifications, technical requirements, team, the complexity of an app, etc. If you have an idea for an AR app or want a price quote, hit me up.