Augmented Reality Becoming More Like the Read/Write Web

When content management systems (CMS) like WordPress and Blogger hit the Web several years ago, the Internet entered a new age where it became quick and easy for anyone with a computer to contribute content. This week, augmented reality (AR) took a significant step toward becoming more like the read/write Web with the launch of an online mobile AR CMS for creating content on the Layar platform.

“Augmentation” – a Web-based tool for generating mobile AR content – was created by Layar Partner Network member Hoppala. With a Layar developer account, users of Augmentation can easily and instantaneously place their content in Layar with zero code and a few clicks on a map. Custom icons, images, audio, video and 3D content can all be added by way of a full screen map interface, and Hoppala will even host all of the data.

The company has been providing content management solutions for Layar since launching a beta test of its Layarserver in August of 2009. This project, however, is new in that it provides a tidy user-friendly GUI for adding myriad AR data instantly to Layar. For a more detailed look at how the Augmentation Web app works, watch the video embedded below.

As more tools like Augmentation lower the bar of entry for augmented reality, a flood of AR data will begin to fill platforms like Layar, junaio and Wikitude. This progression is not unlike that of the Web with the widespread popularity of blogs. With the Web, however, powerful search engines make finding relevant content much easier and Websites are (for the most part) browser agnostic.

This is not the case with mobile AR, where content is limited to the browser it is built for. Efforts for standardization in AR will help ease this problem, but what is really needed is a new open mobile AR browser that can aggregate content from the other platforms. Looking forward, solutions like these will benefit the overall proliferation of AR, instead of fragmenting and limiting it.

Hoppala’s Augmentation tool is a great next step for AR content creation, as it lets users focus on creating great content, not on the complex technical aspects of AR. That said, it signals the beginning of a new era for AR as content creation is as easy as hosting a blog. As augmented reality matures, the platforms through which we use it must mature as well.

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