This new conferencing app is an incredible example of how Apple’s next big thing can help your everyday life
Before tech giants like Apple and Google started talking about augmented reality as the future of technology, Vuforia was one of the few companies that was actually making AR software.
Vuforia, a former Qualcomm subsidiary now owned by PTC, isn’t a household name because it didn’t make its own apps. Instead, it provided technology for other companies who wanted to make apps that integrated computer graphics and the real world.
On Monday, Vuforia launched its first app called Chalk. It’s a videoconferencing app, but unlike existing services like FaceTime or Skype, it allows users to circle and point out interesting features in real-time.
One way to use Chalk, Jay Wright, president of Vuforia at PTC explains, is tech help for your family. While you’re videoconferencing through Chalk, you can, say, circle the right remote, or point out the “little thingy at the bottom” that’s causing the problem.
Vuforia uses its augmented-reality technology to allow digital graphics to stay stuck to where they were drawn in real life. It’s a simple app — just videoconferencing, plus drawing on the real world.
“Not only is this the best use of augmented-reality technology we’ve been working on, but it’s something that everyone can use, ” Vuforia President Jay Wright told Business Insider.
Chalk is free to consumers, but Vuforia hopes to sell the underlying technology to other businesses for tech support and other uses.
For now, Vuforia Chalk uses Apple’s ARKit, and it’s only available for Apple phones and tablets that support ARKit and are running the latest version of iOS. But in the future, Vuforia plans to support additional devices and platforms, including Google’s Android as well as its ARCore software.
Part of Vuforia’s strategy going forward is that on devices where ARKit and ARCore are supported, it will use Apple or Google’s framework. But Vuforia will also work to bring similar AR experiences to phones that aren’t currently supported by ARKit or ARCore; if an app doesn’t support ARKit, it can use Vuforia’s AR frameworks.
“We’ve created this module with the intelligence to use the best underlying technology and deliver the right experience,” Wright said, talking about Vuforia’s developer technologies. “If you’re a developer, I don’t have to worry about ARKit, I don’t have to worry about ARCore, you can get a very comparable capability to ARKit and ARCore on even more devices.”