AR guides us: Navigation and the search for POI’s

One of the first augmented reality apps was ” Wikitude Drive” for Android. This app was available in the Android Marketplace at the end of the year 2010 [1] and displayed the planned route directly into the camera-image. It combines the navigation map data, the actual position with the real world seen through the mobile phone’s camera.

Wikitude Drive App
Wikitude Drive App [2]
This was almost six years ago. Actually the app is not anymore available in the app stores and other navigation apps do not support augmented reality navigation. But the next generation of augmented reality navigation systems will perhaps arrive soon and it could looks like the picture from the company below.

WayRay Navion
WayRay Navion [3]
The company writes at their homepage, that this new navigation system called “Navion” should be released in 2016. The compact “Navion” device, it does not work with a smart phone, is placed on the car’s dashboard. The device projects holographic information onto the road ahead and does not need any additional eyewear [3].

Another actual available augmented reality smart phone app for cars is the app called “iOnRoad” (iOS, Android). The app detects with the mobile phone camera other cars driving in front of you and calculate the distance between the two cars in seconds. If the car is too close, the app warns the driver. The app checks also, if the car drives over an unbroken line and gives a signal. This features can enhance the safety while driving a car [4].

iOnRoad Smart Phone app
iOnRoad smart phone app [4]
Point of interest smart phone apps

But there are not only augmented reality navigation apps available. Apps like  Layar (iOS, Android) or some city travel guides (eTips) displays through the smart phone camera directly interesting places, right where you are. Apps like these two examples can help tourists to find the right locations like shops, restaurants or hotels (POI’s). They often display not only the name of the locations, but also additional information’s like prices or review. The pictures below show a AR project from and Wikitude [5]. – AR search for hotels [5]
Apps like Layar or depends on location-based services (LBS). Location-based services are computer programs that combine location data with additional information’s like point of interests or reviews from other users [6].

The business model of navigation or POI’s apps

Navigation apps, similar apps like iOnRoad or apps for tourists are often not free to use. The user or customer, has to pay for the app or he has to buy some In-App Purchases for the real interesting or additional features.

So the developer’s business model is to develop and to sell the app as much as possible. Includes the app an offline map, the developer has to update the map in regular intervals. The developer is responsible that all online services, like traffic information, has to be available all the time.

For the developer, the use of augmented reality features is not mandatory, but it is a unique selling argument which gives him an advantage over his competitors.

The users benefit is that location-based augmented reality apps connects the real environment with media contents from the internet. The user gets the relevant information for his actual context (time, location, situation). The augmented reality apps combine the real with the virtual world and the user gets information from both sides.

[1] oe24: Erste Augmente Reality Navi-App startet – Online Source [12.04.2016]
[2] Wikitude Navigation – Online Source [12.04.2016]
[3] WayRay Navion – Online Source [12.04.2016]
[4] iOnRoad Smart Phone app – Online Source [10.04.2016]
[5] Wikitude and – Search for Hotels – Online Source [09.04.2016]
[6] D. Schart, N. Tschanz (2015) Augmented Reality, Praxishandbuch, UVK: Konstanz, Page 105

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