Top Augmented Reality companies: 5 types of AR companies and how they work


The mobile AR landscape is diverse and can be confusing. While some top Augmented Reality companies provide a range of products, services and publishing options, there are essentially five basic types of Augmented Reality companies.

1) AR platform companies

AR platform companies provide a foundation and the toolbox for experienced software developers working to create advanced Augmented Reality solutions. Some of these companies also build and market their own products, or provide custom services on the side (Qualcomm® Vuforia™, METAIO’s SDK, TotalImmersion). Platform companies enable the other four types of companies and the customer is the experienced developer

2) AR product and game companies

AR product and game companies develop and market their own exclusive AR products such as books or games for consumer retail sale. Some companies use mobile Augmented Reality, but largely they rely on dedicated consoles.  Companies in this space include Sphero, POPAR, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.

3) Self-service DIY AR companies and universal AR viewers

Designed for quick and simple AR experiences or campaigns, these companies offer content management tools and a limited menu of basic AR effects. With self-service AR tools, tech savvy individuals can create simple experiences like launching a single video or simple animations.  AR self-service companies are great for publishers, educators, students, and others who want to test or create a simple Augmented Reality experience without investing in a complete custom branded app experience. Some DIY companies also offer AR viewers, customized services and white label options. Companies in this space include Layar, Aurasma, DAQRI and  Zappar.

4) Custom branded app development companies

These companies work directly with brand marketers and agencies to build custom Augmented Reality solutions for major advertising campaigns, trade shows and live events. Custom branded apps allow marketers to combine one-of-a-kind custom Augmented Reality experiences with personalized service and project management. Custom features frequently include branding specifications, navigation, user interfaces, animations, complex or large-scale AR effects, and more. Services may include 3D modeling, integration with other software services or ecommerce platforms, game development, location-based installations, notifications, complex animations, micro locations, or other advanced AR effects.  Companies in this space include appshaker, GravityJack and Marxent.

5) Industry-specific vertical AR solutions

The newest category of AR companies to emerge are those offering AR solutions tailored to serve niche business verticals such as luxury retail, medical services, industrial applications, pharmaceutical companies and cosmetic companies. Companies in this space include Blippar for advertising, Holition for luxury jewelry retail, Adornably for furniture placement, and Marxent’s VisualCommerce® for consumer retail, industrial, and enterprise sales tools.