WebXR – How Browser Based Technology is Shaping MR Experiences

Augmented Reality (AR) is a great way for users to experience a life-like version of your product, but up until recently an app has been the standout way to bring this experience to your target audience.

Now, through the power of WebXR, AR experiences are more accessible than ever before.

What is WebXR?

WebXR is a powerful web standard that enables developers to create immersive augmented reality and virtual reality (VR) experiences that can be accessed directly through web browsers. Developed by the W3C Immersive Web Working Group, WebXR stands for “Web Extended Reality,” where XR is a catch-all term encompassing both AR and VR. The primary advantage of WebXR is its accessibility; users do not need to download or install additional software to experience XR content. Instead, they can simply visit a web page on a compatible browser, making it easier for developers & adopters of the technology to reach a wider audience.

WebXR leverages the capabilities of modern web technologies such as WebGL, WebRTC, and the Web Audio API, allowing for rich, interactive 3D graphics and sound. It supports a range of hardware from high-end VR headsets to smartphones with AR capabilities. The API is designed to be flexible and performant, providing developers with the tools to create experiences that can adjust dynamically to different devices and performance levels. This standardisation and flexibility not only simplify development but also foster innovation by lowering the entry barrier for creating and sharing immersive experiences on the web.

The Benefits

Accessibility and Reach: WebXR enables users to access AR and VR experiences directly through web browsers without the need for additional software or apps. This significantly broadens the potential audience, as users can easily enter immersive experiences from a variety of devices, including desktops, smartphones, and VR headsets, simply by visiting a URL.

Cross-Platform Compatibility: WebXR is designed to work across multiple devices and operating systems, offering a consistent experience whether accessed on a high-end VR headset or a standard mobile phone with AR capabilities. This cross-platform support reduces the development time and resources needed to create and maintain separate applications for different platforms.

Ease of Integration with Web Technologies: WebXR leverages existing web technologies like WebGL for 3D graphics, WebRTC for real-time communication, and the Web Audio API for spatial sound. This integration allows developers to use familiar tools and frameworks, streamlining the development process and enabling the creation of complex, interactive, and high-performance immersive experiences directly within the web ecosystem. It also allows communication between the interaction and the web site it is housed within. For example an online configurator can update the experience based on the users selection and then forward this information to the website when the user wishes to make a purchase.

The Cons

Performance Limitations: While WebXR enables broad accessibility, it may face performance limitations compared to native AR and VR applications. Web-based experiences can be constrained by browser capabilities and the overhead of running in a web environment, potentially leading to lower frame rates and less sophisticated graphics, especially on lower-end devices.

Limited Hardware Integration: WebXR may not support all the advanced features and sensors of specialised VR and AR hardware as comprehensively as native applications. This can result in less precise tracking, reduced interaction fidelity, and a more limited overall experience compared to what might be achieved with a fully optimised, device-specific native app.

Is WebXR Right For You?

We have created a variety of WebXR experiences which are in use today, ranging from interactive web only experiences to showcase company offerings, to WebXR powered AR experiences to showcase customisable product ranges.
Are you trying to increase your outreach and a 3D representation of your product(s) would be a great benefit for users? Then WebXR could be perfect for you!

WebXR experiences don’t always need to be consumer focused. We’ve also used WebXR to create tools for sales teams, which have allowed them to help potential customers better visualise their products whilst out in the field. Some of our clients have also used it to to allow for virtual trainings within the browser such as practicing the process for performing medical procedures.

Thanks to WebXR, gone are the days of guesswork and uncertainty. By providing a true-to-life representation of products, consumers have the power to make informed decisions, whether it’s optimising space, matching aesthetic preferences, or ensuring compatibility, WebXR experiences offer a comprehensive solution at their fingertips.

FAQs

What is WebXR?
WebXR is a web standard that allows developers to create immersive augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences accessible directly through web browsers. This technology eliminates the need for users to download or install additional software, making it easier for developers to reach a wider audience.

Is WebXR suitable for showcasing products?
Yes, WebXR is highly suitable for showcasing products. It allows for interactive and life-like 3D representations of products, helping users make informed decisions by visualising products in a true-to-life manner. This can be beneficial for both consumer-focused applications and sales tools used by internal teams to demonstrate products in the field.

Can WebXR experiences be used beyond consumer-focused applications?
Absolutely. WebXR is versatile and can be used for various applications beyond consumer-focused experiences. For example, it can be utilised to create tools for sales teams, enabling them to help potential customers visualise products more effectively while on the go. This flexibility makes WebXR a valuable tool for enhancing product visualisation and decision-making in multiple contexts.

What types of devices are compatible with WebXR?
WebXR supports a wide range of devices, from high-end VR headsets to smartphones with AR capabilities. This cross-device compatibility ensures that users can experience WebXR content on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices, providing a consistent experience across different hardware.

How does WebXR differ from traditional AR and VR applications?
Unlike traditional AR and VR applications, which often require users to download and install dedicated software, WebXR allows users to access immersive experiences directly through web browsers. This enhances accessibility and convenience, as users can simply visit a URL to engage with AR and VR content.

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