Adobe readies to launch no-code AR tools for businesses

Two new no-code AR tools could give smaller firms new potential to design immersive campaigns.
14 August 2019

In the first quarter of 2019, Adobe landed US$674 million in revenue. The creative and marketing tech firm might have been a designer’s staple for years firm, but it doesn’t rest on its laurels.

Adobe’s Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President for Creative Cloud, Scott Belsky predicted last year that AR could be “bigger than the web”, owed to its potential to make certain things “drastically easier”. 

“When I think about AR, I think about instances like finding your way somewhere, finding your friends in a stadium, or going to a conference and looking around and knowing who everyone is because their LinkedIn profile is hanging over their heads,” said Belsky. 

Growing AR spend

More than 12 months on from those words and AR spend is being driven by the enterprise. By 2023, the IDC expects global spend on AR and VR combined to hit US$160 billion. 

The figure represents an almost ten-fold increase on the US$16.8 billion penned for this year, and comes as applications in the commercial and public sector accelerate demand. That’s a lucrative market for tech companies that can provide the technology, and that’s why Adobe is giving enterprises two no-code tools to create their own AR in-house. 

The first of these tools— both of which are still in prototype— Project Aero allows designers to take their creations from Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Dimension and “bring them to life” in 3D spaces around them. 

The software technically creates a new ‘layer’ of PSD or equivalent files on the physical world, which means that the app projects the design file as an AR layer on a designated physical location.

Project Glasswing & Aero

The second tool, Project Glasswing, is an “experimental display prototype” that brings creativity from Adobe’s design tools to the real-world behind a ‘piece of glass’. Users can interact with the mixed reality interface, and view real products on display with accompanying text, graphics, and video overlaid on top.

Both AR tools unlock potential for innovative projects across sectors such as advertising, retail, education, and workplace training, without the need for complex coding, which would have previously had to have been outsourced to expensive specialist agencies. Coca-Cola and IKEA are two brands that have experimented with complex AR coding for advertising, the technology would has previously been out of budget for many smaller SMEs and agencies. 

In terms of potential use cases, small, bespoke furniture makers could leverage Aero technology to present a 3D view of their product range to customers online, for example, or housing developers could let interested buyers view a map of a newly-created neighborhood on the floor of their apartment. 

Retailers could use Glasswing to highlight stock items, such as sneakers, with digital information appearing layered around it. A vending machine could use a masked video of water to augment the view of physical bottles behind it, or a restaurant could present its menu in a glass case, with overlaid video of its kitchen at work. 

An established part of the designer’s toolbox, offering creative teams the tools such as these across multiple sectors and industries could see our world become inundated with boundary-pushing AR applications, without the need for expensive headwear, or even smartphones. 

The result could be new ways of enhancing customer experience with rich and interactive visual information, helping to engage and enthrall customers on a scale never before seen with AR.

“Digital experiences like these aren’t taking place in some far off, imaginary future,” said Adobe.

“Just as storytelling shifted from paper to digital, experiences will no longer be confined to phones, laptops, and TV screens. 

“AR will close the gap between our devices and our senses, driving the next wave of transformation and creating new challenges and opportunities.”