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Unity is closing the gap by making AR easy to integrate with web and app experiences, and by eliminating technical and cost barriers.
Each year, the brightest minds in the creative world come together for a week of networking, knowledge-sharing, and learning at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

This week, Unity will be attending Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for the second time.

Each year, the brightest minds in the creative world come together for a week of networking, knowledge-sharing, and learning. The festival is all about the future of creative storytelling and understanding how brands can reach and engage consumers with the newest technology.

At the festival, we are showcasing how Unity, the world’s most widely used creation platform, can give brands and marketing agencies, the tools they need to create, reach and captivate their audiences.

One of the hottest technologies that consumers and brands are actively excited about is augmented reality (AR), and more specifically, AR for advertising and marketing. Many creatives see this as one of the most powerful ways to get a brand’s message directly to key audiences.

In anticipation for Cannes this year, we surveyed 1000 creatives within advertising and marketing to gauge a better understanding on their comfort level, technical competency, and enthusiasm towards AR, including what it means for the future of storytelling. And what we found was very telling…

What we learned

The key takeaway is that consumer demand for AR marketing is growing faster than brands are able to keep up. Additionally, according to the survey results, creatives see technical challenges as their number one barrier to success.

When we asked respondents:

“What obstacles do you come across when marketing AR campaigns to consumers?”, lack of knowledge on how to use AR and technical challenges were the top two answers.

Similarly, when we asked respondents “If you implemented AR in advertising, what challenges did you face?”, cost and technical challenges were the top two answers.

But it was clear that AR is not going anywhere. When we asked respondents “What is the likelihood that you’ll be considering an AR campaign in the next 12 months?”, only 19% of people said that were not likely to. That means almost half of all respondents know AR will be part of their plans in the next year.

We also found more than half of the respondents see increased client demand for incorporating AR ads into their campaigns. Additionally, the majority of respondents (78.4%) felt positive about AR’s use in advertising.

So, overall, what does this tell us? Well, it was very encouraging.

We believe there’s an opportunity to educate marketers and creatives on the simple, powerful, and robust tools and services that Unity has to help create rich, interactive experiences.

AR technology you can use today

As a way to help close this gap, we’re announcing two exciting new products to make building AR experiences even easier.

  • Responsive AR Ads

Responsive AR Ads, announced today, are an approach to ad units that give more control to the user, giving them the option to interact with rich content.

It starts as a 3D-rendered ad unit and gives users the option to enhance their experience if they choose to. Not only does this give more control to the user, but this avoids brands having to use an unengaging fallback experience for their ads because the 3D ad unit is rich and interactive.

It’s the perfect segway into making users more comfortable with AR ads. This provides brands a friendlier, less intimidating way of inserting AR technology within ad campaigns.  

  • Use Unity as a library

The ability to use Unity as a library, announced just yesterday, allows brands that are developing native apps for iOS, Android or Windows to add AR functionality from Unity into their apps without having to rebuild their apps from scratch or to hack together their own unsupported solution, saving tons of time and energy.

In addition to these two tools, we announced AR Foundation earlier this year, a purpose-built development framework that enables developers to build AR apps and deploy across both iOS and Android.

Here’s a tutorial video from GDC 2019 that shows you how to use Lightweight Render Pipeline and our AR Foundation package to achieve amazing AR results:

Excited to get started on building incredible AR experiences? Check out these resources to get started:

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  1. I’m also interested in looking at the code from this demo. If it’s possible to download somewhere that would be great!

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  4. 1) For some reason once someone says “AR” everyone relates to” ARCore/ARKit –> which means lack of supported devices”, but that purely depends on the application field. From my 5 years experience in developing mostly AR apps (95%) at the moment 80% of AR solutions doesn’t even require SLAM alike approaches, and those who requires it has a really good alternatives for non-ARCore/ARKit supported devices that most of the commenters, as I understand, even aren’t familiar with – it’s 8thwall SDK.

    2) “AR will only work with proper AR/VR glasses” – is this a comment from a developer? Really?

  5. Can you poke google to improve ar core? They support a tiny fraction of devices and they’re getting left behind by apple.

  6. when can we see multi-lightmap support in unity? and easily switching between them…

  7. I’m in the middle of making an AR game right now with the ARfoundation and as I make this I’m seeing why the implementation to pitch to clients a big hurdle.

    1) There are only a handful of phones and tablets that support arcore, so you’ll have to make 2 apps to appeal to clients.

    2) The manuals, the blogs, and the tutorials: These libraries have changed so quickly that there are too many old deprecated ways out there that steer people in the wrong direction or reinvents a wheel that was fixed in future releases and not enough updated ones to correctly implement these features.

    These are just some of the development hurdles I’ve come across but I look forward to future development but I think good AR is about 4 years away.

    1. Yeah I agree with this, everything is so scattered at the moment. There’s stuff on the Asset Store, package manager, hit hub and Bitbucket. And the documentation is all over the place. It has come a Koch way since last year but it’s super confusing to get started.

      1. Aahhh I meant it’s come a long way :)

  8. AR will only work with proper AR/VR glasses and even then it’s still a bit of a gimmick. Right now it’s just too uncomfortable, awkward and complicated to move around with my phone pointing the camera at things. It’s fun to give something a try but it has no real long term value. So until the hardware is solved and it’s easier and more comfortable to use I don’t think AR will ever take off.

  9. I think the biggest problem with AR for marketing is that consumers have to download an app in order to participate in the experience. I think this is why AR in Snapchat marketing seems to have been so successful is because people already had the app download, it was just a matter of opening it up and pointing it at what is essentially a QR code.

  10. Until mass market AR glasses and gesture/voice controls no one will give a
    Hoot except artists and nerds.

  11. Is the project from the video available for download or will it be?