PTC Enhances AR Platform With VuMark, Microsoft Support
The vendor's Vuforia offering includes VuMark, an AR visual code for products, and support for Microsoft's HoloLens and Windows 10 devices.Software maker PTC is building out its augmented reality platform with a new feature that enables enterprises to put a customizable code onto their products and adds support for Microsoft's HoloLens technology and tablets that run Windows 10. Vuforia 6 is the company's latest iteration of its platform for augmented reality (AR) development based on the technology PTC inherited last year when it bought Qualcomm's Vuforia AR business for $65 million. Company officials have been expanding the company's efforts around Vuforia, extending support to a broad range of smartphones, tablets and smart eyewear, putting more than 30,000 Vuforia-powered apps onto the Apple App Store and Google Play, and fostering a developer ecosystem that has more than 250,000 registered developers and more than 30,000 projects in development. Vuforia is part of a larger transition at PTC, a billion-dollar company that at one point was best known for its product lifecycle management (PLM) and application lifecycle management (ALM) products. However, PTC officials are turning their attention to such emerging markets as the internet of things (IoT), AR and virtual reality (VR). Along with Vuforia, PTC has bought other companies in those areas, including ThingWorx, Axeda and Kepware. Those efforts were on display earlier this month, when PTC officials hosted a webcast event in Boston to demonstrate new technologies that they said will help accelerate the growth of AR in the enterprise. Among those technologies was VuMark, a visual code that enables AR capabilities to be attached to any products or objects. The VuMark—which officials at the event said was essentially a barcode for the AR world—can be customized to work with the customer's brand and logo and can be detected by a PTC AR application. The information encoded in the VuMark—which can include a URL or product serial number—can be read by the application and displayed on the screen of a smartphone or tablet.
The AR experience can then include such capabilities as step-by-step instructions for the assembly of the product, its use, repair or inspection. PTC also offers the VuMark Designer, which lets users of Adobe Illustrator customize the VuMarks by using existing graphics and logos while also encoding any type of data into them.