Headless CMS Use Case: AR & VR

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Mike Vertal

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Emerging applications of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) suggest a tremendous potential in enabling digital innovation and delivering exceptional modern experiences to digital consumers. In recent years, AR and VR have grown in popularity among brands, enhancing customer experiences and allowing for deeper immersion.

According to a survey on Statista, the market for AR and VR will reach $30.7 billion by the end of 2021, and $300 billion by 2024. With this in view, it’s hardly a surprise that AR & VR are emerging as promising new ways to increase customer engagement, requiring companies to develop new strategies and technologies to offer unique experiences to customers. One way to do this is by leveraging the power of a headless CMS.

A headless CMS provides a backend for all forms of content delivered over an API to a front-facing application. In this article, you’ll learn about how Crafter’s headless CMS is perfect for building AR and VR experiences.

An Overview of Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality

As the world opens up new avenues for innovation, businesses continue to look for ways to simplify how users interact with digital products. Many content creators and designers consider Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality as the future of digital interactions, and expect it to significantly change society even more than the impact of the mobile phone.

Despite their apparent similarities, VR & AR offer two very different experiences. VR uses technology to create a simulated experience that is similar or entirely different from the real world. In this way, VR takes you away from reality. On the other hand, AR is an interactive digital experience that superimposes virtual elements and other sensory modalities such as sound with the real world. In another way, you can say AR enhances reality by integrating virtual elements into the real life environment.

Why Use a Headless CMS for AR & VR

The beauty of headless architecture is that you can deliver content seamlessly across any digital channel. A headless CMS provides a backend repository that holds the content that you serve across all your interfaces. That means you can deliver not only website and blog content, but also mobile apps, digital signage, video-on-demand and live streaming, as well as AR and VR content.

Like most modern applications, AR solutions typically include a lot of content and other related digital assets such as 3D models, videos, and images. It’s a common practice to deploy textual content or markup along with the application. However, this practice requires lengthy deployment processes and relies on developers for every content update.

In turn, that lack of alignment and independence leads to a loss of productivity, which negatively impacts business results. Because of the nature of these typical solutions, traditional VR and AR face the following challenges:

  • Developers or other technical staff need to develop, test, and deploy software for every update.
  • It is impossible to personalize experiences for each user.
  • Everything is independent of each other, including the user journey, content strategy, and other aspects.

With a headless CMS, you can easily make changes to the AR or VR scene properties. It provides you with a view of the AR asset so that you can test and make changes as you go along. The right headless approach also enables omnichannel experiences and personalized content for customers.

With AR, customers can trigger intelligent interactive displays such as 3D product displays. Similarly, the CMS can deliver intelligent AI-based recommendations such as pricing and purchase options.

For VR displays, VR glasses or smartphones are used by viewers to experience an immersive product experience. For instance, a real estate manager may intend to provide customers with a view of a property and showcase what the place looks like in real life. A VR display can provide viewers with a way to read or select additional content information and receive answers to their questions at their peripheral view.

How CrafterCMS Supports AR & VR

Crafter provides a headless CMS for managing rich intuitive digital experiences across multiple channels. That also includes AR & VR experiences. CrafterCMS provides developers with powerful extensible content APIs (REST, GraphQL, Javascript) and an architecture that supports innovation. Utilizing popular AR/VR front-end technologies and frameworks such as A-Frame, AR.js and WebXR is straightforward. Because of this, both developers and content authors can collaborate to create exceptional digital experiences with VR and AR.

CrafterCMS provides an environment where developers and content authors can collaborate seamlessly and create immersive digital experiences. For instance, it provides content authors with powerful and easy to use tools for creating content experiences through web-based publishing tools, in-context WYSIWYG editing, drag and drop experience building, and safe and secure editing sandboxes.

CrafterCMS developers can leverage a modern tech architecture built on Java, Spring, Git, Groovy, and Elasticsearch. With its native content repository built on Git, CrafterCMS enables teams to move content and code seamlessly between environments. Crafter’s Git-based repo also fully supports DevOps processes and tooling.

A typical workflow for creating VR & AR experiences may include:

  • First, the developer creates the VR or AR via templated markups and scripts. It can also contain code as it may take advantage of Crafter's server-side rendering support.
  • After this, any content author (i.e., non-technical user) can create, modify and publish the experiences at any time.
  • Once published, the CrafterCMS delivery engine renders the experiences to end users securely and blazingly fast.

Create Immersive Digital Experiences With CrafterCMS

For businesses that want to stay ahead of competition, VR/AR offer a unique opportunity to deliver immersive digital experiences. CrafterCMS is enabling innovative organizations to create dynamic & personalized virtual and augmented experiences today. Content authors have access to a web-based platform where they create and manage immersive digital experiences. At the same time, developers leverage a platform that fits seamlessly into the development process and supports any and all front-end technologies.

CrafterCMS provides unique support for the DevContentOps approach which helps to eliminate friction between developers and content authors when working together on content-rich applications and experiences. Enterprises can build new content applications faster than ever before by integrating content operations and CMS into the traditional DevOps process. To learn more about how Crafter supports AR & VR, take a look at our webcast: Trends in Digital Experience: Virtual and Augmented Reality and read our developer blog Building CMS Backed Augmented Experiences.

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