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Five Things You Can Build with Torch Publish & One Thing You Can’t

Publish completes your AR workflow 

To give product teams—especially those new to AR in general and Torch specifically—a sense of what is possible, I’ll share five examples of live AR apps you can build and export with Torch Publish and one use case for which Torch is poorly suited.

“Can I make this with Torch?”

It’s an encouraging question to hear because it indicates that more people, every day, are waking up to the possibilities of augmented reality. And since Torch is, at the end of the day, focused on practical, ROI-driven use cases, it is doubly encouraging to learn that at the heart of a fair percentage of these inquiries is the question—“Can AR help my business?”

Note that I use business and ROI as pretty broad terms. It could mean a sports team doing a marketing activation, an interactive product viewer embedded in a web page or an expert in supply chain and inventory management (SCIM) adapting materials to AR in order to maintain interest in his online courses. 

It could also mean artists sharing their work, small Nova Scotia museums creating guided tours, digital storytellers creating demo apps to inspire customers about what’s possible, entrepreneurs mocking up concepts for new AR apps to share with their investors, or Martijn Stellingwerff’s playful and often hilarious Torch projects

As we explore the early opportunities of AR we turn to this simple definition of ROI—did you get as much or more value out of sharing what you did in Torch as the value of the work you put into it? If you ask me, that’s a pretty good metric for more than AR, too.

Download Torch AR for free from the App Store to get started.

1. Add a 3D product catalog to your native app

Torch makes it dead easy to create an interactive 3D product viewer. We turned this example of a Kuka K1000 Titan robotic arm into a template for a product viewer apps that we are using repeatedly. 

It takes minutes to build and share each new product’s 3D view. And the interactivity is critical—you can rotate the product, select more information and, if you wanted, even change colors. 

All this is done in 3D so you don’t have to continuously switch back out to the 2D UI, make a selection, and re-initiate the AR sessions. That means faster decisions and better conversion rates. 

The TorchKit SDK lets you load Torch-built content into SceneKit/ARKit at runtime very easily. Once you've made the integration, you can continuously publish spatial content to your mobile app.

If you want to embed interactive 3D product views in your iOS app with Torch Publish, get in touch. Working with this Torch template is fast and easy—we can even help you build it

2. Activate sports marketing promotions with Web AR

Augmented reality offers sports teams a way to engage their fans with experiences that are novel and on-brand. Torch offers a chance to go beyond just novelty though, creating interactive games that delight and stir conversation (and get shared a ton). 

Since Torch supports linking and API calls, experiences can result in real engagement with either the team or sponsors—for example, redeemable prizes in return for emails—and improve attribution that proves ROI. 

Using Torch’s workflow, teams can reach their fans without an app, in Web AR on a smartphone browser, using our soon-to-be-released integration with 8th Wall.

*While this example wasn't built with Torch, it does a great job of illustrating the interactive excitement mobile AR can add to large events.

3. Share interactive engineering, architectural & BIM presentations

One of the best recent examples of how people are using Torch was shared on LinkedIn by two members of our community—Matt Wunch and Stephen Walz—both of whom are using Torch to showcase down-sized CAD designs.

Playable Torch AR Viewer Links complement your favorite presentation software, especially when it is already spatial content coming from Autodesk’s toolset (Forge, Revvit, etc.). Click a link from a presentation and be transported to the center of the 3D floorplan to review in AR. 

This delightful example extracts a lot of value from existing assets and empowers teams with new ways to communicate about spatial designs.

4. Spark joy—share laughs & learning

I know what I said above but I included these examples because fun and play are key to problem-solving. Open-ended exploration drives the creative process and helps us understand what works—or doesn’t—especially as spatial design patterns are still developing.

So if some fancy-pants University of Chicago economist out there wants to disagree on the topic of whether any of these videos of fun, frivolous, light-hearted, or just plain odd Torch projects deliver a return on investment. I’ll just laugh.

5. Build an Instagram world effect empire

With our Spark AR export feature, Publish makes it easy to quickly build, iterate, test, and share Facebook and Instagram world effects. And with the market for social AR effects growing quickly, now’s the time to build your world effect empire. 

With Instagram effects now available to all users and brands, we expect to see some rapid innovation why not make a name for yourself, early adopter?

Face it, Torch just isn’t for selfies.

Which brings me to the one use case, or class of use cases, for which Torch particularly is not at all useful—selfie-camera-based, or face effect use cases. We focus on the world camera (for now, at least). 

There are plenty of companies and individual producers working on the face filters and effects, use cases like make-up and glasses try-ons are certainly delivering for the companies that use them. More power to them. Just not our bag—we’re focussed on how the world camera unlocks utility and ROI in mobile AR today and with head-mounted-displays in the very near future. 

And furthermore….

I thought this would be a one-off post to help people new to Torch and interested in Torch Publish begin to understand and imagine how AR can solve solve problems for them. But as I wrote, I realized I wouldn’t have thought to mention most of these use cases a month ago. 

Augmented reality is coming into its own fast. With this will come new and exciting use cases, often ones we can’t imagine today. A lot of the use cases we were seeing before either haven’t really needed AR or were using AR to do simple things with strong real-world analogues. Things like visualizing a product in your home before you buy it proves the value of AR to a mass audience in a straightforward manner. 

That’s been a great place to start, but use cases are evolving and that is exciting. Abstraction, wit, unique combinations of 2D and 3D assets, along with the emergence of options for object persistence in place between sessions are changing the nature of AR use cases at an accelerating pace.

With that in mind, I will leave you with a quote from Art Spiegelman from an op-ed that ran Sunday, 8/17/19 in the Guardian (and is itself well worth a read). Paraphrasing noted philosopher and media critic Marshall McLuhan, Spiegelman wrote: “[E]very medium subsumes the content of the medium that precedes it before it finds its own voice.”

Contact us to learn how Torch Publish can help your team ship AR apps anywhere.