Most manufacturing companies are in the middle of their digital transformations. For most, that transformation requires adopting many new technologies, including AR (Augmented Reality). As a recently developed technology, AR is hard to evaluate, so we’ve put together this handy report of AR Foundation vs Vuforia to help you decide which industrial AR platform would be the better solution for your manufacturing company.
Many organizations are looking to implement an industrial AR platform to support their digital transformation goals.
AR Foundation vs Vuforia Comparison
Company Strength and Longevity
Since you’re betting your company’s future in large part on this decision, the first thing you will want to be sure of is that the AR product you select comes from a strong and healthy company. Vuforia is owned by PTC, which has been around since 1985, is always at the forefront of manufacturing industry technologies. PTC is a publicly-traded company with revenue of $1.256 Billion in 2019 and net profits of $93 Billion. PTC is a safe bet.
AR Foundation comes from a company called Unity. The company was originally founded as Over the Edge, in Denmark in 2004, and it initially focused on the Unity game engine. Unity continues to focus primarily on games, with little to no experience or expertise outside the gaming world. When it comes to company strength, there is no contest in the AR Foundation vs Vuforia decision.
Vuforia comes from an organization that is a leader in industrial manufacturing technology, while AR Foundation is supported by a company focused on gaming.
As mentioned above, AR Foundation focuses on AR for gaming applications. Its marketing literature, support documentation, and development roadmap focus on helping its customers navigate the different app platforms and game stores. While they did include a few presentations on advances in automotive and transportation, the current product roadmap has little to offer for any company not involved in gaming or mobile game apps.
On the other hand, PTC focuses solely on manufacturing and industrial applications. Its people understand the issues manufacturers face, and you’ll never have to educate them about how your industry works before they can begin to understand your questions.
Vuforia is well known for its advanced developer tools and offers a developer portal with links to blogs, videos, release notes, and much more to ensure that users can get going fast and keep moving ahead of the competition. PTC’s developer forum includes user-created routines that are free for other customers to use as examples. Best of all, every example and tutorial is based on manufacturing, field service, or industrial use cases, so it’s easy to see how to apply or adapt them to your unique needs.
AR Foundation includes videos and blogs, and it also includes an app store where you can buy inexpensive applets or routines created by other developers. However, as we have mentioned before the focus stays with the gaming and application sectors.
Vuforia includes a developer portal that includes user-created routines that other customers can use.
Industrial Strength Apps
AR Foundation is used to create mobile game apps, so the worst that can happen if a glitch occurs is that the user starts the game over.
Vuforia applications include such heavy-duty for:
- Augmenting work instructions in the factory
- Real-world training proven to improve skills and reduce downtime
- Field service that helps ensure more service tickets are completed during the first visit
- Tools to help customers envision using products in their own facilities.
If these types of applications fail, it costs real time and real money, which is the reason you want a bullet-proof, industrial-strength solution like Vuforia as your AR tool of choice.
Vuforia includes industrial-strength solutions for when failure is not an option.
Training and Support
AR Foundation licensees have access to Unity Learn, a premium site loaded with useful tutorials and training apps. Users can select their level of expertise, so they don’t risk being confused by jargon or demonstrations beyond their current skill level. They also offer a free four-week course to help new users build the necessary skills. Documentation and the product knowledge base are available online. Unity offers free online support or a premium paid version that offers 24-access.
PTC has online education and support, as well as classes through PTC University, and a robust user community. PTC also offers free trial licenses good for thirty days and discounted licenses for students and educators.
AR Foundation and Vuforia have comprehensive training and support resources.
Since AR Foundation creates single user mobile apps, that are primarily games, it relies on the device security, which may—or may not—be adequate for your purposes.
Vuforia, on the other hand, is used for industrial applications such as IIoT, Remote Service Calls, and programming industrial machines and robots. These are not applications to be taken lightly. Imagine the expense and liability if a lost or misplaced device opened industrial robot programs and allowed outside tampering. That potential scenario is why Vuforia shares the same industrial-strength security that the rest of PTC’s IIoT solutions use.
AR Foundation vs Vuforia – Which is Better for Industrial AR?
There is little question that AR Foundation is a good AR development tool for games and lightweight solutions, but it has neither a track record nor a plan to address manufacturing and industrial concerns. If you need AR to enhance your Industry 4.0 or IIoT initiatives, then the winner in the AR Foundation vs Vuforia contest is clear—it’s Vuforia all the way.
To learn more about Vuforia and how it can help you quickly achieve cost-effective AR solutions for training, service, sales, and IIoT applications, contact us today.