Cost of Augmented Reality Training [2020]

With any custom learning and development work, it’s going to be challenging to give a set price for augmented reality training content. When you want customized augmented reality training content, it can cost from $25,000 to $50,000 or more depending on the type of interactions, 3D modeling hours required, and the AR capable devices you choose.

Our team is asked every day, “How much does augmented reality training cost?” It’s not easy to give just one answer.

Many factors can affect the price of augmented reality (AR) training, from customizing the content to the user’s level of interactions. Then, you have to consider the number and quality of the AR capable devices. 

In this article, we will review the cost range of augmented reality training projects and break down the factors that could change your price.

*Cost ranges are general estimates; each training program is unique, and costs can vary. Please seek a professional quote for more specific and reliable costs.

 

What Is Augmented Reality Training?

Augmented Reality (AR) adds interactive, digital elements to a live, real-world environment through a phone, tablet, or headset. You can use your device to manipulate the computer-generated objects in a 3D space, seeing everything as if it were in front of you, and more because you can see inside objects or manipulate the object size.

There are three types of AR technology:

  • Image Target — video, text, images, or 3D objects overlay a real-world 2D image
  • Object Recognition — a digital 3D model is fixed to a real-world 3D object that can pick up and move the digital 3D model around
  • Plane Detection — a digital 3D model is fixed to a real-world flat surface that is typically stationary, so you have to move around it

Examples of AR Training uses: 

  • Technical Skills – Teach employees how to assemble products or complicated machinery by allowing them to interact with a digital re-creation. Prompt them to interact with a 3D model to learn how it works.
  • Processes – Work through troubleshooting products and repair equipment by outlining the steps and guiding the learner to work through the problem step by step.
  • Onboarding – Introduce new employees by guiding them through the business, shop floor, process, and more with their training tablet.
  • Simulations – Recreate a piece of equipment to an area so your employee can learn how to work through tough situations and decision making.

This extended reality technology can provide ‘virtual’ hands-on training for deeper objective understanding and allow employees to sharpen the skills needed for the job.

Whether your organization needs to develop technical skills like maintenance and repair or upgrade onboarding and change management initiatives, AR is a solution that captivates all generations of workers.

Read More: AR vs. VR Training: How to Choose the Best Technology 

 

How Much Does Augmented Reality Training Cost? 

When an organization wants to try augmented reality training for the first time, we recommend a pilot program. An augmented reality training pilot program typically costs between $12,000 and $25,000 or more

The capabilities and customization of a pilot program may be more limited than a complete augmented training program. Still, it is a great way to get started with AR training with a relatively low investment. 

This pilot program is a great way to to get started because you can:

  • Learn about the process of developing your AR content
  • Test to see if the technology is received well by your learners
  • Figure out if your learning objectives can be met with AR technology
  • See if the AR training is scalable for your business needs

Read More: How to Develop Augmented Reality Training for Your Company

When we build pilots, we build them as though they’re part of a full program. That way, we have a usable starting point to build from if a full program gains support. When you are ready to move past your pilot program or jump into your augmented reality training program design, you can expect to pay, on average, between $25,000 and $50,000. Now let’s break down the factors that affect the price of your program.

 

Base Application

One of the significant advantages of AR training is that you don’t have to invest in expensive VR headsets. You can use iOS or Android devices – including smartphones! The first cost we will cover today is the application that will enable your device to run the AR training. This app is branded with your company logo and will be installed on your training devices (tablets or smartphones) to give your learners access to the AR program. 

The cost to develop and implement your program app will account for approximately $8,000 and $15,000. Similar to other apps on your phone, your base app for AR training will need to be approved by the Android and iOS app stores, but then they will be distributed privately to your training devices.

 

3D Modeling

When you have your base application, you need an AR program to run on it! This is when our developers will bring your training to life through 3D modeling. While the pricing will vary, the average cost between $100 and $200 an hour to hire a 3D designer for AR training projects.

The number of developer hours needed for this part of the project entirely depends on your training program needs. Some organizations want fully custom, intricate machine parts that are precise and need to be accurate, while other organizations can have flexibility with aspects of the 3D modeling.

Some organizations can save money with 3D modeling for their AR training by providing files to help model their assets being used. Providing CAD files can save developer time by giving them a headstart on modeling your specific training assets. A reliable AR training vendor will help advise on the best way to use your developer hours.

 

Instructional Design and Programming

While 3D modeling can take your training program to the next level, it’s important to remember that your training should be rooted in sound instructional design. This means solid learning objectives, useful interactions, and sometimes even programming multimedia components. 

It can cost between $150 to $300 an hour for instructional design and programming, just like the 3D modeling, the number of hours needed depends on your project:

  • Level of user activity
  • Number of interactions
  • Types of interactions
  • Branched learning options
  • Integrations with other systems

For example, training with interactions that are limited to just two answers to choose from (and thus two possible learning paths for learners to choose) may not take as long to develop a training that includes interactions with three or more possible answers and paths.

 

Devices

The number and type of devices you use for your program depends entirely on your organization and training efforts. Luckily, there are many AR capable devices available on the market. Typically, iPads capable of AR start around $400, and the comparable Android device starts around $700.

If you have employees that are willing to use their own smartphones, you can save money because many smartphones on the market are already AR capable – if they can play PokemonGO, they can use your training content!

 

Extended Reality System 

If you have AR content within your training program, you will want a way to manage the content, which means you’ll need an Extended Reality System (XRS). Similar to an LMS, an XRS will help you manage, deploy, track, and measure your virtual reality training results. 

With any management system, your price will depend on your number of licenses, in this case, one license per device. You can expect to pay between $10 – $20 monthly per license plus a baseline fee for an XRS portal. Keep in mind that with software subscriptions like an XRS, the economies of scale mean that the more devices you have on the system, the less you pay per device.

Read More: Mercury XRS: What it is, How it Works, What it Could Mean For You 

 

Pros and Cons of AR Training

Now that you know more about the costs of AR training, it’s a good idea to reconsider the advantages and disadvantages.

 

Pros of Augmented Reality Training

  • Safe Experiential Learning – Allow your learners to interact with digital 3D models that provide a safe experiential learning environment. There is no risk to the business, no safety risk to the employees, and no risk of an employee damaging any real-world products or equipment.
  • High ROI – As is typically the case with XR training, custom augmented reality training can have high upfront development costs. But when used strategically, it can provide an immediate boost to employee performance and the bottom line.
  • Dynamic Performance Support – While AR is well-suited for microlearning, employees can also use it for in-the-moment performance support. Retail employees can use AR to reinforce product knowledge training by focusing their device on a product and generating videos about it or 3D digital models.

 

Cons of Augmented Reality Training

  • AR and Soft Skills Don’t Mix – When it comes to more abstract, conceptual content — particularly soft skills training — AR isn’t the best modality.
  • More Expensive Than Other Training Options – The start-up costs for AR can be higher than alternative modalities, like eLearning and instructor-led training. It can also be costly in terms of the time it takes to develop it. 
  • May Need Occasional Updates – As with any of the latest tech, AR is subject to occasional advancements. You may have to press pause on training, allowing your team or your vendor to make necessary updates and upgrades. 

 

Is It Worth The Cost? 

So, there you have it – average costs for augmented reality training. When you consider the instructional design, creation, and management, customized augmented reality training content can cost from $25,000 to $50,000 or more.

It’s important to remember that based on your vendor, content, and scale, these prices will vary. Keep in mind that when you are looking to invest in augmented reality training, it’s best to work with your vendor to optimize your budget for your program’s learning objectives. 

Want to talk about the specifics of your project? Let’s discuss it, and we’ll get you a professional quote

*Cost ranges are general estimates; each training program is unique, and costs can vary. Please seek a professional quote for more specific and reliable costs.

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