Definition

Amazon Sumerian

Contributor(s): Sarah Lewis

Amazon Sumerian is a managed service and set of tools for creating augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications. The service provides a web-based editor that allows developers to construct and animate 3D scenes without the need for specialized programming.

Instead of requiring Amazon-specific AR/VR hardware, Sumerian supports popular hardware such as Oculus Go and Rift, HTC Vive, Google Daydream and Lenovo Mirage as well as Android and iOS mobile devices. Users of the service are charged based on the amount of storage required for the applications and the volume of traffic the application receives.

How Amazon Sumerian works

A mixed reality application can be created with Amazon Sumerian in a few steps:

  1. Upload or import 3D assets to a chosen scene.
  2. Create a host, or a digital character, that will be the virtual concierge and narrator of the application. Sumerian gives the options of customizing one of three premade hosts, adjusting their appearance, adding logos or branded clothing and selecting speech or behavior.
  3. Edit the scene using Sumerian’s visual editor or a JavaScript background can be personalized, objects can be added and components can be animated.
  4. Publish the scene, which assigns the app a unique access URL and stores it in the cloud.
  5. Run the completed scene on a VR/AR system or mobile device that has a WebVR-enabled browser.

Amazon Sumerian features

When it comes to its most popular features, Amazon Sumerian:

  • Has a low barrier to entry, allowing developers with no VR/AR expertise to create applications.
  • Allows for scenery design directly in a browser.
  • Is platform-agnostic, meaning it is compatible with most popular mobile devices and hardware.
  • Is based on the WebGL and WebVR JavaScript APIs for graphic rendering and device compatibility.
  • Has a library of premade 3D assets -- such as models, hosts and textures -- or the option to create and import new ones.
  • Has lifelike character designs that can be integrated with Alexa Voice Services (AVS).
  • Provides a template for creating iOS ARKit and Android ARCore

Uses of Amazon Sumerian

AR and VR applications can be developed for a variety of use cases. Amazon Sumerian suggests training and education as one use for the platform. Scenes can be built that help onboard new employees, set up a classroom training environment or simulate real world scenarios. Similarly, an AR application could be made for troubleshooting and repairing common issues that may arise for a business.

Another use case is to create a virtual concierge for customers to access. A scene and a host can be built to create a resource for users to receive an introduction, ask questions and learn about products and services.

Lastly, Amazon Sumerian can be used for creative and marketing purposes. Designers and product developers can use AR and VR to visualize, model and review products in a realistic environment. Customers can also use these scenes to better inform their purchasing decisions, such as viewing what a piece of furniture would look like in their home.

This was last updated in September 2019

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