5 Reasons Your Business Needs Augmented Reality...Today: Page 2

Posted August 30, 2010

Jeff Vance

Jeff Vance

(Page 2 of 2)

3. Smartphones make AR even more compelling

While AR is taking hold on everything from toys to promotional displays to industrial applications, it’s gaining the most traction in mobile.

“In the next three years mobile will swallow the internet whole,” said Chris Grayson, a digital creative consultant and the co-organizer of ARNY (Augmented Reality New York). “By the end of this decade, AR will swallow mobile. Augmented Reality will become the standard interface for the semantic web.”

Capitalizing on the growing popularity of smartphones, IBM has developed AR apps for major tennis tournaments, including Wimbeldon and the U.S. Open.

The IBM Seer Application acts as a real-time guide and interactive map of the tournaments. Available on Android, the app lets users point their phones at various things around them to get such information as match scores and statistics, information from scouts at the tournament, video streams from matches on other courts and information about nearby concessions and facilities.

4. AR extends beyond the visual

Smartphones are getting all of the AR attention these days, but AR isn’t reliant on any one technology or platform or even any one sense. Sure, conceptually, AR is making the most waves visually, but it doesn’t have to be visual.

“We’re working on an app that uses audio to guide people through geo-location activities,” said whurley (yes, that’s the name he goes by, with no capitalization preferred), a former IBM Master Inventor, open source heavy hitter and current CTO of mobile-app development firm Chaotic Moon Studios.

You could be jogging over rough terrain, where you obviously couldn’t hold your phone in front of you, yet your phone would know your location and give you appropriate audio direction to navigate by.

At this stage of development, AR is pretty much anything people can conceive and utilize.

“AR can be as simple as geo-tagging, or as complex as an architectural design application that lets you point your smartphone at a vacant lot where you plan to build a building to show you what it will look like,” whurley said.

5. There are still many AR trails left to blaze

Even if you haven’t yet leveraged AR, you shouldn’t feel like the space has passed you by. When I asked whurley what holds AR back, he said that AR holds itself back. Or, rather, AR-focused companies and developers are holding AR back for all of the typical political, bull-headed reasons. There are too many one-off proprietary solutions and not enough standards or interoperability.

“I think of AR as TCP/IP for the future,” he said. “No one made of money off of TCP/IP. It’s an enabling technology. I believe the same is true of AR.”

While there is little by way of standardization or open-source momentum related to AR – yet – whurley believes it will come quickly, possibly within the next year or so.

Until that time, AR’s evolution is being influenced by anyone and everyone who decides to leverage it. Best Buy, IBM, SAP and Microsoft all have visions of the AR future.

What’s yours?

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Tags: mobile, apps, smartphone, augmented reality, AR

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