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AR Cloud Needs Help from Enabling Technologies

February 11, 2020

The Augmented Reality (AR) cloud is often described as the world’s digital twin, a digital copy of the real world that is accessible by any user from any device, from any location and at any time. It is expected that the AR cloud will play catalytic role in the way that users engage and search for information while at the same time, transform the way that businesses operate and communicate with customers and employees in both physical and digital forms. The AR Cloud has the potential to directly impact most of the AR value chain, which global tech market advisory firm, ABI Research, forecasts will reach almost US$102 billion by 2024.

“The journey toward scaled deployment of the AR Cloud has begun and numerous companies from tech giants to start-ups are starting to build ‘mini AR clouds’ and contributing to building a cloud-based 3D map of the real world. The synergy of numerous technologies, including computer vision, Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), and connectivity are required to precisely localize devices in the environment and deliver sharable and persistent AR content,” says Eleftheria Kouri, Research Analyst at ABI Research.

One of the most advanced AR cloud-based apps is Google’s AR navigation, which leverages Google’s Visual Positioning Service (VPS) and the AR cloud to enable device localization in the environment with a higher accuracy than that of GPS. AR indoor and outdoor navigation are among the most promising cloud-based use cases, requiring large scale mapping and persistent localization and digital content. One company, Sturfee, utilizes VPS and the AR Cloud for AR city navigation, while 6D.ai is a prime example of indoor navigation leveraging the AR Cloud. Scape Technologies, Visualix, YOUAR, and Ubiquity6 are also active in the space, offering SDKs for building cloud-based 3D maps of the physical world by utilizing mobile devices. Constantly updated environments and shareable and persistent AR experiences will revolutionize numerous industries and applications, from product design with collaboration to retail and gaming.

“5G connectivity, improved AR devices, and the further growth of connected devices will all contribute to the development and the wider adoption of AR cloud-based applications. At the same time, the digital twin of the real-world generates questions about user safety, security, and privacy. So, both policymakers and providers need to apply new legal frameworks and ensure user privacy. With the immense value, unique experiences, and the potential return on investment that comes with ubiquitous and persistent augmented reality ecosystems, efforts must hasten to address the issues and realize the value,” concludes Kouri.

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