Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things

20th September 2019

Fact – most businesses need to start thinking about an augmented reality strategy. Why? Because there’s a disconnect between the volume of data available to us and the physical world in which we apply the data.  This gap between the digital and real worlds is limiting our ability to take advantage of the huge amount of valuable information produced by the billions of smart, connected devices in the Internet of Things (IoT). It’s time to start making the most of this data – so read on and start planning!

So, what exactly is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is defined as an enhanced version of reality – created by the use of technology – to add digital information to an image. AR is primarily used in mobile apps and allows your smartphone’s camera to show you a view of the real world, with a layer of additional information on top of that view, so think Pokemon GO. In fact, some might say we’re as well calling AR ‘Camera Technology’.

What’s the link between AR and the IoT?

The fourth industrial revolution is marked by the many emerging technology breakthroughs across a number of fields, including robotics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT) and of course AR. In fact, the link between IoT and AR is so strong that we’re seeing many uses of augmented reality to visualise sensor data.

AR technology can be used to visualise data simultaneously from hundreds of sensors, overlaying information over an environment. Many sectors are now using AR for projects such as the use of visual asset management software in the oil and gas sector. Projects like this are happening across all industries from banking and financial services to retail and to digital health, care and manufacturing. For example, if you’re operating heavy machinery, you can get a real-time view of which components are in need of replacing.

The convergence of AR and the IoT is truly revolutionary – and companies including Microsoft, NASA, Autodesk, Volvo, and Caterpillar are all putting their weight behind AR to take advantage of what it can offer. As these companies know, there are many uses for augmented reality which in the business world, can make processes more efficient, cut costs and help generate new revenue. This is exactly the type of application of augmented reality that we at Waracle get excited about! A true fourth industrial revolution.

We asked Michael Romilly, CEO of one of our partner technology companies, Mozenix, about the future for AR technology in industry.

“AR technology can solve a multitude of complex process efficiency challenges, but wider adoption will rely upon demonstrable commercial ROI. As AR starts to actively demonstrate its commercial impact, the industry will witness more proof of concept projects and prototypes evolving into full scale productions. Correspondingly there will be an increase in the number and diversity of different use cases whereby AR can be adopted to make existing processes faster or more efficient.”

86% industrial enterprises will launch customer focused AR projects!

We also spoke to our technology partners over at Kumulos who recently captured the essence of AR in their blog Industrial Augmented Reality Comes of Age . In the piece, Kumulos mention a report from PTC, the $1.6bn Industrial IoT and Augmented Reality specialist, who say they are expecting 86% of industrial enterprises to launch customer focused AR projects in the next 12 months.

Always ones to be on top of the trends, Kumulos has recently updated their platform to be feature complete with Unity 3D. It now supports its full features set within Unity 3D allowing mobile app owners to manage the Content of their app, Manage Push Notifications, View Analytics, Generate Monthly Reports, Manage and Report on Crashes and if it calls for it, also manage App Store Optimisation all from within one single pane of glass. It’s already being used in broad range of industries including Industrial AR in the Oil & Gas sector.

What about Blockchain – where does it fit in?

With these emerging technologies starting to work closer together, we even see Blockchain meeting IoT and AR.  Exception recently interviewed the team at Wallet.Services to understand the link between blockchain and IoT.

So, as the number of connected devices – some incorporating AR –  increases globally, networks will continue to grow, and more complex data will be shared on those networks as these devices communicate. One of the key concerns surrounding sensitive data being shared is the secure transfer of that data. That’s where blockchain comes in. Blockchain technology has been identified as a key component to secure transactions as well as improve automation. When you think about what blockchain does, it allows for enabling multiple parties to transact across multiple organisations in an efficient and permanent way.

So we think of IoT as a way to both listen to and talk to connected products, and we consider AR as a way to both see and experience what’s happening with these products.  We’re all now expecting our smart devices, and those we live and work with, to deliver services and information in real-time. When this technology is combined with AR, it provides the end user with both that real-time and real world information. One of the key advantages of AR marrying up with IoT is this bridging of the (now narrowing) gap between the real and digital world around us. The possibilities are unimaginable!

To talk to us about AR, IoT, both and more, contact our team to start exploring where these technologies can take your business.

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