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The Future is Now: AR as a Service

April 11th, 2019

Alex Donn

Director, Developer Evangelist

A digital world that mimics reality has been a part of SciFi for many decades, and those visions have long been the holy grail of graphics technologists. Films like the original Tron and the more recent Ready Player One have tickled our imaginations and shown the possibilities of virtual and augmented reality, but it’s only in recent years that technology, driven by the spectacular success of smartphones, has started to catch up to our imaginations and make digitally augmented human-computer interfaces commercially possible. AR glasses and headsets are a necessary part of all these exciting potential applications, but unfortunately they’re just a small part of what’s required to model the virtual world and integrate it with the relevant elements of physical reality.

1000 realities is one of the Hub:raum startups that is aiming to simplify the process of creating AR applications by developing an “Augmented Reality (AR) as a Service” platform. The basic idea is simple but elegant: create a platform that implements lots of AR nasty bits and leaves the content creators to fill out the differentiated, value-add part. In other words, AR as a Service makes it quick and easy to map the real world and anchor the persistent augmented reality content on that map. The users can see those shared AR overlays through their smart glass, or through any other device with a camera.

The 1000 Realities vision is that businesses can digitize and augment their environments within a matter of hours rather than days, and without any specialized equipment or coding skills. Here are just a few examples of how this technology could be put to practical use:

1. Indoor navigation and vision picking for logistics (B2B) 

An AR-enabled device gives any employee the ability to scan QR codes and barcodes while keeping their hands free. Large scale indoor navigation and visual guidance can indicate which object should be picked, and it’s also possible to integrate seamlessly with order management systems.

2. IoT data visualizations (B2B) 

A “heads-up display” isn’t just for fighter pilots anymore! Employees can see real-time data just by looking at a particular device – no need to go to a control room or carry a laptop.

3. Maintenance and service support (B2B) 

An engineer can check the condition of a machine or view video manuals just by looking at it, and the software can even  distinguish between multiple devices via positional tracking.

4. Remote expert support 

A remote expert can help field workers in any industry perform tasks from any location.

5. Indoor navigation and AR advertisements in shopping malls 

AR ads can help marketers create emotional connections with customers, building brand awareness and encouraging purchases.

6. AR assistants in healthcare 

AR information attached to a hospital bed allows doctors to view real-time data about the health of a patient, eliminating the risk of losing or mismatching diagnostic charts.

7. Employee onboarding assistants and navigation aids 

New employee onboarding can be exciting with digital descriptions of every room and corridor and even digital identification of other employees as they walk by.

1000 Realities is able to create these digital worlds with the help of the MobiledgeX edge platform, enabling a compute-constrained AR headset to rapidly understand the user’s environment. When compute-intensive requirements like large scale positional tracking and spatial mapping, dynamic occlusion or 3D overlays are simply too much for the headsets to handle, MobiledgeX can deliver the on-demand computing power necessary for a “real time” augmented reality world. In addition, Edge computing keeps the weight of the headsets down, extends battery life, and makes it simple to deploy applications.

1000 Realities Use Case

Read more on how 1000 Realities is executing edge-enabled AR applications today.