Augmented Reality getting Real.
While there have been a number of very cool Augmented Reality (AR) apps developed such as Google Goggles, Layar, Monacle, there has been little revenue to speak of produced by AR. So until now, it has been about possibilities and cool factor. But the recent activities by Sony show that AR may be hitting an inflection point (http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/37637/?a=f). Sony has developed SmartAR platform to be leveraged in new games/toys. One of the key advantages over current AR approaches is eliminating the need for location/GPS to render virtual objects in the right location. Instead, SmartAR uses object recognition to place virtual objects where they should go. This may accelerate the use of AR into many more settings (like indoor where location tracking is not always available). SmartAR may also have opportunities to drive innovation in the enterprise/government space with applications in technical support, emergency services, and enhanced shopping experience. Despite the improvement in location awareness, AR applications still require significant bandwidth, especially when they incorporate detailed images and supporting information to be overlaid. So the pace of deployment may still be limited by the speed, latency, and coverage of wireless networks in areas we user have a need/interest for AR apps. Hopefully this is one more opportunity that helps drive the roll-out of more robust 4G wireless networks that we can all benefit from.
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