The AR Cloud or Spatial Web is often described as the world’s digital twin, a digital copy of the real world that is accessible by any user from any AR device, from any location and at any time. It enables information and experiences to be augmented, shared, and tied to specific physical locations to occur and persist across apps and devices. With the help of this new technology, we are no more limited with the GPS technology, which means that persistent & shared AR experiences are now possible and that the New AR Cloud Era has just arrived!
For his technology to work, the area where the content will be placed onto must be captured, in other words visually mapped. This is done by an operator who walks through the entire location with a mobile phone equipped with a camera. The images obtained are analyzed and a 3D point-cloud of the location is created and recorded in the cloud.
The user needs to geolocate at that location. He/she needs to open the “AR Viewer” app specifically developed for this purpose and displays a camera view. In less than a second, a photo is sent to the cloud, analyzed by our localization server which calculates the “Geopose” (position and orientation) in which the photo was taken and returns them to the phone. The user now can start the Persistent and Shared AR experience.
Since we now have the digital twin of the location on our servers, the persistent and shared AR content can be placed and managed through a web management console remotely or can be handled through an “Authoring App” at the location as well.
In this new AR Cloud Era, there will be no 2D screens and the canvas we create content on, will be the actual physical world around us. Currently, the experience is a “See Through” experience, where we use mobile phones or tablets to activate the AR content around us. There are a few headsets in the market as well, however they are a little bulky and are still a bit expensive for the consumer market. In time, we will see the rise of glass-type devices or even contact lenses that sit right in front of the eye and access AR content that could be created anywhere. Early versions of this hardware exist and it’s a matter of time before someone creates the iPhone-style jump forward that takes the technology into the mainstream.
The service possibilities of layering a real-time virtual world onto the streets and buildings around us are almost unimaginable. To start simply, think of bespoke directions and signage displayed on your actual world instead of on a 2D screen to help you reach a destination. Or imagine gazing at a museum artifact and activating a holographic label that provides you with detailed information in the language of your choice. Consider the possibilities for genius new art installations. For businesses, there will be entirely new ways of delivering products, content and advertising.
The web sites of the Spatial Web Era will be called layers and just like we use a web browser to view the content of a web site, we will be able to activate a layer using our spatial web browser (AR Viewer) app to access its content.
For example, if a user needs navigation support, he/she will be able to activate the “Navigation Content” layer and view the AR navigation content. Likewise, if he/she wants to get information about touristic places in the area, he/she will be able to consume 2-dimensional (Picture, video and text), 3D (Holograms) and/or spatial audio content about these touristic structures by activating the ‘Touristic Content’ layer.
There are many areas of use both indoors and outdoors. The area can be as small as a hotel room and an indoor shop, or can be as large as a factory, a museum, a fairground, a shopping mall or an airport. It can also be an outdoor event area, a construction site, a stadium, a square, a tourist area, or the whole city.
Below you can see some sample use cases:
– Positioning of 3D information for real-world objects. (For example; informative / guiding signs in touristic areas or AR signs showing translation into different languages)
– 3D art can be placed in physical spaces all over the world.
– Indoor and outdoor AR navigation.
– Local municipalities and business owners place AR signs in real time for others to see.
– AR games (such as treasure hunts) that invite users to interact with virtual content in specific locations.
– Industrial applications that automatically detect machines and place real-time sensory data on top of the asset.
– Viewing the finished state of a project that has not started / completed in the construction sector.
– Collaborating with the designer on your interior design.
– Educational apps and user guides providing step-by-step AR instructions.