Blockchain–a term that is tossed around more than usual these days thanks to the growth of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. However, the applications of blockchain stretch far beyond cryptocurrency and we’re here to take a deeper look!
What Is Blockchain?
In simple terms, a blockchain assigns a unique attribute to a digital asset and is distributed on a decentralized public ledger called a blockchain. The most valuable aspect of a blockchain is the fact that it is difficult or almost impossible to modify or hack. Because of this aspect, it is a disruptor for industries like payments and cybersecurity. Essentially, the history of a digital asset is completely transparent and allows developers to share data securely.
Use Cases For Blockchain
With blockchain receiving more attention and popularity in 2020, we see more use cases for the technology moving forward.
Healthcare- With blockchain, healthcare providers can distribute transaction records securely. Additionally, medical research data and patient information can be stored.
Digital Currency– As previously mentioned, this is really where Blockchain began. Online transactions are always recorded and secured with blockchain. Using cryptocurrency, the need for a centralized bank is eliminated because the currency is attached to one owner and theft is much more difficult.
Global Trade– For global supply chains, blockchain is the perfect solution. It is an updated system that makes financial transactions much easier.
Although there are many more use cases on the rise, such as real estate, these are the significant ones that have continued to grow. With blockchain’s growth, more industries will realize its potential in the online world we now live in.
The Marriage of Blockchain and AR
Blockchain’s role in the AR space could be vital by giving content creators the ability to produce, rent, or sell their AR assets through the marketplace. It allows for the protection of your AR creations so someone else can’t replicate what you’ve done. Users can also verify the authenticity of the digital asset being sold or transferred. Overall, as AR continues to take off, blockchain would be the ideal decentralized system for successful immersive creation and sharing.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” but with the addition of augmented reality (AR) and 3D visualization–it’s worth a million.
Augmented reality allows artists to bring their creativity to life like never before. Murals, paintings, and art displays no longer have to be static–instead, they can create an interactive experience for the viewer. Augmented reality has the potential to unlock new forms of self-expression and storytelling. Artists dream of connecting with each person who walks past their piece, but this isn’t always possible. However, if artists take advantage of augmented reality, they can connect with their audience in a deeper way to convey the message behind their work.
Artists all over the world are beginning to explore the possibilities behind interactive technology. In fact, there has been an ongoing mixed-reality project since 2011 called Heavy Projects–The Art of AR. Their portfolio features thousands of artists who have disrupted the AR space to create murals that go beyond the traditional. On their about page they describe their message to use new mixed reality technologies to delight audiences while also maintaining artists’ truth. These murals prove that augmented reality can move beyond experimentation and foster emotional connections between artists and audience members in a new way.
As technology has progressed, big tech companies and social media have understood the importance of captivating the audience so that they stay on the app or website for as long as possible. More data is coming out that video and interactive media get people to stay longer. According to research, “93% of marketers agreed that interactive content is effective in educating its buyers versus static”. This same concept applies to art, if artists can get their buyers or audience members to stay longer, the more successful they can be. Augmented reality is the key to doing so. Not only that, but augmented reality allows the viewer to find out more information about the piece, whether that be title, message, or background on the artist. All this is virtually displayed in real-time to bring a unique experience to each viewer.
Creativity has the power to evoke a sense of joy and playfulness in each of us. Every human can tap into their own version of creativity, and AR has the potential for us to share and connect through our creativity even more. Imagine, taking a walk in a big city to see murals and street art all augmented to captivate your attention. In turn, you learn more about the history of the city and get an essence of what the culture is about. Augmented reality is transforming the arts to give us more connections and foster our self-expression.
As soon as someone is traveling to a new location, GPS or navigation help is the first thing they turn on in their car. Think about how much we rely on our smartphones or GPS systems to get us where we desire each week. Many people would admit that they don’t even bother trying to memorize street names or specific markers because a Siri-like voice is there to guide them every time.
As we travel to unfamiliar territory, we place an enormous amount of trust on our navigation systems, whether that be Google Maps, Waze, or Apple Maps. With this said, think about how much can be improved. For example, you happen to get lost even with GPS guidance or you get routed to an old location because the maps aren’t updated. Or maybe the navigation you are looking for is off the grid. This leaves you frustrated, confused, and late to your event.
As augmented reality continues to take off, we can see how useful it would be in our daily lives–especially in navigation. Benefits of using AR for routing outweigh any hesitations so we’ll describe the major advantages:
Whether you get lost or your GPS takes you the longest route, you are bound to lose time. Applications with augmented reality features help to pave the best possible route to your destination. Such applications can provide data on traffic jams in real-time and would save you from being late.
A virtual path or virtual markers would be present in an augmented reality navigation system–making it easier for the user to control and follow. Many applications are also adding graphics to entertain and guide the user to their destination. With the addition of virtual objects overlaid on the real world, the possibilities are endless. Alerts, markers, information, and directions could all be AR-ified to make the navigation process much easier.
Tourist and Educational Uses
Let’s say you’re in a beautiful new town or historical site–the AR app with a routing feature would display information about the particular cultural site. Museums and exhibit halls could take advantage of AR technology to add an interactive education component to their site. By combining the real world with interactive technologies, users and tourists alike would be more engaged.
Overall, AR is able to significantly improve the navigation experience and make it more efficient. Navigation is an essential part of our daily lives, and soon we will wonder how we were able to live without it.
Think about all the things you do in a day. Maybe it’s work, grocery shopping, or school. At some point in the week, you have to stop for gas and maybe socialize with friends. Everyone’s routine is different, yet many of the same things need to be accomplished. Now, imagine a city where everything is faster and smarter. With augmented reality and artificial intelligence, you could get your errands done at three times the speed you had before.
If we think back to just a decade ago, we would remember how much planning it took to ensure we didn’t miss the bus or called a cab for the airport. Come apps like Uber and Lyft, with rides available right around the corner, the process is much faster. With technology, we have answers at our fingertips that changed our routines for the better.
For quite some time, there has been interest in smart cities. The aim is to provide improved citizen services and connectedness. Thanks to the recent deployment of 5G networks, this isn’t far from our reach. With immersive technology like AR, navigation around a city could be much easier. Rather than having to pull out our phones, open a navigation app, and arrive at a dead-end–AR would allow us the chance to find our destination with ease. As we think about all the necessities that come with maintaining a city, we can also imagine how augmented reality can help. Some of the most important aspects for a well-functioning city include: maintenance, public safety, public health, transportation, and tourism.
Augmented reality could allow municipal workforces to accurately maintain city assets. Whether that’s streetlights, cell towers, or roads. With an AR device, maintenance workers can visualize information hands-free and in real-time. If needed, guidance from experts in another location would be easily accessible.
As far as transportation goes, imagine AR technology on your windshield or car where you would be alerted of a traffic accident or vehicle health. Physical transit system maps would be augmented so that users could access portions of the network they actually need. Tourists would benefit from this feature as well, as it can be confusing and frustrating trying to find your way in a new city. In fact, AR would improve tourism. Culturally significant buildings and museums would become much more educational and interactive if immersive technology is established. AR creates interesting connected experiences for tourists and citizens alike. In combination with artificial intelligence, our cities will be a center of wonder and convenience.
The greatest news is, smart cities and AR are within reach. Startups and big tech are capitalizing on the vast opportunities present with AR. Many sectors like the power and utility industries are also investing in immersive technology to make work processes more efficient. The examples above are just a few real-use cases of AR in the public sector. Augmented reality will continue to create a fascinating world where we blur the lines between the physical and digital worlds.
Think about our daily lives and all that comes with it. Your day might look different from someone else’s, but there are commonalities to most of our days. For the general population, they go to work, cook food, and run errands if necessary. I could go on with a list of common tasks. Point is, how many of these tasks are simplified given technology? We think back to an era without GPS or smartphones, and many of these tasks take longer than they do now. The World Wide Web changed how people operated and technology continued to advance from there–until now, where we cannot imagine our life without it.
With that said, Augmented reality (AR) is trending upwards and will soon make a powerful impact on the way we behave. Emerging technologies such as AR will need to ensure that the user is the center of everything. The problem is, how can we make the user the center of everything without invading their privacy?
For advanced AR technology to work, it has to create a 3D model of the real world, and this can mean gathering tremendous amounts of information about us and our surroundings. This allows the system to overlay objects on the physical world in a realistic way. Yet, it is important to consider what happens with all this data. If it sends the information to a “cloud” could it be encrypted? Will this data be shared with third parties where they target us with ads, but on a much greater scale? The questions don’t stop there.
Think about if you are holding a business meeting or connecting with someone for the first time for a job interview, would you want all your information easily accessible for them to see? This is for you to contemplate. Many people would agree that they don’t mind for a job interviewer to see their LinkedIn profile digitally as they enter the room, while others would disagree. This is just one real-world example of how levels of privacy could vary from person to person. As AR technology rolls out, it needs to be extremely considerate of each individual’s preferences.
The questions of human factors remain and how much we are willing to let AR technology into our private lives. Just like the internet, it will take some time to balance and govern the space to ensure the user’s best interest.
In an article on the risks of AR, they make an outstanding point that, “as we marvel at the innovation and creative uses of AR, we have the opportunity to move forward with our eyes open to the risks, and with the intention of building a collaborative and participatory regulatory framework for the technology that can help mitigate those risks and serve humankind.”
Slowly but surely, we must tread this new space with caution and excitement as we progress forward into a world with immersive technologies.
Augmented reality can be crucial for helping the population navigate towards the correct location. As mentioned in our previous article, Augmented reality can become so personalized it will navigate, for instance, someone towards their desired restaurant. However, we have not discussed the use of augmented reality and geospatial analysis regarding rescue teams and medical necessity. For emergency medical personnel and firefighters, the geospatial aspect of AR could help save lives and streamline their rescue process.
In fact, In Kite-Powell’s article in Forbes, she discusses the same concept. She points out how vital the use of technology was for a Thai cave rescue mission. During that mission, the team could see and interact with 3D geospatial data, which provided insights that weren’t otherwise possible with 2D. In the cave, it was necessary for them to understand the subsurface terrain so that they could model and visualize the cave for proper rescue.
This is just one example of how modern-day technology saves lives and can be vital to an emergency response team. Glenn Letham, an expert in the geospatial space, helps us imagine a scenario where “A firefighter trying to find his way through a smokey environment where the visibility is zero. The responder is already wearing a helmet and mask so they could have an AR-enabled helmet where they can view their surroundings on their face shield or a small screen.”
With hopes that the entire building’s footprints would be visible on the screen, it would enable them to find their way. In most cases now, satellite-based positioning is not always possible due to a lack of signal coverage inside buildings. Come AR, and this would change. In emergency situations, minutes, even seconds matter for someone’s life. If augmented reality could save precious time, why would we not jump all over it?
Location is everything for first responders. Whether that is for victims trapped in a building, flooding, or even tracking down a criminal. With the ability to visualize information in real-time, first responders will have much more power to work quickly and efficiently.
Progress is already being made in this space. This last year, NIST’s public and Public Safety Communications Research Division launched the ChairIoT challenge which awarded “$1 million in prizes for solutions that can emulate and transmit scenario-accurate data streams for AR devices that will help public safety personnel communicate and respond more efficiently.”
AR technology will make decision-making easier in scenarios like wildfires, floods, or active shooter situations as well. Soon enough, we will see how augmented reality will change the world for the better. First responders and victims will be grateful for such technology to streamline the rescue process.
What do you see for the future of AR and emergency response?