Embracing the Future: The Significance of Open Standards in Technology

Embracing the Future: The Significance of Open Standards in Technology

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, the adoption of open standards stands out as a pivotal force shaping the future. Open standards are agreed-upon specifications and protocols that ensure different technologies can understand and interact with each other. This shared language unlocks a wealth of benefits, paving the way for a more vibrant, competitive, and user-centric tech landscape.

They serve as launch pads for innovation by providing a stable foundation–freeing developers and tech developers to focus on building new features and functionalities. In short, they play a crucial role in fostering innovation, interoperability, and a level playing field for both businesses and consumers.

Let’s explore why open standards are not just a choice but the future of technology.

Interoperability and Collaboration

One of the primary advantages of open standards is the promotion of interoperability. When technologies adhere to open standards, they can seamlessly communicate and work together, breaking down silos and fostering collaboration. This interoperability is key for creating integrated ecosystems where devices, applications, and services from different vendors can coexist harmoniously, leading to a more connected and efficient technological landscape.

Innovation Acceleration

Open standards act as catalysts for innovation by providing a common foundation for developers. Instead of reinventing the wheel with proprietary solutions, developers can build upon established open standards. This accelerates the development process, encourages creativity, and ultimately results in a faster pace of technological advancement. The collaborative nature of open standards allows a diverse community of contributors to collectively drive innovation forward.

Vendor Neutrality and Fair Competition

Adopting open standards promotes vendor neutrality, preventing any single company from monopolizing a particular market. This fosters fair competition, where companies succeed based on the quality and value of their products rather than through exclusive control of proprietary technologies. This level playing field benefits consumers, who gain access to a broader range of choices and are not locked into a single vendor’s ecosystem.

Long-Term Sustainability

Open standards contribute to the long-term sustainability of technology. Proprietary technologies, subject to the whims of individual companies, can face discontinuation or radical changes, leaving users stranded. Open standards, however, provide a stable foundation that transcends individual companies, ensuring continuity and protecting investments made by businesses and consumers alike.

Security and Privacy

Open standards are transparency champions. By establishing baseline requirements for data protection and communication protocols, they enable independent scrutiny and enhance security and privacy. This fosters trust and accountability, empowering users to make informed decisions about their data.

Global Accessibility and Inclusivity

The global nature of open standards makes technology more accessible and inclusive. They can be viewed as great levelers of the tech world. By establishing universal specifications, open standards empower developers and businesses worldwide to participate in the creation and deployment of technology. By removing the need for proprietary technology development, they help level the playing field for new players and smaller companies. This inclusivity not only democratizes access to innovation but also fosters a diverse and vibrant global tech community.

In summary, open standards are not just a technological choice; they represent the future of the tech industry. The benefits of interoperability, innovation acceleration, vendor neutrality, long-term sustainability, and global accessibility position open standards as the cornerstone of a thriving and inclusive technological landscape. They are the backbone of a thriving tech ecosystem. Embracing and championing open standards is essential for shaping a future where technology serves as a force for positive change.

Stay tuned for the exciting launch of Ethar’s geospatial solutions, ethar.geopose and Ethar GeoPose Pro, designed with open standards at their core. These innovative tools will empower developers and users to unlock the full potential of location-based technology, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in a truly open and interconnected world.

Join us in embracing the future of tech, built on the foundation of open standards!

Smart Devices + AR . . . Game Changing

Smart Devices + AR . . . Game Changing

The future of technology is heavily tied to the concept of “smart” devices, and one of the most promising areas for this technology is in smart glasses. Smart glasses are essentially wearable computers that are integrated into eyewear, allowing for hands-free computing and augmented reality experiences. Cristiano Amon, the President and CEO of Qualcomm recently stated¹ at the Davos summit in Switzerland that the next major shift is the “merging of physical and digital spaces.” Amon said that smartphones have been held back by the limitations of screen size, and that smart glasses are a solution to these limitations. Apple CEO Tim Cook is on record² as saying that smart glasses could be as transformative as smartphones were.

One of the key drivers for the adoption of smart glasses is the increasing demand for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences. As technology improves, it is becoming increasingly possible to create immersive and realistic experiences using AR and VR, and smart glasses are a natural platform for delivering these experiences. For example, a worker in a factory can use smart glasses to access instructions and data overlaid on the machinery they are working on, allowing them to work more efficiently and safely. A doctor can use the smart glasses to check a patient’s medical records and vital signs while performing a surgery, reducing the risk of medical errors. In the field of education, smart glasses can be used to provide students with interactive and immersive learning experiences, allowing them to learn in a more engaging and effective way.

Another major driver for the adoption of smart glasses is the increasing demand for hands-free computing. As more and more tasks are being performed on mobile devices, there is a growing need for a way to access and interact with these devices without having to hold them. Smart glasses provide a solution to this problem, as they allow users to access and control their devices using voice commands and gestures, without having to take their hands off whatever task they are currently performing. This is particularly useful for professionals who need to multitask, such as surgeons, construction workers and technicians, as it allows them to access information and data while keeping their hands free to perform their tasks.

Additionally, smart glasses are also a great solution for the privacy concern of constant surveillance. As the world becomes more connected and data-driven, there is a growing concern about privacy and security. Smart glasses can help to mitigate these concerns by providing a way for users to access and interact with information and data without having to share it with others. For example, a smart glass user can access their personal information and data, such as emails, social media, and bank account, without having to take out their smartphone and potentially exposing their information to others.

Smart glasses also have the potential to revolutionize the way we communicate. Smart glasses can be integrated with voice and video communication technologies, allowing users to make and receive calls, as well as video conferences, without having to hold a device. This can be particularly useful for people who need to stay connected while on the move, such as business travelers and field workers.
Furthermore, smart glasses can be integrated with various sensors, such as GPS, accelerometer, and gyroscope, to track and record user’s movement and activity. This data can be analyzed and used to provide personalized recommendations, such as workout routines, and to monitor and improve user’s health and fitness.

However, there are still some challenges to overcome before smart glasses become mainstream. One major challenge is cost, as current smart glasses are still relatively expensive. Additionally, there are also concerns about the potential health effects of prolonged use of smart glasses, such as eye strain and headaches. There are also concerns about the potential distraction caused by smart glasses, as well as the risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches. But as technology improves and costs decrease, it is likely that these challenges will be overcome, and smart glasses will become a common sight in our everyday lives.

Smart glasses are the future of technology, as they will change the way we interact with the world around us, as well as how we access and use information. They will provide new opportunities for augmented reality, hands-free computing, and communication. They also offer solutions to privacy concerns and have the potential to improve various industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, and education. However, there are still challenges to be overcome such as cost, potential health effects, and concerns about distraction and security. As technology continues to advance and costs decrease, it is likely that smart glasses will become increasingly prevalent in our everyday lives and will have a significant impact on how we live and work. The future of technology is smart glasses, and it is an exciting prospect to see how they will continue to evolve and shape our world. “It’s going to happen,” Amon said.

¹ “Tech’s future is in smart glasses, Qualcomm CEO says at Davos”, Akito Tanaka, 18 January 2023, NIKKEI Asia,
Accessed at:
https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Davos-2023/Tech-s-future-is-in-smart-glasses-Qualcomm-CEO-says-at-Davos 

²  “Apple’s Tim Cook on iPhones, augmented reality, and how he plans to change your world”, Andrew Griffin Technology Editor, The Independent, 12 October 2017. Accessed at: https://www.independent.co.uk/tech/apple-iphone-tim-cook-interview-features-new-augmented-reality-ar-arkit-a7993566.html

How Does Extended Reality Fit into the Concept of Industry 4.0?

How Does Extended Reality Fit into the Concept of Industry 4.0?

How Does Extended Reality Fit into the Concept of Industry 4.0?

Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Extended Reality (XR), Assisted Reality (ASR), and the Metaverse are all related technologies that involve the use of computer-generated images and sounds to create immersive experiences. However, they differ in the way they are used and the level of immersion they provide:

Augmented Reality (AR): AR is a technology that overlays digital information, such as text, images, and videos, onto the user’s view of the real world. It enhances the user’s perception of the real world, rather than replacing it. AR can be experienced through smartphones, tablets, or special AR glasses.

Virtual Reality (VR): VR is a technology that creates a completely computer-generated environment that the user can interact with. It replaces the user’s view of the real world with a virtual one. VR can be experienced through VR headsets or other devices.

Extended Reality (XR): XR is an umbrella term that encompasses both AR and VR, as well as other technologies that extend the user’s perception of the real world. It includes technologies such as mixed reality (MR) and spatial computing, which blend elements of the real world with virtual ones, providing a more immersive experience.

Assisted Reality (ASR): ASR is a technology that overlays digital information, such as instructions, on the real world to help a user complete a specific task or job. This technology focus on providing real-time assistance and guidance to the user, rather than enhancing the real-world view.

The Metaverse: The Metaverse refers to a virtual world that is fully immersive, interactive, and connected. It’s a shared, persistent space where users can interact with each other and with virtual objects and environments. It can be considered as a next step of VR and XR, with the goal of creating a fully realized digital universe where users can interact and engage with each other, and with digital assets, in a seamless and natural way.

Overall, while AR, VR, XR, ASR and the Metaverse are all related technologies, they differ in the way they are used and the level of immersion they provide, with AR adding information to the real world, VR replacing the real world with a virtual one, XR including different technologies that extends the perception of the real world, ASR providing real-time assistance and guidance to the user, and the metaverse aims to create a fully-realized digital universe.

How is AR used with digital twins?

A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical object, system, or process. It is created using sensor data, historical data, and simulations to provide a detailed understanding of the object, system, or process in question. Digital twins can be used to model a wide range of physical assets such as machines, buildings, bridges, and even cities. They can also model complex systems such as transportation networks, power grids, and industrial processes. A digital twin is a powerful tool that allows organizations to gain a deep understanding of their physical assets and systems, and to optimize their performance and operations.

The digital twin is a combination of hardware and software, where the hardware component is the physical object, and the software component is the digital twin representation of that object. The software component is a digital replica of the physical object that can be used to simulate its behavior, predict its performance, and optimize its operation.

Digital twins can be used in a variety of applications such as design and engineering, manufacturing, operations and maintenance, and performance optimization. For example, in manufacturing, digital twin can be used to simulate the assembly line and optimize the production process, while in operations and maintenance, it can be used to predict equipment failures and plan for maintenance.

Augmented Reality (AR) can be used in conjunction with digital twins to provide a more immersive and interactive experience for users. Digital twins are virtual representations of physical objects, systems or processes, while AR is a technology that overlays digital information on the user’s view of the real world.

By combining AR and digital twins, users can view and interact with digital twin models in real-time, superimposed on the physical object, system or process that the digital twin represents. This can be done through the use of AR devices such as smart glasses or smartphones.

Some examples of how AR can be used with digital twins include:

  1. Remote maintenance and repair: AR can be used to superimpose digital twin models of equipment onto the real-world equipment, allowing for remote maintenance and repair, with instructions displayed in real-time on the AR device.
  2. Training and education: AR can be used to superimpose digital twin models of complex systems onto the real-world systems, allowing for hands-on training and education.
  3. Design and construction: AR can be used to superimpose digital twin models of buildings or infrastructure onto the real-world construction site, allowing for real-time visualization of design and construction progress.
  4. Asset management: AR can be used to superimpose digital twin models of equipment and infrastructure onto the real-world assets, allowing for real-time monitoring and management of the assets.

Overall, the use of AR with digital twins can provide an immersive and interactive experience for users, allowing them to view and interact with digital twin models in real-time, superimposed on the physical object, system, or process that the digital twin represents. This can greatly enhance the ability to visualize, understand and optimize the performance of complex systems and equipment.

How are semantic standards used in manufacturing?

Semantic standards are used in manufacturing to improve the sharing and understanding of data across different systems and organizations. They provide a common format and structure for data representation and exchange, which enables different systems to share and understand the data. Some examples of how semantic standards are used in manufacturing include:

  1. Production planning and scheduling: Semantic standards can be used to represent production plans and schedules in a consistent and machine-readable format, which enables different systems to understand and share the plans and schedules.
  2. Quality control and inspection: Semantic standards can be used to represent inspection and quality control data in a consistent and machine-readable format, which enables different systems to understand and share the data.
  3. Equipment and resource management: Semantic standards can be used to represent equipment and resource data in a consistent and machine-readable format, which enables different systems to understand and share the data.
  4. Supply chain management: Semantic standards can be used to represent supply chain data in a consistent and machine-readable format, which enables different systems to understand and share the data.
  5. Internet of Things (IoT): Semantic standards can be used to represent sensor data and other IoT data in a consistent and machine-readable format, which enables different systems to understand and share the data.

Overall, semantic standards are used in manufacturing to improve the interoperability and data reuse across different systems and organizations, by providing a common format and structure for data representation and exchange. This can help to improve the efficiency, quality, and overall performance of manufacturing operations.

What is the difference between an ontology and a semantic standard?

An ontology and a semantic standard are both used to provide a common understanding of the meaning of data and concepts in a specific domain, but they have some differences.

Ontology: An ontology is a formal representation of a set of concepts and their relationships within a specific domain. It defines a common vocabulary and a set of rules for how the concepts are related to one another. Ontologies are used to provide a clear and consistent way of representing and sharing knowledge about a domain and can be used for tasks such as natural language processing, data integration, and knowledge management.

Semantic standard: A semantic standard is a set of agreed-upon rules and conventions for how data is represented and exchanged within a specific domain. It provides a common format and structure for data and metadata and enables different systems to share and understand the data. Semantic standards are used to improve the interoperability and data reuse across different systems and organizations.

In summary, an ontology provides a common understanding of the concepts and their relationships within a domain, while a semantic standard provides a common format and structure for data representation and exchange within a domain. Both are used to improve the sharing and understanding of data, but they serve different purposes.

There are several common semantic standards used in manufacturing:

  1. Industry Foundation Classes (IFC): IFC is a semantic standard for building information modeling (BIM) that is widely used in the construction and engineering industries. It provides a common format for representing the geometry, properties, and relationships of building components.
  2. OPC UA (Unified Architecture): OPC UA is a semantic standard for industrial automation that provides a common format for representing the data and metadata of industrial devices and systems. It is widely used in manufacturing for process control, production planning, and equipment management.
  3. STEP (Standard for the Exchange of Product model data): STEP is a semantic standard for product data that provides a common format for representing the geometry, properties, and relationships of product components. It is widely used in manufacturing for product design and engineering.
  4. MTConnect: MTConnect is a semantic standard for machine tool data that provides a common format for representing the status, performance, and sensor data of machine tools. It is widely used in manufacturing for monitoring and controlling machine tools.
  5. ISA-95: ISA-95 is a semantic standard for enterprise-control system integration that provides a common format for representing the data and metadata of manufacturing systems. It is widely used in manufacturing for integrating enterprise systems with control systems.

What about Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is not a semantic standard per se, but rather it is an emerging concept that refers to the integration of advanced technologies such as IoT, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing in manufacturing to create smart, connected factories. It provides a framework for the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies, and aims to improve the efficiency, flexibility, and intelligence of manufacturing operations.

However, there are several semantic standards that are being developed or are being considered as part of Industry 4.0, such as:

  1. Semantic Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): This standard aims to enable the interoperability and integration of Industry 4.0 technologies by providing a common vocabulary and data model for representing and exchanging manufacturing data.
  2. Reference Architecture Model Industry 4.0 (RAMI 4.0): This standard provides a reference architecture and data model for the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies in manufacturing.
  3. Smart Manufacturing Platform (SMP): This standard provides a framework for the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies in manufacturing, including data models, communication protocols, and security requirements.

Industry 4.0 and Extended Reality (XR) are related in that they both involve the integration of advanced technologies in manufacturing to create smart, connected factories. Industry 4.0 is an emerging concept that focuses on the integration of technologies such as IoT, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing in manufacturing to improve the efficiency, flexibility, and intelligence of operations. Extended reality (XR) is an umbrella term that encompasses both Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), as well as other technologies that extend the user’s perception of the real world.

Some examples of how XR can be used in Industry 4.0 include:

  1. Remote maintenance and repair: XR can be used to superimpose digital twin models of equipment onto the real-world equipment, allowing for remote maintenance and repair, with instructions displayed in real-time on the XR device.
  2. Training and education: XR can be used to superimpose digital twin models of complex systems onto the real-world systems, allowing for hands-on training and education.
  3. Design and construction: XR can be used to superimpose digital twin models of buildings or infrastructure onto the real-world construction site, allowing for real-time visualization of design and construction progress.

In closing, Industry 4.0 is a concept that aims to integrate advanced technologies in manufacturing to create smart, connected factories, and there are semantic standards that are being developed to support the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies by providing a common vocabulary and data model for representing and exchanging manufacturing data. XR technologies can be used in Industry 4.0 to provide a more immersive and interactive experience for users, allowing them to view and interact with digital twin models in real-time, superimposed on the physical object, system, or process that the digital twin represents. This can greatly enhance the ability to visualize, understand, and optimize the performance of complex systems and equipment.

Augmented Reality Is Transforming the Arts

Augmented Reality Is Transforming the Arts

“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.

AR In Our Daily Lives: Smart Cities

AR In Our Daily Lives: Smart Cities

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.