Although around for a couple decades, Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that is receiving a great deal of attention through growing implementations, fueled by developments in supporting technologies, improved network speeds and increasing user interest and industry experimentation. As these developments continue to evolve, there will be technological challenges caused by the variety of different devices, software and platforms, coupled with the overall multi-dimensionality of AR and its associated requirements and goals that are highly dependent on the AR offered service or experience.
Even though many major companies are trying to make AR mainstream and start-ups are forming around its various aspects and uses, the adoption and use of this technology face many issues including interoperability. Many of these challenges can be addressed through open standards (open in development process through consensus and voluntary use).
AR standardization as a whole can, in principle, provide a schematic or framework on which parties involved can build services and applications, while encouraging innovation through clearly defined practices, maintaining interoperability, generating market trust and allowing collaborations and efficient information exchange.
When we look at AR today, its development and application can benefit from being grounded in open standards and universally adopted standard interfaces that lead to interoperability of hardware and software, which is necessary to grow market opportunities for the industry and benefit users. Open standards reduce the need for companies to reinvent the wheel, allowing for solutions to be more cost-effectively developed and move to market faster. All involved in the open standards development benefit from cooperation in building a foundation for the industry to compete upon—as a fragmented technology landscape benefits few. Further, the current “infrastructure” upon which AR functions—and its main access tool or vehicle of mobile devices—relies on open standards. When we look at standards for AR, these standards need to align with and innovate upon this foundation.
As the current popularity (and market) trends on AR continue with AR experiences maturing, with more AR content being created, and as new services and business models emerge—not to mention as more and more people use the “well- marketed” AR paradigms of today, it is time to reinforce support for the development and application of open standards to ensure open AR for all.
Global standards help the world achieve essential goals, including enhanced public health and safety, increased education, technology innovation and market expansion. In short, global standards—those developed in an open, bottom-up and market driven paradigm—are the underpinnings of innovation and their value and necessity are coming into even sharper focus with the Internet of Things, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality.
Standards open new markets and applications and make broadly available proprietary knowledge for current and future innovative technologies. Globally open standards development forums help promote solutions and provide networking opportunities with and among cross national communities, creating vibrant, open ecosystems that provide multiple sources of readily available information and expertise.
The open standards produced are beneficial on many fronts, including for industry there is less chance of being locked in by a specific technology and/or vendor. Since the specifications are known and open. And it is easier for systems from different parties or using different technologies to interoperate and communicate with one another. As a result, there is improved data exchange. Open standards help facilitate cross-platform functionality and speed development toward universal mapping and localization, among many things.
As digital technologies become increasingly more ingrained in our daily lives and as technologies such as AI and AR intersect more with industry verticals and commercial applications, innovation is boundless especially if grounded in open standards and specifications.
AI and AR in particular are at a pivotal moment in time. Decades of visions regarding AI and AR are coming of age and viable—beyond technologically to industry and consumer adoption and use. AR and the broader set of industries are converging the physical and digital worlds, with a tremendous amount of talent and creativity envisioning the future of the human experience. For industry to realize this promise, open standards are needed. Further, how these standards are created and who they are designed to benefit will have an impact on how the AI and AR space evolves.
For AI and AR to evolve, open solutions and standards will be critical to unleashing cross-platform support and accelerating development in what promises to be one of the most exciting times for creativity.
At Brainwaive we support open standards for open innovation to advance AR for industry and consumer use that is easy to access and use and that is trusted, safe and secure.