About a year ago, I remember watching this video of the Layar implementation in Amsterdam.
I was stunned at the quality and size of application and its implementation. Though I was also left thinking ok, what next, where and when will I come across it?
Now a year on, I think it’s fair to say Layar has grown significantly – “having over 1000 published layars, covering every country in the world ”. Ok but, there are other services about, though this wikipedia article looks a little behind the times (an emerging competitive market?)
Anyway, the item that brought me around to thinking about this again, was the IBM seer augmented reality application for Wimbledon tennis championships.
This brings together location data feeds, tags and links about of points of interest, via location recognition and user interaction. It supplements the location recognition and augmented reality with live video streams and community interaction via feeds from twitter.
I’m impressed by the depth of information and interaction this application delivers to visitors to the event. Which brings obvious value to people who are unfamiliar with their no doubt crowded surroundings, and also want get best experience and interact with rapidly changing events around them. I do wonder how many people attending Wimbledon will actually use the application (as a percentage of total attendance) [itunes counts downloads right?]and how the local mobile transmission infrastructure will cope with peaks of demands from such an application like this.
The wikipedia article providing a good list of use cases and applications of AR, and some examples are so commonplace they often get forgotten as AR examples. “Commonly known examples of AR are the yellow “first down ” lines seen in television broadcasts of American Football games using the 1st & Ten system, and the coloured trail showing location and direction of the puck in TV broadcasts of ice hockey games.”
Certainly the IBM seer applications makes me think that corporations and intuitions, and not just events will be providing AR apps or layer(ar)s for navigation and points of interest guides to help people move around their company locations, or as a guide to an art gallery or museum for example.
Certainly the rise of continued proliferation of powerful smart phones and mobile infrastructure in many industrialised nations makes a the use of apps for this purpose a strong likelihood.
Intuitions like museums and galleries, could has many (re-usable) point of interest markers (like a barcode – readable by Blackberries or other handsets) or a GPS marker stationed as they wish or required. These would be a great way to replace (single-use) paper based information transfer and yet provide all the regular information about the current item on display or the exhibit. As well as link the visitor to a lot more content or community interactions sourced from across the internet.
I would be grateful for such navigation aids available at a company locations, these would really help people find their way to or from meeting rooms, amenity or other corporate facilities. They’d be great at helping people around temporary diversions etc. These would be great at conferences and submits too. Though I can imagine elementary “I trust my GPS, I don’t need to think, so I’ll walk off a cliff” mistakes will become popular humour stories at the company restaurant.
I wonder whether it makes sense to build stand only applications like IBM seer or produce a bespoke layer within a comprehensive platform like Layar ? Also I’ve failed so far to mention Google maps or latitude or Google earth , which may be already merging into a global AR platform.
I guess in some way this is only a matter of time, but the matter or manner of implementation will still surprise I’m sure.