Some might argue that mixed reality (MR) will, eventually, become the top of the reality pyramid. This is mainly due to its ability to interact, in real time, with surroundings. While that argument has merit, there is always the case where the best, or most sophisticated, is not necessary. And, do not forget, all layers of the pyramid have potential applications. Exactly, how the reality road will wind is somewhat fuzzy. However, 2018 will see the various flavors of reality develop some clearer vectors.
Up until now, virtual reality (VR) has garnered the lion’s share of the attention. However, augmented reality (AR) will finally gain traction in 2018. In fact, industry gossip seems to think AR will be what sees the most advancement.
There are several reasons for the pace of development of the various renditions of reality and how they will carve out their specific niches once the technology enables it. Of course, in the early stages, where we are presently, what can be done, and for how much, is the primary development engine. For that reason, VR has led the pack.
However, technology for the development of AR advanced significantly in 2017, thusly, it is likely to see the most acceleration in 2018. MR is still, largely, on the drawing board and requires significant resources and a model of interfacing in real time that will take a while to develop – in both technology and applications. Therefore, the excitement for 2018 will be in the AR segment.
AR has a large application base. VR is being relegated, mostly, to gaming while AR is targeting the enterprise. The biggest roadblock has been the difficulty in developing AR headsets that can match the performance of VR units. The main reason is that AR takes a lot more resources and processing than VR, and encompasses a much larger environment.
AR will get a bump in 2018 from Apple, as well. They are staunch proponents of AR, and have recently launched something called the ARKit. In addition, it is rumored that they are also working on their own AR headset. If the headset goes public, 2018 could well be the year that AR gains significant traction. In fact, the research firm, Gartner, believes that AR will become one of the leading technologies in 2018.
As far as MR goes, look for slow but steady progress. However, eventually, MR will emerge as its own product and not, necessarily, the amalgamation of VR and AR as some seem to think.
Both AR and MR have markets. There will be some crossover. MR will take the market that demands high-end reality – things that will not work well with AR. Gartner notes that MR is “emerging as the immersive experience of choice providing a compelling technology that optimizes its interface to better match how people view and interact with their world.”
The truth is that all three platforms will continue to evolve. The lion’s share will go to AR, with MR bubbling just below the surface, for a while. VR will be steady as she goes.
There are not a lot of possible distruptions in this segment. The biggest impediment is the industry itself. If it realizes that AR and MR are sister technologies, each with different market segments, and keeps that in the target zone, progress for both should go unimpeded. However, if there is dissention in the ranks and the players try to make AR and MR competitors, that will create a bit of havoc and slow progress for both platforms.
Other than that, there is little that can stall the progress of the segment as a whole.
Executive Editor/Applied Wireless Technology
His 20-plus years of editorial experience includes being the Editorial Director of Wireless Design and Development and Fiber Optic Technology, the Editor of RF Design, the Technical Editor of Communications Magazine, Cellular Business, Global Communications and a Contributing Technical Editor to Mobile Radio Technology, Satellite Communications, as well as computer-related periodicals such as Windows NT. His technical writing practice client list includes RF Industries, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Agilent Technologies, Advanced Linear Devices, Ceitec, SA, and others. Before becoming exclusive to publishing, he was a computer consultant and regularly taught courses and seminars in applications software, hardware technology, operating systems, and electronics. Ernest’s client list has included Lucent Technologies, Jones Intercable, Qwest, City and County of Denver, TCI, Sandia National Labs, Goldman Sachs, and other businesses. His credentials include a BS, Electronic Engineering Technology; A.A.S, Electronic Digital Technology. He has held a Colorado Post-Secondary/Adult teaching credential, member of IBM’s Software Developers Assistance Program and Independent Vendor League, a Microsoft Solutions Provider Partner, and a life member of the IEEE. He has been certified as an IBM Certified OS2 consultant and trainer; WordPerfect Corporation Developer/Consultant and Lotus Development Corporation Developer/Consultant. He was also a first-class FCC technician in the early days of radio. Ernest Worthman may be contacted at: [email protected]
January 3, 2017 —
Big Data will gain more traction as will the various renditions of interactive computer-generated 3D environments: virtual reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Merged Reality (MR) or XR. Big Data will not only become invaluable to businesses, but will play a huge role in XR, allowing it to become mainstream. One such vector is subscriber data management (SDM). Under the Big Data umbrella, mobile network operators will, finally, be able to monetize their biggest asset – their customers. Something that has long been out of the reach of the MNO.
The IoX will begin to enable a universal Big Data interconnect network that will allow XR to provide experiences unheard of today, from the enterprise to the consumer.
In 2017, these XR systems will focus primarily on entertainment and education, mostly with experimental applications in communications, data visualization and enterprise situational awareness. As 2017 progresses these platforms will become more established and widespread via the capabilities of Big Data and data mining and analysis apps. Business will begin to use them for any number of applications.
The Big Data scene will see strong growth in all kinds of technology availability “as-a-service” (XaaS – or anything-as-a-service) as cloud platforms mature. Another enabling factor is that hardware for such platforms is on the fast track so expect an uptick in deployment in 2017. Finally, advancements and refinements in Big Data analysis techniques, algorithms and hardware will build meaningful databases that can be of use to any and all types of organizations – from government to consumer.
November 15, 2016 —
We are all pretty familiar with virtual reality (VR), which has been around for a while now. Augmented reality (AR) is another version of VR, a bit more recent. Now, the next reality has been unveiled by Intel – merged reality (MR).
Hype or reality (no pun intended), merged reality takes both VR and AR to another level by combining power, wireless communication, VR glasses, and a pair of RealSense cameras that face out to provide positioning information as well as video streams.
Using a head-mounted display (HMD), one can merge video from the real world into a virtual world, something that is limited in AR to a user’s normal view of the world.
The core of MR is the use of Intel RealSense cameras that provide 3D range information and video. This information can be utilized in a variety of ways, including incorporation into the VR environment presented by the user. This includes adding a view of someone standing in front of the wearer of the HMD. In a demo at the 2016 Intel Developers Forum, Intel’s Craig Raymond used a physical dollar bill with a virtual lathe to do virtual carving.
The cutting edge of this now is the Euclid mobile sensing system that includes a RealSense camera with an Atom-based processor and wireless support. It includes its own battery and runs Ubuntu Linux that also runs the Robot Operating System, which may run on a host of different operating systems and hardware platforms.
Intel’s commitment to RealSense is significant. It complements Intel’s processor and wireless technology. It remains to be seen if its idea of MR will complement or compete with AR and VR applications, but this is only the starting point. The technology will continue to improve, but it is at a point where it can be used to experiment with and deploy applications.
September 27, 2016
EDITORS’ NOTE: This is the last segment in our four-part series deep diving the technology exhibited at the CTIA Super Mobility 2016.
Augmented/virtual reality is slowly coming into its own. While much of this segment is still mounting smartphone inside goggles, the leaders, like Ericsson, Samsung, Oculus, and some others, are raising the bar.
Ericsson had a media room that presented some interesting, cutting-edge reality. Ericsson set up a very life-like proof of concept demonstration of what its MediaFirst TV viewing experience could look like in a Virtual Reality world.
And, in a really cool interactive experience, guests will be able to control, virtually, construction hardware just like there were on the construction site. This experience uses the Oculus Rift goggles and puts the user in the cab of an excavator. Using very low latency M2M it allows the user to experience instant remote control of the excavator program running at their lab in Plano, Texas.
What makes this novel is the bandwidth required to make this happen in real time. Between that and the low latency, the experience is very realistic. There were others, including Samsung, that offered similar experience.
M2M and the Connected Car
There was a great deal of activity around the connected car. Ford had an ominous presence, highlighting their developer program. Ford’s ISYNC 3 offers developers a ton of new opportunity for bringing content into Ford vehicles. This platform uses vehicle-generated data from sources such as GPS, speed, fuel, oil temperature sensors and more to access data and turn it into driver-friendly content using the SYNC 3 8-inch color touch screen and voice commands.
And around that pavilion were a number of vendors with connected car solutions. Mostly M2M-based, these included a novel presentation of a smart car, calling it a smarter phone on wheels, intimating that this smart car can do anything a phone can, and more.
Summit’s VoLTE/RCS-enabled connected car is capable of supporting features like enriched calling, social presence, a heads-up display, seamless roaming, location intelligence, gesture control, on-board diagnostics and APIs for third-party devices.
And, of course, there has to be a mention of the original smart car, KITT, from the 1982 TV show Knight Rider, which was brought in by the show management to enlighten the younger generation.
There were some interesting, fledgling areas. Like the startup lab that had startup vendors with emerging or developing platforms to present them to attendees and other vendors. CTIA is a good place for getting some visibility on them. There was also a China pavilion, showcasing vendors from China. In fact, many of the retail and consumer vendors were connected to China in one way or another.
And of course, the carriers had their presence, showing what they have in their wheelhouse.
Today, CTIA Super Mobility is a show in transition, as is CTIA. The platform that CTIA was built on has been gone for a while now. The new platform is everything wireless and CTIA has taken the right steps to move into the future.
The partnership with GSMA is a great thing. It will expand CTIA’s reach into the mobile world and begin to move away from the traditional “cell phone case show” that it has been its perception for the past few years.
I have to admit; I will miss the “glam” that the consumer element has been part of the show for a while (can’t wait to see how this goes for next year). But I am so looking forward to the cutting edge wireless technologies that will now play prominently in future generations of wireless technology.
And, finally, no more Vegas!