Augmented Reality for the Enterprise – SAP Employee Unveils Prototype

SAP employee Timo Elliott has unveiled a prototype for an augmented reality business intelligence iPhone app. He emphasizes that it’s a prototype, not a supported product. It’s not available for download yet, but Elliott gives us a look at what an augmented enterprise could look like. Elliot released some proof-of-concept mock-ups on his blog earlier this year (see our coverage), but the project is now in development at SAP in the BusinessObjects Innovation Center, which Elliot says is based on Google Labs.

The app prototype enables users to mashup location information with any sort of corporate data available in an enterprise’s BusinessObjects OnDemand account. The use case Elliot demonstrates is locating the nearest customers and displaying supplemental information.

Mashing up location data with CRM data has obvious, if limited, benefit – but what other sorts of uses are possible? The current limitation of the app is the precision of location based services. Elliot’s previous mock-ups presented some extremely interesting use cases that would require considerably greater precision:

Imagine pointing a smart phone at a piece of equipment or merchandise and pulling up information about it from an ERP system, and being able to update that information from the same interface.

What could really be useful for enterprises is the intersection of augmented reality with the Internet of ThingsGoogle Goggles can already recognize objects (and people), but what sort of use cases would open up if an AR app could identify individual objects and communicate with the objects themselves?

Written by Klint Finley / July 27, 2010 / ReadWrite Enterprise

What if a whole building were mobile

A dedicated device for augmented reality

QderoPateo is attempting to make an end-to-end platform for augmented reality. That includes building and releasing its own phone chipset, hardware and operating system, as well as APIs, applications, advertising sales and an AR industry consortium.

But AR needs a lot of work still. John du Pre Gauntt, from GigaOm speaks to the technical and business challenges and opportunities ahead for consumer AR apps. They include:

Pinpointing Geo: Today’s AR apps depend mostly on location information, but location data is only accurate to 10-20 meters. The most pressing priority, says du Pre Gauntt, is to make geolocation data more granular and optimized. And mobile social networking apps could actually help us get to a mapped globe quicker, writes du Pre Gauntt. “Foursquare and Gowalla have the potential to be foot soldiers for geotagging the world.”

Opening Eyes: The next area of development will be image recognition, something Google is working on with Google Goggles and Nokia with Point and Find. These early systems are often out of their element unless they can depend on scanning formal markers like barcodes. But a barcode experience tends to take the user out of the lens of AR to bring them to a web site or another resource.

The Apple Roadblock: Though AR developers have begged for access, Apple has a lock on the iPhone’s video feed API. As du Pre Gauntt puts it, “Without a public API to access live video in real time from the iPhone’s camera, it is impossible to do effective image analysis of the object in front.” This barrier could foretell an Apple push to innovate image recognition on its own, or it could mean that more open platforms (aka every other smartphone) are able to harness developer enthusiasm to get ahead.

Teaming Up: The hybrid nature of AR means it’s ripe for cooperation. Diving into today’s major AR app categories of navigation, location overlays, geo-information services, and gaming, du Pre Gauntt finds companies like Mobilizy and Lonely Planet, and Layar and Zehnder collaborating on some very cool travel and event apps. But cooperation seems to only make things more complicated; the implementations require both an AR browser and an app or a separately purchased guide.

Yelp’s augmented reality app

Some pretty cool technology that quite frankly I’m surprised was able to sneak past Apple. I’ve seen a lot of AR stuff strictly for marketing functions, but this is great example of how AR lends itself to more everyday funtionality.

35 Awesome Augmented Reality Examples

35 Awesome Augmented Reality Examples on bannerblog.

7 Augmented reality categories

Augmented reality categories

  1. location based search
  2. mobile games
  3. multimedia & entertainment
  4. lifestyle & healthcare
  5. education & reference
  6. social networking
  7. enterprise.

Mobile location-based and gaming AR apps to soar in next few years

Article from Biz Report talks about the massive uptick in AR that is expected in the next two years.

Augmented reality is a topic that is becoming more and more talked about in mobile marketing circles. A new report from Juniper Research predicts that the number of mobile downloads featuring augmented reality content is set to soar over the next few years with location-based and gaming applications at the forefront.

In 2009, the number of mobile downloads that feature augmented reality was around 1 million. Juniper Research’s report predicts this figure to rise dramatically, reaching over 400 million by 2014.

In a nutshell, augmented reality refers to the overlaying of real-word objects or locations, viewed via a mobile camera or display, with additional digital information in the form of text, animations, images or links. For instance, an augmented reality download for Paris might display, when viewing the Eiffel Tower using a suitably enabled device, the dimensions, history, and opening hours of the monument.

2009 has seen its fair share of mobile augmented reality applications. For instance, the “Nearest Tube” iPhone app directs the user to the nearest metro station by overlaying directional arrows on to a real-time “video” you take of your surroundings. Another innovative use of mobile augmented reality is TwittAround which allows users to literally pinpoint other tweeters in their immediate vicinity by using their camera.

The Juniper report goes on to say that location-based apps will continue to provide the bulk of the market through to 2014. However, augmented reality games, such the recently released “Gunman“, will become increasingly popular over the next five years, accounting for 30% of the market by 2014.

Ikea’s brilliant use of augmented reality

The Portable Interior Planner application from Ikea gives customers the ability to see exactly how the new designs will look in their home, without the need to actually move any furniture!


Using augmented reality, which generates a composite image based on real-world and computer-generated data, Ikea customers get an idea of what furniture would look like in their homes without having to buy anything. It’s the most real shopping experience availbale to consumers.

 

To help overcome a customer’s lack of imagination, IKEA worked with Ogilvy and Mindmatic to design and build a mobile application that is a portable interior planning tool.

Here’s how it works:

  • In the application are images of many of the pieces of furniture from the new IKEA PS line. The customer selects the product they are interested in, and then selects “Take a Picture”.
  • The customer aims the camera of the phone at the area of the room where the furniture might be placed. The image of the room appears on the phone screen, along with the IKEA furniture. The furniture can be scaled larger or smaller to make it fit better in the scene.
  • Once the image is the way the customer wants it, they use the camera to take a picture of the scene.
  • If the customer likes the photo, they can either save it on the phone, or send it via MMS directly from within the application

 

Here are some images of the IKEA application in use.

ikea_phone_bureau.jpg

ikea_phone_clock.jpg

ikea_phone_lamp.jpg

Distribution

The IKEA PS made the mobile application available to consumers in three ways:

1) In-store posters urged customers to send a free text message to IKEA to receive a link to download the application.

2) Customers going to the IKEA website were able to enter their mobile number and receive a download of the application.

3) Bluetooth pillars were installed in IKEA certain stores. These would periodically sent out signals to nearby phones inviting the subscriber to download the application.

The IKEA interior planning tool application is a great example of applying the unique attributes of mobile to a specific customer situation. In this case, providing customers with an easy-to-use means to understand exactly what a piece of furniture would look like in their home.

A couple of key points to take away from this campaign:

• Sometimes simple, single use apps are the best. As Magnus Jern, MD of Golden Gekko told us when discussing how to develop great marketing apps, “Prioritize just the key functionality, avoid the temptation to make the app do too many things, or you will never finish.” (from MobiAD article Mobile Applications: The Next Big Thing In Mobile Marketing?)

• The relatively low development costs for mobile apps means that this type of app can be build economically for a specific campaign (although this sort of capability could certainly be an ongoing part of IKEA marketing).

• Emerging technologies, such as mobile augmented reality or visual interactivity will be an important force in enabling new opportunities for brands to communicate with their clients, especially with branded utilities. The key will be to marry new technologies with real customer needs in a simple to use way. The proper application of mobile technology with a good user interface to offer a specific solution is what’s really important.