Tag Archives: AR

How 5G Is Unlocking the Hidden Potential of Mobile Gaming

5G is the fastest growing mobile generation of all time. There are 236 active 5G subscriptions with 3 billion 5G subscriptions anticipated by 2025. The vastly improved speed will have a transformative impact on a number of technologies—especially mobile gaming.

The game industry generates over $175 billion in revenue. Mobile gamers constitute over 2.6 billion mobile gamers worldwide. Mobile gaming is big business and 5G stands to unlock even more hidden potential in a variety of ways.

SAY GOODBYE TO LATENCY

Imagine thousands of players simultaneously playing Call of Duty on mobile devices with no lag and professional-level speed. Mobile operators like Ericsson are pushing the 5G revolution everyday to make these scenarios a reality.

In competitive gaming, latency can make or break a game. Online gamers can easily become frustrated and churn if latency ruins their experience. With speeds up to 10Gbps, 5G delivers 10 times the speed of 4G LTE. Response times as low as 5 milliseconds will virtually eliminate lag between input and response. As 5G becomes more reliable, it will hold true even for massive online games with a large number of competitors.

In a recent survey conducted by OpenSignal on the best networks for gaming experiences, mmWave 5G led the way—ahead of private wi-fi networks.

OFFLOADING PROCESSING

For IoT developers, 5G’s ability to bolster cloud computing poses major opportunities. 5G enables simple devices and sensors to complete complex tasks by offloading major processing duties to the cloud.

Mobile gaming can similarly benefit from the raw speed of 5G. Higher bandwidth and lower response times open up the possibility of offloading key processes. Games will be able to handle more arduous rendering duties remotely, producing a higher quality stream. With the cloud carrying the workload, the quality and age of the user’s device would matter significantly less provided the user has a 5G data plan. Gamers will still be able to expect the same high-quality experiences regardless of whether they have the latest smartphone.

AR AND VR BOON

Massive increases in streaming speed and cloud processing power will enable AR and VR developers to take their projects to the next level. Expect to see bigger, more detailed and immersive virtual worlds. For AR and VR apps to realize their potential, data needs to be rendered at the moment of decision-making. Lag and latency take users out of what’s intended to be the pinnacle of immersive gaming. The speeds of 5G will trigger a momentous evolution for AR and VR gaming.

CAN MOBILE GAMING OVERTAKE CONSOLES?

Smartphones provide game developers with the broadest platform and userbase. The bolstered processing power provided by smartphones with 5G will enable mobile devices to provide graphics on par with consoles. However, before mobile gaming can dethrone console gaming in terms of popularity, there are a few roadblocks.

While some major console games are available on mobile devices, the vast majority are not. Gamers are not at the point where they expect the same games on their mobile devices. Until game developers can effectively transfer major franchises to mobile devices, console gaming will remain king.

One of the major obstacles facing mobile gaming is the controller. iOS and Android touch screens simply cannot match the precision of playing on an Xbox Series X or PS5. Gamepads like the Backbone One latch onto smart devices to enable more fluid controls, but they also take away the mobile aspect of games since they are arduous to carry. Furthermore, they require every game to map inputs to each controller’s layout. The controller poses a simple but major problem and until it’s addressed, console gaming will provide more reliable experiences.

How Business Owners Can Leverage the Metaverse to Turn a Profit

As many have heard, Facebook’s highly publicized rebranding as Meta in 2021 signaled their long-term expansion from social media into VR, the metaverse, and more. In the process, they launched the metaverse into a household name technology. The $500 million virtual real estate boom which proceeded only further hammered the point home—as far as Meta is concerned, the metaverse is the future. With VR and AR technologies developing at an astounding rate, businesses are entering the metaverse intent on generating revenue while the technology remains in its nascent stage.

The metaverse is here to stay—the question for business owners is: how can one take advantage of it? There is a long list of apps that use AR features to enhance the shopping experience. Sephora’s Virtual Artist app enables users to view how makeup will look before trying it on. The Ikea Place application enables users to view how furniture will look in their house before they place them.

The big question is: should you as a business owner delve into the metaverse? And if so, how can you leverage a metaverse presence to generate commerce? In this week’s blog, we present a few ideas to consider when making your decision.

REAL ESTATE

The first step to a metaverse presence is the acquisition of a virtual space for the business. Luckily, metaverse real estate has proven to be an extraordinarily profitable investment in and of itself. Armando Aguilar told Coindesk recently that the price of his three-bedroom, two-bathroom home outside New York City has appreciated two and a half times, while his metaverse property surged by 1,400% during that same time.

When purchasing real estate within the metaverse, consider which platform you’d like to see your company grow in. There’s a long list of options, from Sandbox to Decentraland, each with their own pros and cons.

When choosing a platform, consider which platform will provide the most short-term gains for your customers. Where do you anticipate long-term value? Investing wisely will lead to revenue as the price of virtual property rises.

For a list of the top metaverse platforms, check out XR Today’s list of the top metaverse platforms to watch in 2022.

EXPAND YOUR PHYSICAL PRESENCE

The metaverse presents an opportunity for companies to translate their brand into a virtual experience. Similar to the early aughts of the internet, companies which fail to capitalize on the new channel may lose money to companies that adopted the metaverse faster.

The metaverse differs from the internet in that it enables businesses to replicate three dimensional, physical spaces. This is a huge leap as we are physical beings and crave physical experiences.

While nothing can replace the physical retail experience, a great deal of commerce is generated by monetizing convenience. Delivery services like Amazon and Seamless generate billions of dollars in revenue by offering a variety of products to their customers through their digital presence, cutting out the need to stray from the home.

The metaverse capitalizes on our desire for physical experiences while enabling us to access them from the comfort of our couch. Rather than recreate their websites, businesses need to think about how they can create a physical experience for their customers.

Five years down the line, businesses will likely require a team of consultants and developers to build the metaverse experience. Check out the video below showing how Walmart created a physical shopping experience in the metaverse.

NFTs AND THE METAVERSE

Commerce in the metaverse will incorporate cryptocurrency and NFTs. NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, are unique digital files which function as certificates of ownership verified by the blockchain. They can be associated with any number of things—from sneakers, to songs and works of art. Although the market shows volatility similar to cryptocurrency, NFT value can appreciate by quite a bit.

NFTs represent a new buying channel that’s crucial to the metaverse. Creating exclusive experiences in the metaverse will draw your customers in.

Offering exclusive NFTs is a way to both create value and boost engagement with your customers. Adidas recently took advantage of this, generating over $23 million in ethereum in their first NFT drop.

Consider incorporating NFT’s alongside physical product drops. For example, offer an NFT to customers who enter the metaverse to make early pre-orders of future releases.

The metaverse is an opportunity to drive engagement and create value by offering personalized, exclusive experiences to your customers. NFTs are the perfect method to achieve this.

CONCLUSION

The metaverse poses a business opportunity for enterprises unafraid of innovation. What kind of experience can you deliver to your customers in the metaverse that you cannot in any other realm? Businesses which manage to answer that question will be rewarded with long-term profit.

Learn How Google Bests ARKit with Android’s ARCore

Previously, we covered the strengths of ARKit 4 in our blog Learn How Apple Tightened Their Grip on the AR Market with the Release of ARKit 4. This week, we will explore all that Android’s ARCore has to offer.

All signs point toward continued growth in the Augmented Reality space. As the latest generations of devices are equipped with enhanced hardware and camera features, applications employing AR have seen increasing adoption. While ARCore represents a breakthrough for the Android platform, it is not Google’s first endeavor into building an AR platform.

HISTORY OF GOOGLE AR

In summer 2014, Google launched their first AR platform Project Tango.

Project Tango received consistent updates, but never achieved mass adoption. Tango’s functionality was limited to three devices which could run it, including the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro which ultimately suffered from numerous issues. While it was ahead of its time, it didn’t receive the level of hype ARKit did. In March 2018, Google announced that it will no longer support Project Tango and that the tech titan will be continuing AR Development with ARCore.

ARCORE

ARCore uses three main technologies to integrate virtual content with the world through the camera:

  • Motion tracking
  • Environmental understanding
  • Light estimation

It tracks the position of the device as it moves and gradually builds its own understanding of the real world. As of now, ARCore is available for development on the following devices:

ARCORE VS. ARKIT

ARCore and ARKit have quite a bit in common. They are both compatible with Unity. They both feature a similar level of capability for sensing changes in lighting and accessing motion sensors. When it comes to mapping, ARCore is ahead of ARKit. ARCore has access to a larger dataset which boosts both the speed and quality of mapping achieved through the collection of 3D environmental information. ARKit cannot store as much local condition data and information. ARCore can also support cross-platform development—meaning you can build ARCore applications for iOS devices, while ARKit is exclusively compatible with iOS devices.

The main cons of ARCore in relation to ARKit mainly have to do with their adoption. In 2019, ARKit was on 650 million devices while there were only 400 million ARCore-enabled devices. ARKit yields 4,000+ results on GitHub while ARCore only contains 1,400+. Ultimately, iOS devices are superior to software-driven Android devices—particularly given the TrueDepth Camera—meaning that AR applications will run better on iOS devices regardless of what platform they are on.

OVERALL

It is safe to say that ARCore is the more robust platform for AR development; however, ARKit is the most popular and most widely usable AR platform. We recommend spending time determining the exact level of usability you need, as well as the demographics of your target audience.

For supplementary reading, check out this great rundown of the best ARCore apps of 2021 from Tom’s Guide.

Learn More About Triggering Augmented Reality Experiences with AR Markers

We expect a continued increase in the utilization of AR in 2021. The iPhone 12 contains LiDAR technology, which enables the use of ARKit 4, greatly enhancing the possibilities for developers. When creating an AR application, developers must consider a variety of methods for triggering the experience and answer several questions before determining what approach will best facilitate the creation of a digital world for their users. For example, what content will be displayed? Where will this content be placed, and in what context will the user see it?

Markerless AR can best be used when the user needs to control the placement of the AR object. For example, the IKEA Place app allows the user to place furniture in their home to see how it fits.

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Location-based AR roots an AR experience to a physical space in the world, as we explored previously in our blog Learn How Apple Tightened Their Hold on the AR Market with the Release of ARKit 4. ARKit 4 introduces Location Anchors, which enable developers to set virtual content in specific geographic coordinates (latitude, longitude, and altitude). To provide more accuracy than location alone, location anchors also use the device’s camera to capture landmarks and match them with a localization map downloaded from Apple Maps. Location anchors greatly enhance the potential for location-based AR; however, the possibilities are limited within the 50 cities which Apple has enabled them.

Marker-based AR remains the most popular method among app developers. When an application needs to know precisely what the user is looking at, accept no substitute. In marker-based AR, 3D AR models are generated using a specific marker, which triggers the display of virtual information. There are a variety of AR markers that can trigger this information, each with its own pros and cons. Below, please find our rundown of the most popular types of AR markers.

FRAMEMARKERS

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The most popular AR marker is a framemarker, or border marker. It’s usually a 2D image printed on a piece of paper with a prominent border. During the tracking phase, the device will search for the exterior border in order to determine the real marker within.

Framemarkers are similar to QR Codes in that they are codes printed on images that require handheld devices to scan, however, they trigger AR experiences, whereas QR codes redirect the user to a web page. Framemarkers are a straightforward and effective solution.

absolut-truths

Framemarkers are particularly popular in advertising applications. Absolut Vodka’s Absolute Truth application enabled users to scan a framemarker on a label of their bottle to generate a slew of more information, including recipes and ads.

GameDevDad on Youtube offers a full tutorial of how to create framemarkers from scratch using Vuforia Augmented Reality SDK below.

 

NFT MARKERS

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NFT, or Natural Feature Tracking, enable camera’s to trigger an AR experience without borders. The camera will take an image, such as the one above, and distill down it’s visual properties as below.

AugementedRealityMarkerAnymotionFeatures

The result of processing the features can generate AR, as below.

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The quality and stability of these can oscillate based on the framework employed. For this reason, they are less frequently used than border markers, but function as a more visually subtle alternative. A scavenger hunt or a game employing AR might hide key information in NFT markers.

Treasury Wine Estates Living Wine Labels app, displayed above, tracks the natural features of the labels of wine bottles to create an AR experience which tells the story of their products.

OBJECT MARKERS

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The  toy car above has been converted into an object data field using Vuforia Object Scanner.

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Advancements in technology have enabled mobile devices to solve the issue of SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping). The device camera can extract information in-real time, and use it to place a virtual object in it. In some frameworks, objects can become 3D-markers. Vuforia Object Scanner is one such framework, creating object data files that can be used in applications for targets. Virtual Reality Pop offers a great rundown on the best object recognition frameworks for AR.

RFID TAGS

Although RFID Tags are primarily used for short distance wireless communication and contact free payment, they can be used to trigger local-based virtual information.

While RFID Tags are not  widely employed, several researchers have written articles about the potential usages for RFID and AR. Researchers at the ARATLab at the National University of Singapore have combined augmented reality and RFID for the assembly of objects with embedded RFID tags, showing people how to properly assemble the parts, as demonstrated in the video below.

SPEECH MARKERS

Speech can also be used as a non-visual AR marker. The most common application for this would be for AR glasses or a smart windshield that displays information through the screen requested by the user via vocal commands.

CONCLUSION

Think like a user—it’s a staple coda for app developers and no less relevant in crafting AR experiences. Each AR trigger offers unique pros and cons. We hope this has helped you decide what is best equipped for your application.

In our next article, we will explore the innovation at the heart of AIoT, the intersection of AI and the Internet of Things.

Learn How Apple Tightened Their Hold on the AR Market with the Release of ARKit 4

Since the explosive launch of Pokemon Go, AR technologies have vastly improved. Our review of the iPhone 12 concluded that as Apple continues to optimize its hardware, AR will become more prominent in both applications and marketing.

At the 2020 WWDC in June, Apple announced ARKit 4, their latest iteration of the famed augmented reality platform. ARKit 4 features some vast improvements that help Apple tighten their hold on the AR market.

LOCATION ANCHORS

ARKit 4 introduces location anchors, which allow developers to set virtual content in specific geographic coordinates (latitude, longitude, and altitude). When rebuilding the data backend for Apple Maps, Apple collected camera and 3D LiDAR data from city streets across the globe. ARKit downloads the virtual map surrounding your device from the cloud and matches it with the device’s feed to determine your location. The kicker is: all processing happens using machine learning within the device, so your camera feed stays put.

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Devices with an A12 chip or later, can run Geo-tracking; however, location anchors require Apple to have mapped the area previously. As of now, they are supported in over 50 cities in the U.S. As the availability of compatible devices increases and Apple continues to expand its mapping project, location anchors will find increased usage.

DEPTH API

ARKit’s new Depth API harnesses the LiDAR scanner available on iPad Pro and iPhone 12 devices to introduce advanced scene understanding and enhanced pixel depth information in AR applications. When combined with 3D mesh data derived from Scene Geometry, which creates a 3D matrix of readings of the environment, the Depth API vastly improves virtual object occlusion features. The result is the instant placement of digital objects and seamless blending with their physical surroundings.

FACE TRACKING

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Face tracking has found an exceptional application in Memojis, which enables fun AR experiences for devices with a TrueDepth camera. ARKit 4 expands support to devices without a camera that has at least an A12. TrueDepth cameras can now leverage ARKit 4 to track up to three faces at once, providing many fun potential applications for Memojis.

VIDEO MATERIALS WITH REALITYKIT

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ARKit 4 also brings with it RealityKit, which adds support for applying video textures and materials to AR experiences. For example, developers will be able to place a virtual television on a wall, complete with realistic attributes, including light emission, texture roughness, and even audio. Consequentially, AR developers can develop even more immersive and realistic experiences for their users.

CONCLUSION

iOS and Android are competing for supremacy when it comes to AR development. While the two companies’ goals and research overlap, Apple has a major leg up on Google in its massive base of high-end devices and its ability to imbue them with the necessary structure sensors like TrueDepth and LiDAR.

ARKit has been the biggest AR development platform since it hit the market in 2017. ARKit 4 provides the technical capabilities tools for innovators and creative thinkers to build a new world of virtual integration.

How App Developers Can Leverage the iPhone 12 to Maximize Their Apps

On October 23rd, four brand new iPhone 12 models were released to retailers. As the manufacturer of the most popular smartphone model in the world, whenever Apple delivers a new device its front-page news. Mobile app developers looking to capitalize on new devices must stay abreast of the latest technologies, how they empower applications, and what they signal about where the future of app development is headed.

With that in mind, here is everything app developers need to know about the latest iPhone models.

BIG DEVELOPMENTS FOR AUGMENTED REALITY

LiDAR is a method for measuring distances (ranging) by illuminating the target with laser light and measuring the reflection with a sensor

LiDAR is a method for measuring distances (ranging) by illuminating the target with laser light and measuring the reflection with a sensor

On a camera level, the iPhone 12 includes significant advancements. It is the first phone to record and edit Dolby Vision with HDR. What’s more, Apple has enhanced the iPhone’s LiDAR sensor capabilities with a third telephoto lens.

The opportunities for app developers are significant. For AR developers, this is a breakthrough—enhanced LiDAR on the iPhone 12 means a broad market will have access to enhanced depth perception, enabling smoother AR object placement. The LIDAR sensor produces a 6x increase in autofocus speed in low light settings.

The potential use cases are vast. An enterprise-level application could leverage the enhanced camera to show the inner workings of a complex machine and provide solutions. Dimly lit rooms can now house AR objects, such as Christmas decorations. The iPhone 12 provides a platform for AR developers to count on a growing market of app users to do much more with less light, and scan rooms with more detail.

The iPhone 12’s enhanced LiDAR Scanner will enable iOS app developers to employ Apple’s ARKit 4 to attain enhanced depth information through a brand-new Depth API. ARKit 4 also introduces location anchors, which enable developers to place AR experiences at a specific point in the world in their iPhone and iPad apps.

With iPhone 12, Apple sends a clear message to app developers: AR is on the rise.

ALL IPHONE 12 MODELS SUPPORT 5G

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The entire iPhone 12 family of devices supports 5G with both sub-6GHz and mmWave networks. When iPhone 12 devices leverage 5G with the Apple A14 bionic chip, it enables them to integrate with IoT devices, and perform on ML algorithms at a much higher level.

5G poses an endless array of possibilities for app developers—from enhanced UX, more accurate GPS, improved video apps, and more. 5G will reduce dependency on hardware as app data is stored in the cloud with faster transfer speeds. In addition, it will enable even more potential innovation for AR applications.

5G represents a new frontier for app developers, IoT, and much more. Major carriers have been rolling out 5G networks over the past few years, but access points remain primarily in major cities. Regardless, 5G will gradually become the norm over the course of the next few years and this will expand the playing field for app developers.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Beyond the bells and whistles, the iPhone 12 sends a very clear message about what app developers can anticipate will have the biggest impact on the future of app development: AR and 5G. Applications employing these technologies will have massive potential to evolve as the iPhone 12 and its successors become the norm and older devices are phased out.

How to Leverage AR to Boost Sales and Enhance the Retail Experience

The global market for VR and AR in retail will reach $1.6 billion by 2025 according to research conducted by Goldman Sachs. Even after years of growing popularity, effectively employed Augmented Reality experiences feel to the end-user about as explicitly futuristic as any experience created by popular technology.

We have covered the many applications for AR as an indoor positioning mechanism on the Mystic MediaTM blog, but when it comes to retail, applications for AR are providing real revenue boosts and increased conversion rates.

Augmented Reality (AR) History

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While working as an associate professor at Harvard University, computer scientist Ivan Sutherland, aka the “Father of Computer Graphics”, created an AR head-mounted display system which constituted the first AR technology in 1968. In the proceeding decades, AR visual displays gained traction in universities, companies, and national agencies as a way to superimpose vital information on physical environments, showing great promise for applications for aviation, military, and industrial purposes.

Fast forward to 2016, the sensational launch of Pokemon GO changed the game for AR. Within one month, Pokemon GO reached 45 million users, showing there is mainstream demand for original and compelling AR experiences.

Cross-Promotions

Several big brands took advantage of Pokemon GO’s success through cross-promotions. McDonald’s paid for Niantic to turn 3,000 Japan locations into gyms and PokeStops, a partnership that has recently endedStarbucks took advantage of Pokemon GO’s success as well by enabling certain locations to function as PokeStops and gyms, and offering a special Pokemon GO Frappucino.

One of the ways retailers can enter into the AR game without investing heavily in technology is to cross-promote with an existing application.

In 2018, Walmart launched a partnership with Jurassic World’s AR game: Jurassic World Alive. The game is similar to Pokemon GO, using a newly accessible Google Maps API to let players search for virtual dinosaurs and items on a map, as well as battle other players. Players can enter select Walmart locations to access exclusive items.

Digital-Physical Hybrid Experiences

The visual augmentation produced by AR transforms physical spaces by leveraging the power of computer-generated graphics, an aesthetic punch-up proven to increase foot traffic. While some retailers are capitalizing on these hybrid experiences through cross-promotions, others are creating their own hybrid experiential marketing events.

Foot Locker developed an AR app that used geolocation to create a scavenger hunt in Los Angeles, leading customers to the location where they could purchase a pair of LeBron 16 King Court Purple shoes. Within two hours of launching the app, the shoes sold out.

AR also has proven potential to help stores create hybrid experiences through indoor navigation. Users can access an augmented view of the store through their phones, which makes in-store navigation easy. Users scan visual markers, recognized by Apple’s ARKitGoogle’s ARCore, and other AR SDKs, to establish their position, and AR indoor navigation applications can offer specific directions to their desired product.

Help Consumers Make Informed Choices

Ikea Place Screenshots

AR is commonly employed to enrich consumers’ understanding of potential purchases and prompt them to buy. For example, the “IKEA Place” app allows shoppers to see IKEA products in a superimposed graphics environment. IKEA boasts the app gives shoppers 98% accuracy in buying decisions.

Converse employs a similar application, the “Converse Sampler App”, which enables users to view what a shoe will look like on their feet through their device’s camera. The application increases customer confidence, helping them make the decision to purchase.

Treasury Wines Estates enhances the consumer experience with “Living Wine Labels”: AR labels that bring the history of the vineyard to life and provide users with supplementary information, including the history of the vineyard the wine came from and tasting notes.

Conclusion

AR enables striking visuals that captivate customers. As a burgeoning tool, AR enables companies to get creative and build innovative experiences that capture their customers’ imagination. Retailers who leverage AR will seize an advantage both in the short term and in the long term as the technology continues to grow and evolve.

The Future of Indoor GPS Part 5: Inside AR’s Potential to Dominate the Indoor Positioning Space

In the previous installment of our blog series on indoor positioning, we explored how RFID Tags are finding traction in the indoor positioning space. This week, we will examine the potential for AR Indoor Positioning to receive mass adoption.

When Pokemon Go accrued 550 million installs and made $470 million in revenues in 2016, AR became a household name technology. The release of ARKit and ARCore significantly enhanced the ability for mobile app developers to create popular AR apps. However, since Pokemon Go’s explosive release, no application has brought AR technology to the forefront of the public conversation.

When it comes to indoor positioning technology, AR has major growth potential. GPS is the most prevalent technology navigation space, but it cannot provide accurate positioning within buildings. GPS can be accurate in large buildings such as airports, but it fails to locate floor number and more specifics. Where GPS fails, AR-based indoor positioning systems can flourish.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

AR indoor navigation consists of three modules: Mapping, Positioning, and Rendering.

via Mobi Dev

via Mobi Dev

Mapping: creates a map of an indoor space to make a route.

Rendering: manages the design of the AR content as displayed to the user.

Positioning: is the most complex module. There’s no accurate way of using the technology available within the device to determine the precise location of users indoors, including the exact floor.

AR-based indoor positioning solves that problem by using Visual Markers, or AR Markers, to establish the users’ position. Visual markers are recognized by Apple’s ARKit, Google’s ARCore, and other AR SDKs.  When the user scans that marker, it can identify exactly where the user is and provide them with a navigation interface. The further the user is from the last visual marker, the less accurate their location information becomes. In order to maintain accuracy, developers recommend placing visual markers every 50 meters.

Whereas beacon-based indoor positioning technologies can become expensive quickly, running $10-20 per beacon with a working range of around 10-100 meters of accuracy, AR visual markers are the more precise and cost-effective solution with an accuracy threshold down to within millimeters.

Via View AR

Via View AR

CHALLENGES

Performance can decline when more markers have been into an AR-based VPS because all markers must be checked to find a match. If the application is set up for a small building where 10-20 markers are required, it is not an issue. If it’s a chain of supermarkets requiring thousands of visual markers across a city, it becomes more challenging.

Luckily, GPS can help determine the building where the user is located, limiting the number of visual markers the application will ping. Innovators in the AR-based indoor positioning space are using hybrid approaches like this to maximize precision and scale of AR positioning technologies.

CONCLUSION

AR-based indoor navigation has had few cases and requires further technical development before it can roll out on a large scale, but all technological evidence indicates that it will be one of the major indoor positioning technologies of the future.

This entry concludes our blog series on Indoor Positioning, we hope you enjoyed and learned from it! In case you missed it, check out our past entries:

The Future of Indoor GPS Part 1: Top Indoor Positioning Technologies

The Future of Indoor GPS Part 2: Bluetooth 5.1′s Angle of Arrival Ups the Ante for BLE Beacons

The Future of Indoor GPS Part 3: The Broadening Appeal of Ultra Wideband

The Future of Indoor GPS Part 4: Read the Room with RFID Tags

The Future of Indoor GPS Part 1: Top Indoor Positioning Technologies

GPS can help you get from A to B, but what can it do to enhance your indoor retail experience?  Over the next several entries, the Mystic Media Blog will endeavor on a five-part deep dive into the top indoor location technologies and how they will help form the retail experience of the future.

GPS has become ingrained in our everyday lives. Zoomers will never know of a world without GPS, the world of Mapquest and just plain old maps.

While Google Maps, Waze, and Apple Maps can take you from your home to your favorite retailer, finding your way around large stores remains difficult. As a business owner, you want to make the act of navigating the store as easy as possible so that your customers have a positive experience finding what they want. Indoor GPS can solve that problem.

In the past five years, indoor positioning has blown up. The global market for indoor location technology is projected to hit $40.99 billion by 2022, a significant increase from $5.22 billion in 2016. That’s a compound annual growth rate of 42%. With $2.4 billion anticipated in annual spending on beacons and asset tracking by the end of 2020, IPS or Indoor Positioning Systems are here to stay.

Here are the top IPS technologies in use today:

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BLE 5.1 BEACONS

Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons are tiny battery powered devices that can connect to bluetooth-enabled devices like smartphones.

When it comes to indoor positioning, the more precise the positioning, the larger the investment required to achieve it. Bluetooth Low Energy beacons have become a technology stack because they require relatively inexpensive hardware to achieve an accuracy of up to 1-3 meters. BLE 5.1 beacons have improved upon that, providing 1-10 centimeters of accuracy with minimal lag.

BLE is extremely power efficient and cost-effective, minimally draining a phone’s battery  when connected, and can be used within WiFi access points or lighting infrastructure. Since they infrequently require maintenance, they are often used in high-traffic venues.

Locatify-UWB-Ultrawideband-RTLS

ULTRA-WIDEBAND (UWB)

Ultra-wideband (UWB) is a radio technology utilizing low power consumption for a high-bandwidth connection. UWB has extremely precise locating abilities, dialing in to locate objects within one centimeter.

In September 2019, Apple announced the iPhone 11 includes a “U1” chip with UWB technology; however, UWB technology is currently not widely available. Many consider it to be the future of indoor positioning technology, but the lack of existing infrastructure will likely delay mass adoption. Regardless, for applications like warehouse tracking where ultra-precise positioning is required, UWB is an ideal solution.

RFID

RFID TAGS

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. RFID is a simple technology with a tag and a reader. The reader extracts data from the tag using radio-frequency electromagnetic field and identifies the object the tag is attached to.

Although RFID is often used in combination with other technologies for more precise indoor location, the market for RFID is gradually increasing. It’s currently slated for growth in the apparel and shoes space, with great potential in other markets such as healthcare and automotive.

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AR-BASED NAVIGATION

Indoor navigation utilizing Augmented Reality technologies can do more than just help you navigate a store, it can totally revolutionize the retail experience.  AR can create virtual paths and arrows to help navigate the store. For businesses, AR can improve internal processes by making it easier for staff to navigate offices and warehouses.

This technology is enabled by placing visual markers which can be scanned by the users using their mobile device’s camera. The phone will then guide the user through the retail experience and can be customized to help them find what they need.

In May 2019, the number of AR-enabled devices around the world reached 1.05 billion. Apple and Google are actively working on improving ARKit and ARCore, their AR software development frameworks. Beyond simply helping customers and staff navigate stores, AR will pave the way for personalized shopping experiences unlike any we’ve seen before.

CONCLUSION

While BLE Beacons are currently the leader in the marketplace, many technologies are competing to pioneer the most advanced and accurate indoor location technologies. Given the countless applications, the future is looking bright for indoor location applications! Tune into our next indoor positioning blog when we take a deep dive into BLE 5.1 beacons.

How 5G Will Enable the Next Generation of Healthcare

In the past month, we’ve explored 5G, or fifth generation cellular technology, and how 5G will shape the future. In this piece, we’ll spotlight the many ways in which 5G will revolutionize the healthcare industry.

DATA TRANSMISSION

Many medical machines like MRIs and other imaging machines generate very large files that must then be sent to specialists for review. When operating on a network with low bandwidth, the transmission can take a long time or not send successfully. This means patients must wait even longer for treatment, inhibiting the efficiency of healthcare providers. 5G networks will vastly surpass current network speeds, enabling healthcare providers to quickly and reliably transport huge data files, allowing patients and doctors to get results fast.

EXPANDING TELEMEDICINE

why-use-telemedicine

A study by Market Research Future showed that the future of telemedicine is bright—an annual growth rate of 16.5% is expected from 2017 to 2023. 5G is among the primary reasons for that level of growth. In order to support the real-time high-quality video necessary for telemedicine to be effective, hospitals and healthcare providers will need 5G networks that can reliably provide high-speed connections. Telemedicine will result in higher quality healthcare in rural areas and increased access to specialists around the world. Additionally, 5G will enable growth in AR, adding a new dimension to the quality of telemedicine.

REMOTE MONITORING AND WEARABLES

It’s no secret that 5G will enable incredible innovation in the IoT space. One of the ways in which IoT will enable more personalized healthcare involves wearables. According to Anthem, 86% of doctors say wearables increase patient engagement with their own health and wearables are expected to reduce hospital costs by 16% in the next five years.

Wearables like Fitbit track health information that can be vital for doctors to monitor patient health and offer preventative care. While the impact may initially be negligible, as technology advances and more applications for gathering data through wearables emerge, 5G will enable the high-speed, low-latency, data-intensive transfers necessary to take health-focused wearables to the next level. Doctors with increased access to patient information and data will be able to monitor and ultimately predict potential risks to patient health and enact preventative measures to get ahead of health issues.

Companies like CommandWear are creating wearable technology that helps save lives by enabling first responders to be more efficient and more conveniently communicate with their teams.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

In the future, artificial intelligence will analyze data to determine potential diagnoses and help determine the best treatment for a patient. The large amounts of data needed for real-time rapid machine learning requires ultra-reliable and high-bandwidth networks—the type of networks only 5G can offer.

One potential use case for AI in healthcare will be Health Management Systems. Picture a system that combines the Internet of Things with cloud computing and big data technology to fully exploit health status change information. Through data-mining, potential diseases can be screened and alarmed in advance. Health Management Systems will gradually receive mass adoption as 5G enables the data-transmission speeds necessary for machine learning to operate in the cloud and develop algorithms to predict future outcomes.

MAJOR PLAYERS

Right now, the major players who serve to benefit from 5G are the telecom companies developing technology that will enable mass adoption. Companies like Huawei Technologies, Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm, Verizon, AT&T, and Cisco Systems are investing massive sums of money into research and development and patenting various technologies, some of which will no doubt become the cornerstones of the future of healthcare.

Qualcomm recently hosted a contest to create a tricoder—a real life device based on a machine in the Star Trek TV movie franchise. Tricoders are portable medical devices that would enable patients to diagnose 13 conditions and continuously monitor five vital signs.

For a full list of major players in the 5G game, check out this awesome list from GreyB.

CONCLUSION

With human lives at stake, healthcare is the sector in which 5G could have the most transformative impact on our society. As the Qualcomm Tricoder contest shows, we are gradually building toward the society previously only dreamed about in sci-fi fiction–and 5G will help pave the way.