One of the attributes that defines AR’s potential is its breadth of applicability. Though use cases like product visualization and social lenses are the early leaders today, we’ll see several others develop in the coming years. That includes both consumer and enterprise applications.
Somewhere between those two endpoints is facilities management for commercial spaces. This includes everything from hospitals to shopping malls. In all cases, facilities managers can offer employees or guests more meaningful (or safe) experiences using contextual AR overlays.
For example, wayfinding can be offered with big floating arrows through AR interfaces — sort of like Google Live View but indoors. In consumer-centric spaces like shopping malls and airports, these directional overlays could have transactional endpoints….and monetization therein.
Quantifying all of the above, AR-based facilities-management player Resonai released a report that examines current adoption and projections for this spatial subsector. The project surveyed 76 U.S. and European senior facility managers from 11 vertical industries during Q4 2020.
So what were the report’s takeaways? Below are a handful that we pulled for this week’s Data Dive. For further context, surveyed verticals include corporate, manufacturing, retail, residential, hospitals & medical, shopping centers, education, entertainment, and food & grocery.
– Hospitals and medical facilities are the biggest AR adopters at 30 percent. Other adoptive facilities include manufacturing ( 26 percent), education ( 25 percent), and corporate ( 23 percent).
– The top AR application among respondents is marketing (tours and demos) at 20 percent. That’s followed by manufacturing ( 18 percent), maintenance and repairs ( 12 percent) tenant and visitor services ( 10 percent), and training/tutorials ( 10 percent).
– Top value drivers include maintenance automation ( 49 percent), preventative maintenance ( 45 percent), reducing physical contact ( 27 percent), supporting property leasing and sales ( 32 percent) new revenue opportunities ( 27 percent), and uncovering operational insights ( 22 percent).
– The top sticking point that prevents AR adoption is cost ( 40 percent), followed by lack of specialized personnel to manage it ( 38 percent).
– Cost concerns can be offset to some degree by the 27 percent of AR users cited previously who specify new revenue opportunities as an adoption benefit.
– 75 percent of facilities managers already have IoT devices active, including environmental sensors ( 44 percent) HVAC systems ( 42 percent), security systems ( 33 percent), automated doors ( 25 percent), and automated lighting ( 25 percent).
– This primes AR adoption, given that IoT-derived data is source material for informational AR overlays.
– In terms of aspirational adoption, 73 percent of facility managers who don’t implement AR plan to do so in the next two years.
If any of the above sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a child of the AR cloud, a.k.a. Mirrorworld, a.k.a. Magicverse. These constructs hold that AR requires invisible data layers that are geo-anchored to physical places to effectively trigger and enable intended AR experiences.
Key questions in AR cloud circles are access and interoperability. Will there be one big AR cloud, or walled-garden fiefdoms that represent proprietary data layers (social layers, commerce layers, etc.)? A monolithic cloud diminishes value while a fragmented one is dysfunctional.
The right answer is likely somewhere between those endpoints. We often point to the web as a model: though it has various proprietary interests and walled gardens, it works because they’re interoperable to a degree, given common languages (HTML) and protocols (HTTPS).
The main point of the AR cloud tangent is that facilities management will be one of its branches. It will offer various data layers that can be tapped on-demand — whether that’s finding new shoes in a mall or the closest fire exit in a hotel. As a microcosm of AR, its use cases will be broad.
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Solaris: Offworld Combat is coming to PSVR this June with a physical release from Perp Games. According to a First Contact Entertainment representative, the digital version is planned to release a month earlier in May.
Perp Games on Twitter: “We’re not finished just yet. Solaris Offworld Combat is the next game to be getting a physical box release. Coming in June to global markets! Will you be buying it? https://t.co/5sphrqsh10” / Twitter
Solaris: Offworld Combat on PSVR
Originally, Solaris was coming to PSVR late last year around the same time as the Quest and PC VR version of the game but got delayed. Now, it’s slated for release in just a couple of months.
The latest VR shooter from First Contact Entertainment (creators of Firewall Zero Hour) is a sci-fi competitive VR shooter that feels a bit like Quake in VR due to its speed and intense arena levels. It’s a very breezy, fast-paced game that’s accessible and easy to quickly jump in and out of. The closest comparison is probably Hyper Dash.
Soalris is a notable release because other than Firewall Zero Hour, there really haven’t been many options for shooter fans on PSVR. Alvo is coming soon too, but the headset is on its last legs at this point.
The PS Aim Controller continues to be one of the best things about the PSVR platform, so I’m all for seeing more games support it, but it’s a shame games like this didn’t hit PSVR earlier in its life cycle. Hopefully PSVR 2 on PS5 is backwards compatible and it can give late-life cycle games like this one new life when it releases.
Solaris is coming to PSVR very soon with a planned digital release in May and physical release from Perp Games in June. For more on this game make sure and read our Solaris: Offworld Combat review and stay tuned for all the latest in VR.
The VR fitness genre is still relatively new, all things considered. Even though the space is still somewhat niche, it’s absolutely growing at a fast pace as seen by the number of games and players that continue to spring up. How did we get to this point though, you might ask?
Microsoft won a large US Army contract to supply advanced AR headsets for frontline soldiers, based on the HoloLens platform.
The US Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) program aims to equip infantry with AR helmets for situational awareness and convenient display of sensor outputs.
The contract is worth up to $21.88 billion over 5-10 years. While the order has been widely reported as 120,000 units, a US Army statement to Breaking Defence suggests that is the maximum, not a fixed quantity.
Early evaluation units based on HoloLens 2
In 2018 Microsoft won the $480 million evaluation contract for just over 2500 units, based on HoloLens 2 with some modifications and an extra sensor.
The current, ruggedized, upgraded IVAS
The evaluation found the hardware not rugged enough for military use, and identified problems with the sensors at night. Since then the hardware has been significantly upgraded. It’s more ruggedized and houses many more sensors.
The field of view has been significantly increased from roughly 40°x30° to 80°x40°. That’s significantly wider than any other see-through AR headset on the market.
Reported use cases for the headset include:
overlaying icons on friendly units, objectives, threats, and points of interest
built-in night vision & thermal view modes
live picture-in-picture feeds from drones, including the Soldier Borne Sensors (SBS) personal drone
simulated weapons & enemies for training exercises
scanning nearby people for high temperature (COVID-19)
facial recognition for hostage rescue situations
The Army is also testing integrations with vehicles, such as soldiers being able to see-through the walls of the armored vehicle carrying them. That means on dismounting they’ll be situationally aware.
Some Microsoft employees have protested providing technology for the military, but that’s unlikely to have any effect given the enormous potential value of the contract.
IVAS is still in the late testing & evaluation stage, and the scale of deployment will depend on future budgets. But if things go to plan, frontline soldiers could be equipped with these game-changing AR capabilities by the end of the decade.