Augmented Reality (AR) technology and the market for it has matured enough for it to have the potential to play a central part in smart cities, although the big changes are expected to occur when 5G systems become widespread, since AR requires a lot of data at high speed, for users who are on the move.
AR entails superimposing a computer image or images over a users’ view of the real world. The technology can work via several media, such as a smartphone, a tablet or specifically developed glasses or even contact lenses (in the future). AR augments reality by superimposing practical information, objects, images of the people the user is communicating with etc.
Augmented reality has many different applications. The technology probably became known to a large proportion of the public via Pokemon Go. There are a myriad other uses, however, and these also include smart city applications. For example, AR can communicate information to the public more efficiently, providing directions, information on urban planning etc. With the use of AR, users will be able to walk into a virtual representation of a planned building or extension, superimposed over the existing space.
AR can also be used to enhance documentation, presenting information and help in a way that can greatly simplify processes. Or, in combination with the Internet of Things it can support maintenance work by highlighting faulty street lights, potholes, leaky pipes etc., with information beamed to experts at remote locations, providing instructions to workers on site. AR can also be used for health and safety in building and public spaces, with data used to highlight dangerous spots, and also for emergency services themselves, providing information to the police, fire department or ambulance services.
The original article, by Andrew Ross, can be found on Information/Age.