Why AR for Enterprise » Technologies for Enterprise AR

Mobile Collaborative Workflow

Enterprise AR developers must monitor advances in workflow management software and platforms. There are hundreds of relevant research projects that shed light on the future use of Augmented Reality in workflow.

One of these, the topic of a University of West London 2013 doctoral thesis, focuses on the challenges of workflow software on mobile devices for collaboration.  From the thesis abstract:

Workflow is a widely used technology that supports collaboration and can be adapted for a variety of collaborative scenarios. Although the originally computer-based workflow technology has expanded also on mobile devices, there are still research challenges in the development of user-focused device-oriented collaborative workflows.

Mobile devices provide a different, more personalised user experience and are carried by their owners everywhere. Mobile devices can capture user context and behave as digitalised user complements. By integrating context awareness into the workflow technology, workflow decisions can be based on local, context information and therefore, be more adapted to individual collaborators’ circumstances and expectations. Knowing the current context of collaborators and their mobile devices is useful, especially in mobile peer-to-peer collaboration where the workflow process execution can be driven by devices according to the situation.

In mobile collaboration, team workers share pictures, videos, or other content. Monitoring and exchanging the information on the current state of the content processed on devices can enhance the overall workflow execution. As mobile devices in peer-to-peer collaboration are not aware of a global workflow state, the content state information can be used to communicate progress among collaborators. However, there is still a lack of integrating content lifecycles in process-oriented workflows.

In this thesis, the MobWEL workflow approach is introduced. The MobWEL workflow approach allows defining, managing and executing mobile context-aware content-centric workflows. MobWEL is a workflow execution language that extends BPEL, using constructs from existing workflow approaches, Context4BPEL and BPELlight, and adopting elements from the BALSA workflow model. The MobWEL workflow management approach is a technology-based solution that has been designed to provide workflow management support to a specific class of mobile applications.

Augmented Reality does not appear to have been one of the technologies tested in this study; however, the insights and recommendations are valuable and informative for enterprise AR architects.