Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance

Augmented Reality Research Agenda

What is the AREA’s Enterprise AR Research Agenda?

The AREA’s Enterprise AR Research Agenda is a living resource that focuses the attention of enterprise AR stakeholders on gaps in industry knowledge and obstacles to widespread adoption of AR in industry. The target audiences for this Research Agenda include research organizations, governmental and non-governmental funding organizations and planners who are establishing or updating their research priorities to address enterprise AR ecosystem needs.

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How are the Topics in this Research Agenda Identified?

AREA’s Research Agenda identifies the topics on which research has high potential for impact based on prioritization of gaps in documented research and shared knowledge. Prioritization of gaps is established using data science and the following sources:

  • FindAR – a searchable database of nearly 5300 articles about enterprise AR in ACM and IEEE publication databases since January 2017. AREA members can search for keywords in articles or explore themes in publications about enterprise AR using FindAR. FindAR search results are the titles, abstracts and relevant URL links of full publications, and graphical information about enterprise AR research.
  • Past AREA Research Project candidate topics submitted by AREA members.
  • AREA members’ research interests were gathered while preparing this Research Agenda.
  • Research Agenda Project Team members’ collective expertise.

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What are the Categories of Enterprise AR Research Topics? Research topics are grouped into seven categories:

  • Business – Business Operations and Strategy, Integration with existing business infrastructure, Logistics, Policies.
  • Displays – design, development and use of displays for Augmented Reality experience delivery, including Device Energy Management, Display Technology, Optics, Wearables
  • End Users/UX – Computer Human Interfaces, Human Factors, Human-Computer Interaction, Presence, Users
  • Industries – Twenty industries where studies about the introduction and adoption of Augmented Reality has been published in peer-reviewed literature including Automotive, Aviation and Aerospace, Chemical, Construction, Consumer Products, Cultural Heritage, Education, Emergency Response, Farming and Natural Sciences, Government, Industrial Equipment, Liberal Arts, Manufacturing, Marine, Medical, Metals and Mining, Oil and Gas, Power and Energy, Telecommunications, Transportation, Utilities
  • Standards – business and technical standards to address interoperability and conventions for AR adoption in enterprises or industries
  • Technology – All engineering domains, including software and hardware for Artificial Intelligence, Audio, Computer Vision, Data, Developers, Engineering, Geospatial, Graphics, Input, IoT, Networks, Robotics, Security, Semiconductors, Sensors, Simulation, Video, Web Services
  • Use Cases – for enterprise Augmented Reality including Collaboration, Inspection, Safety, and Quality, Maintenance, Navigation, Smart Cities, Training

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How Can I Explore the Research Agenda and Learn about Potential Research Topics?

A dashboard permits exploration of enterprise AR research topics in this research agenda. As the user selects categories and keywords of interest, the titles of research topics matching the selected parameters appear in the center column. The topic titles presented are ranked in order of similarity between a topic’s descriptive text and prior published research on enterprise AR in the FindAR database.

To access the research topic description, click on the title. The topic’s dedicated page will open in a new browser tab.

If you have any comments or feedback about the operation of this interactive dashboard for exploring the topics, please provide them via an e-mail to Christine Perey, editor of the AREA Enterprise AR Research Agenda.

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What is the Methodology by which the Research Gaps were Identified?

Building a holistic and unbiased landscape of enterprise AR research activities to date is a key challenge for researchers seeking to identify novel research topics that will be valuable to the enterprise AR ecosystem in the future. On the one hand, trends in commercial research and development are difficult to assess with minimal bias because companies refrain from publishing on their latest developments in order to build offerings that will increase their competitive advantage.

On the other hand, academic efforts are much easier to track since AR research outcomes and technology developments are reported through academic venues, such as peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. This research agenda begins with the current research landscape for industrial AR formed exclusively on the basis of research published after January 2017 and including June 2021 in the peer-reviewed literature. Standards, patents, books, and engineering dissertations are not included.

The AREA Research Agenda leverages Engineering Village, a well-known technical document search tool. Engineering Village covers “high-quality, relevant and cross-disciplinary content, enabling engineers and researchers to perform thorough and effective literature reviews, analyze the research landscape, and solve problems.”

If “augmented reality” appears in any metadata field,( e.g., abstract, keywords, and title), the records of metadata, including but not limited to a DOI, abstract, set of keywords, publication year, and venue, related to each returned publication, is used. The figure below illustrates the article and research gap identification processes followed in preparation of this research agenda.

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How do AREA Members Benefit from Having the Enterprise AR Research Agenda Published?

When research to identify solutions that address enterprise AR challenges has not been published or commercialized, obstacles remain unaddressed and inhibit the growth of the enterprise AR industry.

Some AREA customer segment members invest their company’s resources to address their specific AR challenges. However, developing custom solutions to address specific challenges may not be the best approach: it may exceed the internal expertise or budgets, or require an ongoing commitment that is not in the company’s core competencies. In these cases, enterprises must choose to:

  • Outsource custom research on specific topics to third parties (e.g., engineering firms),
  • Rely on the suppliers of commercial AR solutions to address the challenges for all their customers, or
  • Look for “seeds” of future solutions (with potentially low technology readiness) from academic centers, private research institutes or projects conducted by public/private partnerships.

A combination of these approaches is often used to reduce the risk of relying on any one strategy.

When more understudied research topics receive attention and researchers access funding for their projects, and when the research results or findings are published in reputable sources or commercialized, the growth of the enterprise AR industry will accelerate.

Secondary benefits of drawing attention to the challenges facing AREA members include:

  • Further research on increasing the technology maturity and readiness of basic research findings may be funded,
  • Research results with high relevance to AREA members will be taken up more easily and rapidly by Technology Transfer programs, and
  • New methodologies for studying topics of interest to AREA members will be developed and may be applied to address future enterprise AR adoption obstacles.

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Who will Fund Future Research Projects on the Topics Identified in the Research Agenda?

The AREA’s annual research budget is insufficient to permit the organization to fund research that will partially or fully address the challenges identified in this research agenda.

The goal of publishing the research agenda as a resource for the entire AR ecosystem is to attract the attention and support of the following target audiences to fund research of interest that has not, to date, been prioritized:

  • Public agencies and groups funding research to increase regional, national or local competitiveness,
  • Private investors or venture capitalists, and
  • Corporations and commercial entities of any size that seek competitive advantages in enterprise AR.

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How Often is the Research Agenda Updated?

The AREA Enterprise AR Research Agenda is a living resource that can be updated incrementally as some research topics are found to be sufficiently addressed or new topics are identified. Approximately every six months, the FindAR database of publications on enterprise AR topics will have new entries from Engineering Village added. Then, the quantitative analysis that forms the basis for the identification of the industry’s knowledge gaps can be updated. In addition to adding new research topics, updates may include modifications of the research agenda categories, groups and topics.

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