Highlights of 2018 at The AREA

Of the coming year, Mark Sage, Executive Director said:

“As we head into 2019 and we look forward to continued growth in the ecosystem. More enterprises are researching, developing pilots and /or moving towards commercialising AR technology and gaining great ROI.  Thank you to all our members, partners and associates for being a part of this exciting journey and development during 2018.  I look forward to working with you to see what the new year will bring for AR in the enterprise.”

We would like to wish all our followers, readers, associates, colleagues, staff, leaders and members a very Happy New Year.

AREA Completes Safety and Human Factors Research Project

The AREA Research Committee recently distributed to members two deliverables produced as part of the organization’s third research project, Assessing Safety and Human Factors of AR in the Workplace. This groundbreaking, member-exclusive research project produced the first framework for assessing and managing safety and human factors risks when introducing AR in the workplace. In addition to a tool to support decision-making, members also received an in-depth report of findings based on primary research.

Through the knowledge of its members and detailed interviews and research conducted with the wider enterprise AR ecosystem, the AREA’s reusable framework will promote a consistent approach to assessing safety and human factors of AR solutions.

This research was undertaken by AREA member Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and managed by AREA sponsor member Christine Perey of PEREY Research and Consulting.

“For the first time, AREA members have a framework that will enable them to consider important requirements from the perspectives of key project roles and at each stage of the AR project,” said Perey. “The framework and supporting report are invaluable tools, built on the experience and knowledge gained by members and the larger community through many AR projects.”

“Through a combination of desk research and interviews with experts in the enterprise AR field, we captured rich and comprehensive insights into best practices and potential issues to overcome in these previously under-researched areas,” noted Amina Naqvi of the MTC, the author of the framework and research paper.

“This is another great example of the value the AREA brings to its members and the wider enterprise AR ecosystem,” said Mark Sage, Executive Director of the AREA. “By working together and learning from our fellow members, we’ve been able to produce research results that bring real benefits, and help to reduce the barriers to adoption for AR projects.”

The AREA has prepared a free Executive Summary of the Best Practice Report and a case study for non-members, “Assessing AR for Safety and Usability in Manufacturing” to help companies in the AR ecosystem to adopt or design safer and more usable wearable AR solutions.

If you’d like access to these resources please follow the links below hereto download them.

AREA Launches Research into AR Manufacturing Barriers

Hot on the heels of delivering its third research project, the AREA has launched a new project, defined and voted for by the AREA members, targeting barriers to AR adoption in manufacturing.

While many manufacturers have implemented AR trials, proofs of concept, and tests, relatively few have rolled out fully industrialized solutions throughout their organizations. The goal of the fourth AREA research project is to identify issues and possible strategies to overcome these barriers.

This is the first AREA research project that focuses on a single industry in which there are many use cases that can improve performance, productivity and safety, and reduce risks and downtime. The project will have both quantitative and qualitative components and the deliverables will include an AREA member-exclusive report and a framework for identification of common barriers and the best mitigation strategies. In addition, there will be a case study illustrating the use of the framework that will be published for the AR community.

Dr. Philipp Rauschnabel of the xReality Lab at Universität der Bundeswehr in Munich and his team will be leading this research. Enterprises interested in providing input to the project may complete this form or send an email to [email protected].

VR/AR Summit at TechXLR8 Asia: An AREA Recap

On September 18 to 20, I had the opportunity to attend the VR/AR Summit at the TechXLR8 event at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore. Produced in collaboration with the XR Alliance and the VR AR Association, the VR/AR Summit spanned the value chain of solutions driving enterprise adoption of AR and VR across Asia.

For me, the highlights of the AR/VR Summit were the presentations by early adopters of AR and VR. We heard talks on implementations in Healthcare, Education, Entertainment, and Retail/eCommerce. Presenters included representatives from: Japanese telco KDDI; the National Institute of Education; Deloitte; the Singapore Radiological Society; payment provider Wirecard; and a few small Enterprise AR providers.

These speakers shared their expertise, use cases, and useful tips for a successful AR/VR implementation. The overall tone was guarded optimism. While they generally agreed that AR/VR offers great promise, many presenters stressed the need to carefully calibrate customers’ expectations in the near term.

I took advantage of the opportunity to introduce participants to the AREA – who we are and how we are working with our members and the ecosystem to advance the successful implementation of enterprise AR. It was a promising first step in developing the AREA ecosystem in Singapore and Asia-Pacific.

AREA Research Committee Issues Call for Proposals to Study AR in Manufacturing

The AREA is issuing a request for proposals for a funded research project that will develop a methodology for identification of, and strategies for, overcoming barriers to AR adoption in manufacturing environments.

Organizations with relevant expertise in the research topic may respond to the invitation on or before 12 PM Eastern Daylight Time on August 21st.

The goals of the AREA-directed research project are:

  • To document all potential barriers to AR adoption in manufacturing and develop a step-by-step methodology for their identification and subsequent implementation of strategies (proven and proposed) that can be used to overcome barriers. The AREA members will then be able to follow the methodology when working with their internal and external manufacturing management and/or operator stakeholders, or to assist their customers and partners in the deployment of AR in production environments.
  • To increase understanding of barriers and resolution strategies that can reduce the time, cost and risks for AR adoption in manufacturing.

The research project will produce:

  • An AREA-member exclusive report that describes a methodology for identification of and strategies for overcoming barriers to AR adoption in manufacturing environments.
  • A tool or framework implemented in the form of an annotated spreadsheet with instructions on how to fill in fields and with which the user organization will identify common AR adoption barriers.  Based on identified barriers, the tool will suggest strategies for AR introduction managers and stakeholders to follow for the reduction or management of AR adoption barriers.
  • A case study (suitable for public release) illustrating the use of the methodology by AR introduction managers in a fictional (or anonymized) manufacturing organization.

The research methodology should include primary research (i.e., interviews with the owners/managers of AR proof of concept projects in manufacturing industry, surveys, etc.), secondary research (i.e. review of peer-reviewed literature and web-based information) and a broad, system-level view of AR in manufacturing in order to capture organizational and environmental factors as well as suitability of AR for specific manufacturing use cases, and technology acceptance by operators.

All proposals will be evaluated by the AREA research committee chair and research manager on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated knowledge of manufacturing environments and organizations managing manufacturing, and the use of AR for the purpose of improving operational performance of manufacturing systems and organizations.
  • Clear qualifications of the proposing research organization and any partners in the domains of AR, manufacturing management and/or adjacent technologies.
  • Review of prior research reports and process management tools.
  • Feedback of references.

The AREA will provide detailed replies to submitters on or before August 27th. Unless otherwise negotiated in advance, the research project is expected to be completed and finished deliverables produced by October 31st. 

Any questions concerning this project and the AREA Research Committee, please send an email to the Research Committee.

The AREA Research Committee budget for this project is $15,000. Organizations interested in conducting this research for the fixed fee are invited to submit proposals. Full information on the project needs and desired outcomes, including a submission form, can be found here.

Reflections on the H1 2018 AR Event Season

The first half of 2018 was full of AR conferences – and the AREA was a big part of it all. It all kicked off in March with the workshop the AREA co-hosted with DMDII in Chicago. From there, the AR event season was off and running – and with many shows offering discounts for AREA members, it was no surprise to see many AREA members at the AR events held around the world.

As Executive Director of the AREA I’m honored to present at these events, showing the progress made by the industry and the importance of the AREA and its members. Here are my reflections on the events I’ve attended in recent months, including the initiatives the AREA trialed in early 2018.

First, my overall impression. There is a strong and growing interest in enterprise AR. Attendance and enthusiasm are on the rise and enterprises are now discussing real implementations and real benefits. That momentum was reflected at all of the following conferences I attended:

Wearable Technology Show (March, London)

This conference focused on the AR wearable space marked a first for the AREA: our first dedicated workshop focused on enterprise AR. AREA members XMReality, RealWear, and MTC, supported by AREA Researcher Michael Rygol and Welsh Water created an excellent set of experts! The workshop targeted enterprises interested in finding out more about the benefits of AR and seeking to engage with experts to get answers to their questions. The session was well received by all and served as an effective model for our participation at future events.

AR VR Innovate (May, Dublin)

The AREA has supported this event for the past three years. It brings together Ireland’s leading companies, as well as a number of innovative AR and VR companies, government agencies and investors. This year, the AREA sponsored a panel session where Amina Naqvi of AREA member MTC and Gary Smith of Welsh Water provided expert insight into the benefits of AR and how to overcome the challenges of AR implementation.

VRX Europe (May, Amsterdam)

Again the AREA sponsored a panel session delivered with AREA members. This was the first time the AREA had supported this event and it proved to be a good format with plenty of opportunities for discussion. The audience appreciated the panel session and we generated lots of interest in the AREA’s work.

AWE US 2018 (May, Santa Clara)

It’s the biggest AR event of the year and the AREA continues to support it in numerous ways. We helped to develop the work (enterprise) speaker track and provided chairs for the three days (thank you, Christine Perey and Carl Byers, for joining me).

Many AREA members spoke at the event and provided considerable insight to the attendees. It was great to hear Boeing and Lockheed Martin talk about real savings realized from their AR projects. Another common theme was that more and more AR projects are becoming “industrialized” (i.e., moving from trials and pilots to becoming part of an organization’s day-to-day tools).

As per our tradition, the AREA had the honor of kicking off the three days of enterprise speaker tracks with my presentation, “Fulfilling the Potential of AR for Enterprise.”

The AREA also hosted a breakfast briefing for members, interested enterprises and partners. It was great to hear from various board members (Beth Scicchitano, (Newport News Shipbuilding), Christine Perey, (PEREY Research & Consulting) and Marc Schuetz (PTC) about how they are benefiting from the work of the AREA.


IATA Aviation Virtual and Augmented Reality Summit (June, Geneva)

A quick turnaround (less than one day at home) saw me back on a plane to Geneva for the inaugural International Air Transport Association (IATA) VR and AR Summit. Focused on the aviation industry, this event’s attendees included many of the world’s leading airlines. I was pleased to present the work of the AREA to an engaged and enthusiastic audience.

AR & VR World (June, London)

AR & VR World is part of an event called TechXLR8, which includes other technologies (this year they included IoT, 5G, and AI). The AREA also tested a new concept called the AREA Pavilion. Six AREA members – 3D Studio Blomberg, AMRC, Crunchfish, Mira Labs, Theorem Solutions, and XMReality – shared a dedicated AREA space. This helped to reduce costs but also enabled me and other attendees to speak to multiple members and attendees. Angela Lang, who drives AREA Events and Media Partnerships, and I, will continue to develop the Pavilion concept, both for AR events and industry events.

All in all, it was a busy and vibrant AR event season that clearly demonstrated growing enterprise interest in AR. Thanks to all our members who participated and helped to bring the work of the AREA to an eager world!

July 18 AREA Webinar Explores the Reality of Enterprise Augmented Reality

You’ve heard about the “promise” of Enterprise Augmented Reality. You’ve read about exciting pilot deployments. Perhaps you’ve seen reports of significant ROI. As you contemplate your AR future, it’s time to go from “what if?” to “what now?”

Our free webinar on July 18th is designed to help you do just that. Entitled How You Can Benefit from Enterprise Augmented Reality, the session will be led by two experts with real-world Enterprise AR experience: Michael Campbell, PTC’s EVP of Augmented Reality Products; and Beth Scicchitano, the AR lead at Newport News Shipbuilding.

You’ll learn:

  • The real benefits to be gained from Enterprise AR
  • What industries and problems are best suited for AR solutions
  • How AR creates value
  • How to overcome typical challenges
  • How to get your AR strategy off on the right foot

If you’re ready to get real about Enterprise AR, our webinar is ready to show you the way. It’s all happening Tuesday, July 18th at 9 am EDT (6 am PDT/2 pm UK/3 pm CEST). Click here to sign up now!

May 23rd AREA Webinar is All About ROI

The primary reason for – and the ultimate test of – any AR solution is its return on investment (ROI). Yet when large organizations attempt to conduct ROI analyses on emerging technologies like Augmented Reality, they often encounter obstacles and unknown variables.

With its AR ROI Calculator, the AREA has taken the lead in helping enterprises quantify the benefits of AR solutions. On May 23rd, we’re taking the next step by hosting a free webinar, How Does AR Impact Your Organization’s Bottom Line?

AREA members Paul Davies, President of the AREA and Boeing Associate Technical Fellow, and Jay Kim, AREA VP of Provider segment and Upskill Chief Strategy Officer, will share their respective experiences with ROI and discuss how the AREA’s members-only research offers strategic value to their companies.

The AREA research ROI report was prepared by Chris Ambrosio from Strategy Analytics, under contract with the AREA. Mr. Ambrosio will also be on the webinar to explore how to overcome major hurdles when assessing the impacts of AR on a company’s performance and to demonstrate the AREA AR ROI Calculator.

It’s a webinar anyone seeking to pursue AR will not want to miss. Click here to sign up now.

Putting the ‘work’ into ‘AR Workshop’

Deep in the snow of a wintery Chicago, the annual AREA/DMDII workshop was a hotbed of activity!

The sessions attracted around 120 attendees comprising speakers, exhibitors, academics and those representing both commercial AR technology providers and companies using or looking to use AR within their business. Given the rarity of having such a collection of AR practitioners in one place, Glen Oliver (Lockheed Martin) and I wanted to harness this collective brainpower! Together, we represented the AREA Requirements Committee whose remit is to develop a set of industry requirements and use cases to help promote the adoption of AR.

The AREA Requirements Committee strongly believes that in order to benefit the entire ecosystem we need to effectively and impactfully articulate how AR technology can be applied to business problems, what capabilities are needed within AR solutions and, perhaps more importantly, what is the business value of these tools? This will help both vendors and users of AR.

So, with three hours allotted from a precious agenda, how to best use this time? The approach taken was to introduce the importance of developing a linked and connected schema of needs followed by group activities. Here’s what followed:


We began with a summary of the requirements capture, already started at the previous AREA/DMDII workshop. At that session, we captured 96 requirements, split roughly equally between hardware and software. Whilst this was a great start, the outcome resulted in a list of requirements with little context, structure, priority and limited ability to leverage the community to contribute towards them. At the same time, the AREA has collected a number of great use cases which have value to companies wishing to investigate where AR may be applied but the current use cases need more detail to be actionable and linked to derived requirements. More needed to be done!

So, we presented a proposed ‘AREA Schema of Needs, as shown below.

The idea is quite simple. We need to build a hierarchically linked set of needs, in various technology areas, that have bi-directional linkages to the use cases which incorporate the requirements. In turn, the use cases are linked to scenarios which define an end-to-end business process.

These scenarios occur in various settings (including engineering, manufacturing, field service, user operation, etc.) and, ultimately, are relevant in one or more industries (automotive, health care, industrial equipment and other industry verticals).

In order to set the scene, the presenters walked through examples of each of the taxonomy fields. For example, a sample field service scenario was provided as follows:

A field service technician arrives at the site of an industrial generator. They use their portable device to connect to a live data stream of IoT data from the generator to view a set of diagnostics and service history of the generator.

Using the AR device and app they are able to pinpoint the spatial location of the reported error code on the generator. The AR service app suggests a number of procedures to perform. One of the procedures requires a minor disassembly.

The technician is presented with set of step by step instructions, each of which provides an in-context 3D display of the step.

With a subsequent procedure, there is an anomaly which neither the technician nor the app is able to diagnose. The technician makes an interactive call to a remote  subject matter expert who connects into the live session. Following a discussion, the SME annotates visual locations over the shared display, resulting in a successful repair.

The job requires approximately one hour to perform. The device should allow for uninterrupted working during the task.

With the job finished, the technician completes the digital paperwork and marks the job complete (which is duly stored in the on-line service record of the generator).

In this example, the items in blue are links to underlying use cases which need to be supported in order to enable this scenario. Similarly, examples were presented for use cases and requirements needs.

We also introduced the notion of “Levels of Maturity.” This is a useful concept as it enables both users and suppliers of technology solutions to identify roadmap progression, with an eye on future, richer adoption or delivery. Alternatively, not all users of the technology need the most advanced solution now, but they can identify what might make business sense to them in the shorter term.

Group Exercise

With the backdrop complete, we moved into the interactive portion of the session. The audience was split into 17 table groups, each with a mix of people from industrial users, commercial suppliers and academics. The idea was to get a blend of perspectives for the group activity.

Delegates hard at work!

Armed with a set of templates furnished by Glen, the 17 teams were set the following exercise:Delegates hard at work!

  1. Choose your industry and setting
  2. Provide a written definition of the scenario
  3. Highlight the “use case” chunks that form the scenario
  4. Describe at least three of the supporting use cases
  5. Capture some of the derived requirements/needs
  6. Construct a maturity model
  7. BONUS: Describe the value proposition of using AR in this scenario

Whilst each team was given a high-level scenario (e.g. “manufacturing operation” or “design review”), they were free to choose their own, if they wished.

It was great to see the level of discussion taking place across all of the tables! One of our objectives for the exercise was to use the outputs from the team as further content for helping populate a future database. However, the primary point of the exercise was to mix the attendees and have them focused on articulating scenarios, use cases and requirements in a structured way that can also be tied back to business value.

At the end of the session, a spokesperson for each team stood up and summarised the results of their work.


Each team duly handed in their handwritten efforts, which were transcribed into a more usable digital form and are now available to AREA members by following this link below and opening up the transcription of the group’s outputs:

Augmented Reality Functional Requirements

So, what did we learn?

The teams have supplied an impressive amount of ideas which are summarised in the PDF. One unfortunate aspect of this is that we were unable to capture what were clearly detailed and illuminating discussions that were taking place across all of the tables. In some ways, perhaps, the ability to openly discuss these topics was possibly more valuable to the teams than what was written down.

The scenarios discussed included (but were not limited to) the following:

  • Remote design review
  • City building planning
  • Factory floor – optics manufacturing
  • Optimising manufacturing operations
  • Onsite field service task
  • New product training – customer
  • New equipment commissioning
  • Domestic owner repair procedure
  • Assembly assistance
  • Maintenance for new staff
  • Collaborative landing gear inspection
  • ‘Unusual’ field service tasks
  • Construction design change optimisation
  • Multi-stakeholder design review

Additionally, these scenarios were described within a number of industries and settings.

Furthermore, we received some very positive anecdotal feedback from the delegates. One person stated, “This exercise was worth the trip in itself!

One of the aims of the AREA Requirements Committee is to develop an online database to enable community participation in defining these needs and use cases. This exercise was a great incremental step in that journey. We look forward to building out this model for the benefit of the AR ecosystem and encouraging all to participate.


Thanks to the DMDII team for onsite support and to all of the workshop delegates for making this a highly productive exercise.

How AREA Research Projects are Furthering the Adoption of Enterprise AR


With the recent publication of our Measuring AR ROI Calculator and Best Practices Report, we at the AREA are demonstrating our commitment to addressing obstacles that enterprises face when introducing and expanding their AR initiatives.

The report, calculator and case study are the output of the second in an ongoing series of research projects aimed at addressing the critical questions faced by enterprises seeking to launch and expand AR initiatives.

“The ROI report and the detailed case study prepared by Strategy Analytics for the AREA offer the most detailed explanations of the factors that must be considered when preparing a complete ROI analysis on AR and help to pinpoint where impacts will be greatest,” said Christine Perey, PEREY Research & Consulting, and the chair of the AREA Research Committee. “The calculator with instructions is the first tool of its kind and can be used immediately by business planners and AR project managers.”

Selected and funded directly by members, the AREA research projects offer tangible value, not only to enterprises developing their AR strategies, but also AR solution providers and non-commercial members. Member-exclusive research results include:

For more information, please email [email protected].