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!

Get the Inside Story on AR Implementation at our July 11 Webinar

Many enterprises are experimenting with AR pilot projects – and learning a great deal from the effort. But that’s only the first step in the learning process. A whole new set of questions and challenges emerge when you take an AR project from stand-alone pilot to real-life enterprise implementation.

What common obstacles arise? What new opportunities present themselves? How does an AR solution integrate with other enterprise systems? We’ll be exploring these and other questions on July 11th (10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern/6 pm UK/7 pm CET) when we host our next free AREA webinar, Overcoming the Challenges of Implementing AR.

The session will feature three AREA members and top experts in Enterprise AR: Geof Wheelwright, Director of Marketing Communications at Atheer; Peter Orban, Chief Commercial Officer at Augmate; and David Shackleton, Sales Director at Theorem Solutions.

You’ll learn about:

  • The business and technical challenges of implementing new interaction paradigms
  • How AR solutions can interact with collaboration systems and mobile device management solutions
  • Security best practices for AR solutions
  • And more!

If you’re looking ahead to an Enterprise AR implementation, you won’t want to miss this one. Join us on Tuesday, July 11th at 10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern/6 pm UK/7 pm CET. Click here to register 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.

‘Tis the season. The event season.

April onward sees a real upward spike in the number of conferences and events around the world as exhibitors and attendees alike don their conference gear and get ready to join others doing the same. This is a great way to connect with others from the same industry, keep abreast of the latest developments in AR and explore new and exciting opportunities.

Here at The AREA we’ve got a full house of upcoming events which we’re promoting over the next few months and something to suit everyone’s tastes. We’re busier than ever before with events focused on AR, VR, IoT and Mixed Reality. And, there’s a destination to suit everyone’s budget and busy travel schedules from Europe-focused events in London, Amsterdam, Geneva and Spain, as well as events across the US, India and Japan.

In the latter part of April we have the AR/VR/MR Investment Summit in London which has invited investors and AR/VR/MR start-ups from all over the world followed by the Augmented Reality for Leading-Edge Utilities (ARLU) event in California. Then we’re into May, which begins with the 5th AR/VR Innovate conference in Dublin, at which The AREA will have a presence on the showroom floor.

The 9th AWE in Santa Clara from 30 May – 1 June, is one of the biggest AR and VR focused events with an enormous network of first-class speakers and 300+ exhibitors from across the globe spread over a vast expo floor. The AREA has planned a strong presence at this event chairing the work / enterprise speaker tracks . Our Executive Director, Mark Sage, will be one of the presenters of the Auggie Awards this year, a prestigious award recognising excellence in AR and VR.  More information to follow about AREA member meet up opportunities and events. To find out more about this event take a look here.

Moving into June we have AR & VR World at the London Excel from 12-14 June. This year The AREA has arranged a large Pavilion area where a few of our members will showcase their products and services together. This is a great way to bring down the cost for individual companies, create a rich sense of community and really enhance a strong brand presence for all. The AREA also has involvement in various speaking and panel sessions. Don’t miss out! Get registered here today.

In addition, there are a number of events where we’ve negotiated special member-only discounts such as the first ever IATA Aviation Virtual & Augmented Reality Summit, the IoT Tech Expo in Amsterdam, the Future Tech Expo over in Dallas, EWTS in Austin and the International Conference on Mechatronics and Robotics in Helsinki. As you can see, there’s a lot happening with something for everyone.

If you think we’ve missed something, do get in touch and we’ll work to get the event up on our website. Or, if you have any comments, queries or suggestions please reach out.



Alex Gibson Interviews AREA’s Mark Sage at AWE Europe 2017 in Munich, Germany

In this podcast, Alex Gibson of 103.2 Dublin City fm reports from AWE Europe held in Munich, Germany on 19 & 20 October 2017. This is Europe’s largest gathering of Augmented and Virtual Reality professionals and among those interviewed are Mark Sage from The AREA (Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance) [at 15:35 into the show] and Ryan Pamplin, VP Evangalist from MetaVision who were showcasing their Meta 2 glasses.

IoT Solutions World Congress 2017

Information about the IoT Solutions World Congress (Barcelona, 03 – 05 October 2017).  Calls for papers closes. on April 15 2017.  This event is the leading international event that links the Internet of Things with industry. Its congress will focus on IoT solutions for industries and use cases in six dedicated areas: Manufacturing, Energy & Utilities, Connected Transport, Healthcare, Buildings & Infrastructure, and Open Industry (Retail, Agriculture, Mining, Hospitality and other industries).

The event will also offer multiple networking opportunities and activities, such as our IoT Solutions Awards Gala, a Hackathon, side events organized by event partners, etc.

Whether you are an enterprise end user, an organization looking for sales leads, a researcher, an association member, or a developer, the IoT Solutions World Congress offers a high return on investment.

The IoTSWC is organized by Fira de Barcelona in partnership with the Industrial Internet Consortium, the Industrial IoT organization founded by AT&T, Cisco, General Electric, IBM, and Intel to bring together organizations and technology with the goal of accelerating the growth, adoption, and widespread use of industrial IoT.

More details about the event can be found at: http://www.iotsworldcongress.com/




Augmented World Expo Europe 2016: A Review

The inaugural Augmented World Expo (AWE) Europe is now history. The big conference and exhibition that for seven years has served as a showcase for all the emerging realities in the AR community in the US is now an international affair, having held its second Asian edition in China last month, followed by AWE Europe October 18 – 19.


The event took place at the Berlin Congress Centre, in the heart of the city in Alexanderplatz. The beautiful venue was a fantastic match for the exhibition with its two floors and the large convention hall that hosted two full days of speakers. The main stage saw a number of inspiring talks by names that have made history in both AR and VR like Bruce Sterling. The speakers’ agenda also included an impressive developers track; many providers took advantage of the event to create tutorials and demonstrations of their authoring technologies. One couldn’t help noticing the growing impact that Unity3D is having as authoring tool for AR experiences. In fact, many of the major software vendors showcased their Unity3D plugins to the developers attending.


The exhibition hall featured more than 45 companies showcasing software solutions, optics, devices and applications. Interestingly, a large percentage of the exhibiting companies were those that focus their business models around enterprise solutions and industry-related technologies. This strengthens the belief that enterprise AR is a major driver for the success of the technology. A side hall hosted a number of startup companies promoting their innovative ideas (one of which, PuttView, won the “Best in Show” award for its golf practice solution).

Several European AREA members were represented:

  • Bosch showcased a number of solutions for AR-enabled automotive maintenance and servicing at one the largest booths in the show.
  • Catchoom brought in their image recognition and AR platforms demonstrating use cases for both enterprise and marketing use cases .
  • Joinpad centered their demos around industrial use cases, focusing especially on smart glasses solutions for MRO scenarios of complex equipment, developed using their Arrakis SDK for AR applications authoring.


The audience attending the exhibition was a mix of tech enthusiasts and industrial customers interested in the benefits of AR and VR for their businesses. Although mostly European, many ticket holders travelled from Canada and the US to participate.


All in all, AWE Europe felt like a promising first edition for the AR-focused conference that has set trends for AR development in the States. Even compared to the US edition in June, many demos had evolved to a more mature stage, especially with the proliferation of innovative devices like the Hololens, showing the rapidly development of the market. While AWE Europe is somewhat smaller than its American counterpart, we at the AREA are convinced that it is here to stay and will become a “must go” event for those interested in the potential of this technology.

The AWE organizing committee will share many of the talks on the main stage and the developers track on the AWE YouTube Channel.

ARLU—the Right Event at the Right Time

EPRI is proud to collaborate with the AREA on the first ever Augmented Reality in Leading-Edge Utilities (ARLU) this July, where we will lead the industry to discern a disruptive technology and anticipate and solve issues through collaborative effort. In fact, ours is the only industry we know of where Augmented Reality as a disruptive innovation is being openly discussed. This isn’t going unnoticed.  Other industries are pointing at utilities and saying “Hey, look what they’re doing.”  Utilities are rarely perceived as having an active role in exciting new trends.

Three in One

The ARLU event is, in fact, three events in one.  First, it’s a meeting where EPRI and utilities industry representatives will present their Augmented Reality research and projects to vendors developing applications for the utility industry.  Vendors will see where utilities are placing emphasis in their development efforts and learn about the issues they‘re encountering.  Requirements such as size, weight and battery life of wearable technologies will be explored through the presentations, and will impart to participants a deeper understanding of the issues facing introduction of Augmented Reality in utilities.

Next, vendors will present their latest technologies for immediate feedback from industry experts. Not all technologies fit every utility situation and discussions around fit for purpose of presented technologies will be lively and informative. Finally, a workshop on gaps in existing standards will bring multiple perspectives to the problems of creating safe, comfortable and interoperable AR experiences in the utility space. 

Thought Leaders

Having subject matter experts together in one room is the one of the key objectives of this meeting. As we’ve been preparing the ARLU event, we’ve invited some of the brightest people in the utilities and utilities software industry to mix with thought leaders in Augmented Reality. We expect that the impact will last much longer than the two days in July because new ideas will emerge in the weeks and months that follow as the participants who meet in Charlotte continue to develop relationships.

We expect to capture some of the ideas these thought leaders generate and to share the outcomes of discussions with the broader community so that many others can also benefit.

Time is Right

We feel this is the right time for such a conference. Today, judging a technology for what it can do right now is the wrong way to look at it.  Advances occur almost daily and it’s better to first define what’s needed to build a future state of the technology. That’s where Augmented Reality is today. Practical applications are just now being introduced but an explosion of functionality is coming. By the time the average person notices the ubiquity of Augmented Reality, many of the issues we are going to discuss in Charlotte will already have been settled.

Wearable technologies with Augmented Reality are at a stage where real utility applications are possible. At the same time, shifting demographics at utilities are bringing in younger, less experienced workers—as older, more practiced workers are leaving. There needs to be an orchestrated “changing of the guard” where institutional knowledge, gained by years of hard work and experience, is transferred to a younger, more tech-savvy generation. The technologies presented at ARLU will deliver remote expertise and put information at the fingertips of crews composed of less seasoned individuals.

The wise man says it’s better to act on a lightning flash than wait to hear the thunder. That’s why we planned this event in 2015 and look forward to seeing many of the readers of this blog at the first ARLU event.

Events are Beginning to Focus on Enterprise Augmented Reality

Look out! Your travel schedule is already overloaded but there are new events where the topic of enterprise Augmented Reality is front and center. There are also events that in previous years have not treated the topic at all but are now sitting up and paying attention. How do you choose where to put your resources?

Tough Choices

In the long run, Augmented Reality will be part of all industries. In the AREA, our mandate is to make sure that this prediction will come true and the projects of our member organizations, regardless of their industry, are successful and bear fruit.

Customers—the buyers and those who will deploy Augmented Reality in their workflows—are already “in” their industry. They know their suppliers and customers. They also have some use cases where they’re thinking AR will be valuable.

Providers of technologies to be deployed in industrial and enterprise environments, on the other hand, are scattered. Under the guise of trying to be responsive, many companies offering AR-enabling systems fail to become experts in the problems and opportunities of a specific industry.

Automotive. Aviation. Construction. Engineering. Aerospace. Defense. Energy. Utilities. AR introduction and adoption won’t happen at the same speed in all industries. Automotive is probably ahead of all the others, but will it hold that lead? For how long?

Which industries are going to embrace AR in a really serious way soonest?


If you’re a provider of AR-enabling systems and have not already developed a sales force affiliated with an industry or just a few related industries, it’s time to do the soul searching you’ve been putting off. This doesn’t mean just looking at the total size of the industry or flipping through your contacts on LinkedIn to find someone that’s prepared to introduce you to the five top CTOs in an industry.


Take the time and in the first half of 2015, invest your resources to better understand industries and domains that you already know as well as those out of your comfort zone. One way to do this is to attend conferences to which an AR topic has recently added to the agenda. For example, the AREA’s calendar of events includes the World Air Traffic Management Congress in Madrid, the Bosch ConnectedWorld conference in Berlin and the CeBIT exhibition in Hannover. 

We’re going to meet people who are gathering in these places. They’ve probably got some major questions about what to expect, some fuzzy areas between AR and VR, and they’re looking for experts. If you are there as well, they may very well find you.

Some companies with a new product to showcase, like AREA member DAQRI, are organizing their own event and inviting their prospects to visit them. This strategy has real benefits because the host can control the message and those to whom the latest developments are revealed. On the other hand, it is unlikely to reach people who aren’t already on your list of prospects. The vendor-hosted event also has the drawback that the conversation isn’t focused on an industry’s pressing needs and greatest opportunities. Finally, those prospects you’ve gathered also sense that they are not sampling the full range of options. By attending one vendor’s event, like Metaio’s InsideAR or DAQRI 4D Expo, customers know that they are only getting what their host wants to put on the menu. 


Balancing Act

So, before you rush out to the airport to yet another conference or tradeshow, consider the year as a whole and develop a balanced approach: a mixture of horizontal “AR-specific” events and those domain- or industry-specific events. Also consider mixing small events with very big ones. They will yield different types of relationships and your business is likely to benefit from having both.