Is AR and VR in Commercial Aviation Taking Off?

Which Aviation Groups are Providing AR and VR Solutions?

Celebi Aviation Holding are setting up an aviation academy in Turkey. The Celebi Aviation Academy in Turkey being certified by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Training Validation Program (TVP). Recognising the academy as an official Center of Excellence in Training and Development. Allowing for the student to virtually sit airside, along many Airbus and Boeing planes. Covering various elements of commercial aviation, from pre arrival too post departure inspection. The various scenarios presented give aviation students a safe environment Letting students find solutions to identified faults. Allowing for difficult environments. Such as different environmental conditions, under LVO (low visibility operations) and night time operations. Japan Airlines teaming with Asia’s largest manufacturer Tecknotrov and Quatar Airlines to invest in more autonomous training for pilots and engineers. Expectations for AR and VR in aviation training has always had a strong relation; both recently and throughout previous generations of the technology. So, it comes as no surprise that, with the well respected foundation between the mixed reality space and aviation. The predicted growth rate of the AR and VR aviation markets is expected to be more than $1372 million by the end 2025. It is important to note the practical strides is where AR and VR fit into the expected processes for a workers day to day routine. With solutions for almost every team member involved in the flyers journey. AR offers flight attendants and handlers a paperless workflow, obviously aiding with cross contamination in post pandemic, busy work environment. SATS, the chief ground-handling and in-flight catering service provider at Singapore Changi Airport. Having integrated M300 smart glasses to 600 of their employees. Getting rid of pen and paper methods during luggage handling. Allowing for quick QR scanning, saving a reported 15 minutes for each flight.

What Can Passengers Expect?

Passengers are also become part of this landscape; VR can offer flyers new forms of entertainment during their long journey. Airfrance are partnered with SkyLights. A VR inflight entertainment group working from San Fransico. Together they have created a unique headset for Airbus A340 flights. Skylights boast a massive success rate with passengers using their VR entertainment headsets during flights. With a 90% recommendation rate and 4h average usage time among passengers. Lufthansa are also innovating for their passengers. Creating a 360-degree immersive experience for passengers to watch while travelling. With worldwide prospects for flyers and aviation workers, when flyers return to airports in mass. They could be presented with more AR and VR options than ever. Making the return to the runway a breeze.

Verizon 5G Lab Series: Public Safety

In an emergency, response times and accurate information are key. The typical time available for individuals to escape a growing fire following detection is three minutes. In these three minutes, crews need to determine changing temperatures in flashover conditions, fire behavior, victim location, and assist their crew with virtually zero visibility. While the conditions are different, the importance of time and precision is the same when dispatching first responders for school shootings, car accidents, massive forest fires, and infrastructure collapse from earthquakes, tornadoes, and flash floods.

Never has there been a more important use case for low latency compute and high bandwidth to support our first responders in an emergency.

With real-time location data, AI-driven predictive analytics, heat-mapped augmented reality overlays, drone data, sensor technologies and video analytics, we are now enabling our first responders to act faster and with greater accuracy to save lives.

Sign up here

5 Challenges that Providers of Smart Glasses Must Overcome

In the near future, light, unobtrusive smart glasses will reliably support deskless work and make technicians more efficient in their tasks. The last few years have seen increased investment in smart glasses technology, with a number of high-profile acquisitions and direct investments by large companies in manufacturers and start-ups, but some challenges still remain.

As seen in this this article by Jay Kim of AREA member APX Labs, form factors, capabilities and price are all continually evolving for the better. This post highlights the five challenges that providers face before their smart glasses are widespread in enterprise. Various providers are solving these problems on their own as industry-wide best practices for how to address these challenges have yet to be developed.

Components Are Pushing the Boundaries

Processors for Augmented Reality-enabling tasks are steadily improving, but matching required capabilities for enterprise with optimal form factors is still a challenge. For example, graphics processors must be small, lightweight and highly power efficient in order to be placed within eyewear frames that remain comfortable to wear. Accelerating real world tracking and fluid rendering of virtual objects requires chips like NVIDIA Tegra X1 or Intel m7, which are just now showing up in the latest high-end smart glasses from companies like Atheer and DAQRI. Combined with eye-tracking capabilities, reliable voice and gesture recognition, these computational requirements add up, both in terms of battery consumption and heat production, which need to be properly and efficiently managed.

A high-resolution front-facing camera is necessary for creating Augmented Reality experiences but not all smart glasses have that functionality. Tilting and shaking also present challenges for both AR experience delivery and video conferencing.

Other areas of improvement remain to be made in battery life, similar to what is happening in the smartphone space. New models specifically designed to industrial specifications are coming to market this year but have yet to be extensively tested in real world settings.

Network Security and Bandwidth

Continuously providing Augmented Reality experiences based on cloud-hosted services and content requires uninterrupted bandwidth and coverage wherever employees with AR devices work. Ensuring reliable WiFi availability in cramped areas of a ship’s steel-plated hull, for example, is a daunting challenge, and we are starting to see more and more solutions adopting robust offline functionality and local storage to fill in the gap.

Both devices and networks may require high security standards in sensitive environments to ensure proprietary information is not misplaced. The shortcomings in security are the same as those faced by existing wearables and smart devices in the market today.

Content for Augmented Reality Experiences

As when content was being produced 25 years ago for the brand new World Wide Web, commonly accepted paradigms for the design of AR experiences to be delivered to smart glasses are non-existent. Authors of AR experiences must experiment and develop their own techniques for ensuring usability of user interfaces and safety.

As with the World Wide Web, standards for user interface design and content first require a greater proliferation of Augmented Reality usage on smart glasses, producing a chicken and egg phenomenon: with poor user experiences, usage remains low. With low demand, experimentation with new designs is slow.

Content for use in Augmented Reality experiences for smart glasses, such as images and 3D models, tends to be authored from scratch. Those companies that have made prior investments in CAD authoring tools have an advantage when they can access and convert existing, industrial CAD models into lightweight, polygonised versions for display in smart glasses. Successful authoring of AR content also requires heavily customized authoring toolchains and workflows and a uniform look and feel for displayed content that is emotive, highly relevant and takes into account safety requirements. 2015 saw a proliferation of providers creating smart-glasses-first content and applications to fully leverage the smart glasses platforms.

Some initiatives such as the OASIS Augmented Reality in Information Products technical committee and the IEEE AR Learning Experience Model (ARLEM) have been formed to address such challenges.

Overall User Experience

In addition to user experience for the human-machine interface, other UX factors for smart glasses are still improving. Cables are frequently required to connect a hands-free display to the networking or content processing hub, or to the battery pack. While these form factors solve many problems such as battery life and device weight, they still leave many yearning for an all-in-one device.

How to best interact naturally with the displayed content is something all manufacturers are trying to solve. The most sophisticated smart glasses are doing away with physical controls altogether in favor of voice, head motion, and gesture interaction. Bulkiness and limited field of view are other complaints that were prominent in the early days of smart glasses, but competition in this space has driven manufacturers to improve vastly on both of those. Narrow Field of View (FOV) limits the amount of information that can be displayed to the user, and the best smart glasses models are now delivering immersive display experiences that address those concerns.

Safety, Privacy and Regulations

Smart glasses present a number of new and unresolved safety challenges. Their sheer novelty also means that few regulations specifically targeting them have been developed.

As seen from this presentation by attorney Brian Wassom, although new regulatory regimes for smart glasses are required, none currently exist. Future conversations about the safety of head-mounted displays in environments such as the enterprise and industrial settings still need to take place.

Some challenges such as obstructed peripheral vision, for example, can pose a safety hazard when the wearer is in motion or in an industrial workspace. Adapting the amount and relevance of information displayed to the user is key to making the wearer safer on the job.


As with other types of wearables, smart glasses represent a novel technology whose development and usage are still evolving. Both business and technological challenges are in the process of being addressed so that smart glasses are generally accepted as routine work tools and become more recognized for their productivity-enhancing features.

Despite these challenges, several smart glasses deployments for enterprise use were announced in 2015 and some predict that 2016 will bring many more deployments as companies look to gain an edge on the competition.

What are your key challenges with smart glasses? Is your organization or smart glasses provider addressing any of these challenges already? Share with us your views in comments below.

Here’s why P&G created guidelines for augmented reality equipment (Via Cincinnati Business Courier)

Read the full article…

Caterpillar, Lockheed Martin, P&G Lead Effort to Shape Future of Augmented Reality (Via IndustryWeek)

IndustryWeek highlights the efforts of 65 organizations to help shape the future of augmented reality in the manufacturing sector. The functional guidelines released Tuesday will help companies within the AR ecosystem to develop products and solutions for industrial enterprise users.  

Read the full article…

New Guidelines Point to an Augmented Future (via Computerworld)

Senior Editor for Computerworld, writes about the hardware and software guidelines for using augmented reality (AR) on the manufacturing floor. These guidelines were published Tuesday in a joint effort between UI Labs and the Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance (AREA).  

Read the full article…

 [Photo credit: Turkletom / Flickr]


Themes and Challenges in Enterprise Wearables

Although the Augmented Reality Smart Glass Market is growing there are still challenges – an article by AREA Member BrainXChange, claims devices are still lacking.

Wearables in the workplace are becoming the ‘norm’ with them benefitting business, however, there are still some challenges ahead for this emerging technology.

Devices are not meeting industry regulations and in some fields this could have serious repercussions such as military where the article claims problems include hardware not being reliable, ergonomic, or intrinsically safe.

There are also some limitations when it comes to the working environment itself such as in the Oil and Gas industry. This had been pointed out before by Vincent Higgins of Optech4D, an AREA member organization. The Oil and Gas industry normally involves operations in explosion prone, harsh environments. This means putting infrastructure in place in order to accommodate wearables is extremely difficult.

These disadvantages need to be overcome, so that we can take advantage of wearables in all fields. Many enterprises are still producing wearables that are being put to good use. However these challenges need to be corrected so that widespread adoption by all businesses is possible.

For resources on overcoming barriers to augmented reality adoption, do search our large bank of resources including webinars.

Waveguides in Magic Leap and HoloLens

A recent article by Karl Guttag discusses waveguides, which are optical devices involved in the components in devices such as the Microsoft HoloLens. Light enters the thin piece of glass, projecting a small image on one side of it; using total internal reflection inside the piece of glass, the image exits in a different place.

The article discusses a major disadvantage of waveguides; the light that enters the glass has to be at 45 degrees, then at 45 degrees again when it leaves. This means that the image is often of a worse quality, as not all of the light makes the correct turns. ‘Waveguide glow’, as Karl Guttag calls it, is another issue that can occur, which causes a glow around high contrast objects or text.

The conclusions made by the article are:

  • The waveguide did not significantly decrease the size of the HoloLens
  • Waveguides worsen the image quality compared to simpler combiner designs
  • HoloLens’ use of waveguide restricted them to only using certain display devices that are compatible; they are unable to use OLED or tech which emits a broader spectrum of light
  • Even if the device was smaller, getting more SDKs in developers is important sooner rather than later

Readers can read the full article here.

Increase of AR Applications for the Enterprise

Earlier this week, an article on IoT Agenda focuses on how Augmented Reality technology is being utilized in areas of the enterprise such as maintenance, field service, and marketing.
Significant points mentioned in the article include:

  • AR technology provides essential information to workers that improves productivity, delivers optimal maintenance, and streamlines customer interactions
  • The increase of AR is mostly due to the rise of smartphones, smart sensors, and improved 3D graphics
  • According to Digi-Capital, ARVR revenues is expected to reach $120 billion by 2020, $90 billion of which will come from AR applications
  • A PWC report has claimed that AR is on the increase due to field workers requiring hands-free devices that provide information such as instructions, charts, schematics, lists, etc., which enables them to diagnose problems and repair equipment remotely
  • Currently, the main use of AR applications is in marketing
  • Jay Wright, the president and general manager at Vuforia, is quoted to have said that AR is a valuable selling tool for both industrial and consumer products
  • However, AR applications are also very useful for training and maintenance in the enterprise
  • AR can provide real-time data, instructions, and blueprints on the plant floor; this enables workers to address downtime issues
  • AR devices also allow remote communication between engineers and plant floor workers
  • AR improves efficiency and makes a safer environment for warehouse workers
  • The technology can direct workers to the correct location, and facilitate packing and shipping
  • Lisa Woodley, vice president of experience design at NTT Data, has said that AR can also potentially be used for quality and inspection

2016 – The Year of ARVR for the Enterprise

A recent article on SearchCIO discusses how Augmented and Virtual Reality devices are transforming the workplace and production.
Important points in the article include:

  • Black and Veatch have begun using Microsoft HoloLens to view data on the infrastructure being analysed, and have identified various potential uses for the technology
  • ARVR technology is expected to drive productivity and improve quality to bring significant ROIs to companies
  • In the manufacturing industry, AR tech provides workers with information and instructions that is layered onto the physical workspace, so they device is hands-free
  • Engineering and construction companies also use AR in a similar way; it also enables remote expertise as professionals can remotely guide employees
  • International Data Corp. have predicted that ARVR worldwide revenues will increase by at least $156.8 billion from 2016 to 2020
  • AR is currently more applicable than VR
  • Forrester Research has also predicted that AR tech will become commonplace in the next five years
  • Accenture Digital have designed and built an AR application that allows consumers to choose different colours for a car using a tablet and view it in the physical space before them
  • Ford Motor Co. has been working with ARVR tech since 1999, which it uses to solve ergonomic issues and review engineering and design specs
  • Companies can work with different tech organisations for software and hardware relevant to ARVR applications
  • IT departments still need to develop content to feed into ARVR systems and create integration
  • Black and Veatch found that using mobile version of applications is better in an AR environment because the content is designed for smaller screens
  • As ARVR enterprise tools are merging with other new tech such as artificial intelligence, more specialist skills will be required