We at Infosys are seeing that one of the most promising areas of application of mobile AR is navigation and travel based applications - this area is seeing an increasing adoption by customers. This growth is being triggered by an optimum combination of smart phone hardware and software, which is now available at an affordable price for tech savvy consumers. Especially during travel, people are looking at ways to quickly obtain specific information regarding directions, food and drink, places to see, reviews, entertainment, ATMs etc. Using mobile AR, by pointing their smart phones at a particular direction, travelers can view the relevant details overlaid on the live camera video stream and obtain information instantly. Further, buildings, streets, restaurants etc. can be immediately identified. Though maps are helpful to obtain directions, they are not as intuitive or user friendly as overlaid information. It is like the difference of someone pointing out to a place or direction while describing it verses explaining the same using a map. Some examples of mobile AR travel applications are Wikitude World Browser, Lonely Planet AR Travel Guides and Trip Advisor Virtual Tour (for iPad). Apart from these, there are applications available to assist navigating to a specified destination such as Wikitude Drive and TapNav for use in cars/vehicle. There is an interesting car safety application called iOnRoad, which when the smart phone is attached to the vehicle windscreen uses the live camera feed to detect distance from other vehicles, lane departures etc. and provides real time alerts accordingly.
For the enterprise as well as educational institutions, one of the promising applications of mobile AR technology is campus tours. This could be a boon for new joinees and visitors to the campus, who can simply point their smart phones in any direction to get details of buildings, cafeterias and other facilities. Further, when there is an event the mobile AR application can be used to display the event schedules, venues, speakers and much more. At Infosys we have developed a campus tour solution and have enabled it for some of our campuses. Here is a sample screen shot:
This application can be extended for manufacturing units where factory buildings and equipment can be identified as well as their status displayed using mobile AR, which can help staff on the field. At this point, it seems that mobile AR is coming of age and this is the right time for firms to invest in this area.