How AR and IoT Together Enable the Smart and Interactive Environment?

by February 1, 2020


Recently, augmented reality (AR) and the Internet of Things (IoT) have received significant attention as key enabling technologies for making spaces smarter and more interactive. Where AR is a type of interactive medium that provides a view of the real world in augmented space by spatially registering useful computer-generated information and helps people to understand the world and amplifies their intelligence for solving problems and carrying out actual tasks, IoT refers to a network of physical devices and everyday objects embedded with minimal computing elements for sensing, collecting, communicating, and even interacting with the objects themselves. The connected infrastructure provides the basis for smart environments through a collective big data analysis and context-based services.

Accompanying the advent of wireless networking and the Internet of Things, traditional augmented reality (AR) systems to visualize virtual 3D models of the real world are evolving into smart and interactive AR related to the context of things for physical objects. The integration of AR and IoT in a complementary way, making AR scalable to cover objects everywhere with an acceptable level of performance and interacting with Internet of Things in a more intuitive manner. It has been identified that there are three key components for realizing such a synergistic integration: distributed and object-centric data management (including for AR services); IoT object-guided tracking; and seamless interaction and content interoperability.

According to a report, AR and Internet of Things might have different objectives with seemingly unrelated concepts, but they can, in fact, be complementary to each other.

First, AR offers a convenient and intuitive way for users to visualize and interact with Internet of Things objects and their associated data. Principally, a spatially registered and visually augmented interface offers a direct and semi-tangible interface and is, thus, easy to comprehend and highly useful, particularly for everyday and/or anywhere usage.

The AR client, to wear a mobile or helmet-typed device, is capable of instantly connecting to an (IoT) product, receive relevant object specific data, control information and associated AR datasets for the given targeted service, then understand the state (or how to operate) with current datasets from the IoT product and interact with the physical object using direct control by natural interaction, for example.

For AR, IoT as an infrastructure for “everywhere” service offers an efficient way to make “scalable” to the same degree by handling the necessary data management (for example, tracking data and content) in a distributed and object-centric fashion.

Thus, any IoT product can be accessed on the spot locally with the seamless manner, and the scalable interface allowed for location-based geographical and augmented reality services using AR clients. Additionally, context-aware AR services are made possible by using and tapping into the more refined environment information made available by the IoT infrastructure.

It is expected that smart Internet of Things (IoT) users will operate and interact with physical objects that can receive augmented reality (AR) datasets anytime and anywhere and can enrich their visual perception. Various AR approaches (e.g., AR tracking, interactivity) will potentially enhance the usability of physical IoT objects in the user’s surrounding area and provide the classification and taxonomy for IoT enabled AR.