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OGC, Layar, Metaio and Wikitude invite Mobile World Congress attendees to AR Interoperability Demo

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Monday, February 10th 2014


The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) invites all mobile developers, location data providers, network operators and LBS service users to an excitingseminar and reception that will be held from 0900 to 1500 on 25 February 2014 in Barcelona, Spain at the Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya (ICC)during the Mobile World Congress. The Mobile World Congress, to be held 24-27 February 2014 in Barcelona, is the world's largest exhibition, conference and networking event for mobile operators, cell phone and device manufacturers, and providers of mobile software.

In addition to presentations by OGC representatives about location standards that maximize the value of mobile devices' location awareness, the OGC will host the world’s first Augmented Reality (AR) Browser Interoperability Demonstration. Layar, Metaio and Wikitude, the largest AR platform providers, have cooperated to make it easy for AR content to be shared across their technology platforms. This cooperation has resulted in the development of three unreleased but fully functioning browsers from the three companies. The demonstration of AR content being used interchangeably by these browsers will take place after lunch on Tuesday Feb 25 at the ICC during the OGC mobile seminar.

The common AR interchange format that enables this AR interoperability is based on the candidate OGC ARML 2.0 Encoding Standard that Martin Lechner of Wikitude introduced into the OGC, with the goal to provide an interchange format for Augmented Reality. After it has been successfully tested in the interoperability experiment, ARML 2.0 will be reviewed by the OGC membership to become an adopted OGC standard within the next couple of months.

The companies demonstrating AR interoperability believe tomorrow's AR market will be much more open, and thus much larger, than today's AR market. Today, a user equipped with an AR-ready device, including sensors and appropriate output/display support, must download a proprietary application to experience content published using an AR experience authoring platform. A subset of these applications are referred to as "AR browsers."

AR browser interoperability benefits at least these four stakeholder groups: 

  • Content Publishers will be able to offer AR experiences with their content to larger potential audiences (e.g., all users of AR browsers that support interoperability) with equal or lower effort (costs) of preparing/producing AR browser-based experiences with their digital assets,
  • Developers of AR experiences will be able to choose the AR experience authoring environment they prefer or is best suited to a project without sacrificing the "basic" experience they can offer their clients' target audiences and also be able to invest in innovation (specialize) in preparation of highly engaging and interactive experiences,
  • Attracted by larger total audience size and lower barrier to entry, there will be more content publishers willing to invest in AR and greater number of developers learning/perfecting AR experience design, generating higher revenues for AR authoring and content management system providers, and
  • End users will be able to discover and select AR experiences from a larger catalog while also choosing the AR browser they prefer.

On January 21, 2014 the AR Browser Interoperability Architecture document 1.2 was agreed upon by the AR Browser publishers participating in this process. Implementations of the architecture began in the second phase of the process – AR Browser Interoperability Proof of Concept – and this interoperability will be demonstrated publicly for the first time on 25 February.

Attendees will have an opportunity to meet the developers and discuss the opportunities that arise from standards-based integration of AR systems.

Martin Lechner, CTO, Wikitude, explained that, “The interoperability experiment is a breakthrough for mobile AR. For the very first time, content published in one of the platforms becomes available on any participating mobile AR platform, allowing content creators to follow the "write once, run anywhere" approach. To us, the experiment is only a first step. We plan to cooperate in the future and allow more and more features of the AR Browsers to become available in an interoperable way as we move down the interoperability path.”

Peter Meier, CTO, Metaio, said, “Developers want to create relevant content for their customers and need reliable software and platforms to present it. The interoperability AR demo is a great opportunity to focus on the content. Ultimately the consumer will decide on his or her preferred browser, and this way we can allow stellar content to always be accessible."

Dirk Groten, CTO, Layar, added, "AR is a new medium that will change the way we look at the physical world, linking it to the digital world. In order for this medium to become ubiquitous and easy to use, it is necessary to create standards so that content publishers can rely on their creations being viewed by the largest possible group of end users, regardless of the application they use; like the web that can be browsed with multiple browsers thanks to the W3C standards. With this joint proof of concept, our companies have taken a first important step towards achieving this goal." 

George Percival, Chief Engineer, OGC, said, "This coordination of the leading AR companies and the resulting demonstration is a watershed event in the progress of open AR to become a new medium. From a geospatial perspective this marks the continued progress toward merging maps with the real world for the benefit of all."

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an international consortium of more than 470 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC standards support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. OGC standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at http://www.opengeospatial.org.

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