Augmented Reality Use Cases (That’s Not Games)

Image Source: Gov Loop

Augment Reality (AR) has received a lot of attention with the success of Pokemon Go. AR aims to extract animations and place them into real-world environments. It has essentially merged the gap between reality and computer generated simulations by manipulating what the user experiences via sight, sound, smell and touch. In brief, AR integrates animations into your reality so the general setting looks the same but with some few added details. Although AR is related to Virtual Reality (VR), the two technologies are not synonymous. VR produces computer generated simulations of an environment that users can experience by wearing a helmet or gloves with built-in sensors. Read my previous blog on VR for more insight. AR on the other hand allows users to experience the technology simply by glancing into the screen of an Android, iPhone or other mobile device such as a tablet. AR is altering the world as we know it or at least changing the way people experience the world. The Pokémon explosion is probably the most well-known platform that has utilized AR for gaming. It may sound silly to some, but the game is highly addictive. To understand specific reasons behind this obsession, read my previous blog to learn why Pokémon Go has become so successful. To gain a better understanding of how app developers have taken advantage of this innovative technology, we will look at a few providers who have successfully used AR for non-gaming purposes.

Health and Education with AR: Anatomy 4D

This app is a cloud-based, interactive examining simulation resource for academic uses. It offers users with online access to anatomy data while analyzing detailed bone structures and organ systems. This can be done by downloading specialized research templates or by enabling structure projection and layer blending. Anatomy 4D allows project structures to synch with skin to analyze coordination and position. Users can also adequately balance the layers to reveal discrete anatomic implications. You can also hover over objects or images to reveal detailed information via label view. It is these perspectives that produce enhanced learning retention by granting students an in-depth look at any part of the body they are studying. This also is useful for medical instructors who can organize image and structure curriculums along with managing lessons and tests.

Image Source: mzstatic

Shopping with AR: Pair

This app enables users to place animated images of furniture into their space so they can perfectly visualize how it would look in real life.  Pair’s tag line is “The New Way to Try Before you Buy with Augmented Reality.” Indeed the app grants prospects an easier method to experience the end result of their interior design project. For example, let’s say you just purchased your first home and the space is completely empty. You would be able to walk room to room while viewing how you would want it to look through your mobile device. You’d be able to put furniture, pictures and other items in designated areas of the space, swap them out, switch them around etc. Cool right? Still, Pair has a much more expansive purpose than simply furniture and can enhance scientific, educational and commercial projects by giving spectators a 3D demonstration of what a particular vision would look like. I was able to see Pair in action during 500 Startups Batch 18 Demo Day and it’s pretty impressive.

Graphic Source: Google Plus

Mechanics and Construction with AR: AMA XpertEye

This month, AMA XpertEye will supply workers of the Keolis Commuter Services (KCS) in Massachusetts with AR smart glasses to improve communication and boost efficiency on their railway transportation system. These specialized glasses stream the video being recorded tethered to a mobile device. The remote supervisor monitors the recording over a laptop. From there, both parties can “exchange written messages and take screenshots of the video, annotate the images, and send them to each other.” Ultimately, their goal is to speed up delays caused from train repairs and other technical difficulties that may get them off track. Additionally, Keolis is considering the technology for training purposes so newcomers can literally see through the eyes of their seasoned field workers.


Image Source: AMA XpertEye

Sports and Play with AR: RideOn Vision

This cutting edge technology created by Heads up Display is seen with their RideOn Ski Goggles. These one of a kind specs allow users to access heightened assistance while skiing or snowboarding the slopes. Map navigation systems can guide users easily through the rough and diverse terrain better than ever before. You can also communicate with other riders, see their whereabouts and even text them hands-free. In addition, the goggles allow riders to capture their surroundings and share them online for others to see. The company is also developing games that can be played directly through these exclusive lenses. And of course, users can jam to their own personalized soundtrack as they ride, jump, flip and recover from a wipe out.  Although the technology is geared for the snow, it’s useful for motorcyclists, ATV riders and other similar vehicles.


Image Source: Pintrest

As technology progresses, it will be interesting to see what other AR use cases are developed.

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

The Internet of Things…What is that exactly?

The Internet of Things or IoT is a topic that’s been buzzing in Silicon Valley Startups. So what is it? …and what’s the big deal? For those of you don’t know, read on (those of you that are well versed in this, may skip this post).

What is the Internet of Things?

Most of us first connected to the Internet with a computer. As time progressed, the next device most of us have connected to Internet was a cell phone. Now, we have figured out that we can connect almost anything to the Internet. Televisions, game consoles, refrigerators, parking meters, and so on. What can be connected is limited only by the imagination and this is described as the “Internet of Things.” (Kevin Ashton is given credit for coining the term in his 2009 article, “The Internet of Things”).

What’s the Big Deal?

The Internet of Things can potentially provide us with the ability to monitor and control devices on a large scale where in the past; it’s been a manual process. A good example is a smart thermostat. With a smart thermostat, you can get the output and control remotely from a computer or smart phone. Big deal. You can get up from the couch, see what the temperature is and change it by hand. But imagine if you are a facility manager and you have to manage 100 buildings. This then becomes quite a chore. With a smart thermostat system, you can get the temperature readings and control all the thermostats from a web interface without getting out of your chair. But let’s take this example a little further. Let’s say that all the smart thermostats are providing various bits of data and that data is collected in the cloud. From this data, analytics can be provided and you can then determine the optimal temperature settings based on usage and utilities cost and thereby save money.

Some other places that IoT can be seen are with wearables, connected cars, manufacturing and agriculture. John Chambers, the CEO of Cisco, recently predicted that by 2020, there will be 50 Billion connected devices which will create $19 Trillion in economic benefit and value.

So, hopefully, you’ve learned enough from this post to comment intelligently when the subject comes up at the next Silicon Valley cocktail party or it’s piqued your attention for you to do more research. In either case, I hope you can see that the IoT will be the next big thing.



iPhone 6 and Apple Pay and Apple Watch, Oh My!

If you missed Apple’s live stream for their big announcement, consider yourself lucky. The live stream was a disaster on many levels. I hope in the future, Apple replaces or supplements the live stream with a television broadcast. As a public service, here’s the Cliff Notes which covers their three major announcements:

  1. The unveiling of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: As expected, it’s bigger. The iPhone 6 is bigger than the iPhone 5 family (Diagonal measurement of 4.0 vs. 4.7 inches). The iPhone 6 plus comes in at a whopping 5.5 inches providing them with their first phablet model. It comes with all the standard stuff: faster processor, higher resolution, etc. yawn. Unfortunately, they only marginally made the battery life longer compared to the iPhone 5s. For you Apple Fan Boys out there, it’s not too late to stand in line at the Apple Store; the iPhone 6 goes on sale on September 19.
  2. I think the most significant announcement was that of Apple Pay. Apple Pay will allow users to store their credit cards on their iPhone 6 by taking a picture of it. There’s a secure storage feature and it uses a finger print for authentication. The iPhone 6 will support NFC which will allow for the phone to communicate with a credit card reader. The devil’s in the details so, I’m curious to find out more when it rolls out in October.
  3. Apple finally unveiled the long awaited iWatch…I mean Apple Watch. I give Apple credit, it’s beautiful. On the back of the watch there are four sensors that are able to monitor the user’s pulse so it can be used as a health monitoring wearable. Apple Watch is expected to be released in “Early 2015.” As such, I will reserve judgment on it until I can see it first-hand. It’s been over a decade since I last wore a watch (mainly because I used my cell phone for telling the time). I’m not sure if the coolness of Apple Watch will convince me to start wearing one again.

So despite Apple’s live stream issues, they had a lot of cool things to tout today. In the next few months when Apple releases their new products, it will be interesting to see what new use cases are developed.


Go You Chicken Fat Go: The Trend of Wearables and Health Apps

Apple debuted their new TV Ad, Strength, during the NBA Finals which was accompanied by the odd song, Chicken Fat (personally, I find this ad very disappointing compared to their last ad, Powerful, which I actually love and usually will stop and watch).

This ad illustrates a couple of trends that I’m seeing; health apps and wearables. Apple announced their Health app at WWDC. Essentially, their health app is able to collect data from other health apps and acts as a dashboard. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, Google is expected to announce Google Fit which sounds pretty much identical to Apple’s Health App.

From a personal perspective, Apptology has received several request for quotes to develop health apps. The buzz in the Silicon Valley start-up community is wearables. Validating this trend,our hardware partner, Ansync has recently completed three Blue Tooth LE projects that involved wearables.

Well, it’s time for me to go and work off my chicken fat. Hmmm…is there an app for that?