Introduction to Augmented World Expo (AWE)
For the second time in a row, Premo attended the Augmented World Expo (AWE) at the Santa Clara Convention Center. The event was held from the 29th to 31st of May 2019. Read more about AWE in AWE in the news and AWE Blog.
In the heart of Silicon Valley, AWE is seen as the most relevant trade show for the virtual, augmented and mixed reality industry worldwide. This year, AWE brought together more than 250 world-class exhibitors and 300 recognized speakers, as well as 7,000 visitors on a 100,000 sqm exhibition area.
Some of the leading companies, such as Qualcomm, Sony or Toshiba, have released their latest innovations. The event offered also a cycle of conferences presented by top experts, among them Terry Schussler (Director of Immersive Technology at Deutsche Telekom), Erkut Ekinci (Head of information Technologies at Hugo Boss), and Jan Pflüger (AR-VR Coordinator at Audi); some topics covered were “AR: Job Substitute or Job Source?”, “Spatial Computing in the Age of Light”, and “Virtual Reality as the New Innovation Engine.”
The event included several conference rooms and a large exhibition hall divided in eight main areas:
- Main sponsors: technology enabling companies, like Qualcomm, Lenovo, Nreal, Unity, HTC, Sony, Varjo.
- Eyewear: VR and AR glasses.
- Enterprise: products focused on enterprise applications.
- Tools: devices for industrial, medical, military purposes.
- Interaction: haptic suits, gloves.
- Gaming & Entertainment: leisure applications and devices.
- Playground: a large room of the venue for gaming.
- Startups: part of the hall was devoted to startup projects.
The annual Auggie Awards took place during the event. These lie among the most recognized AR & VR industry awards in the world. The 10th edition of the Auggies have exhibited again the very best in augmented and virtual reality. As a result of public voting, winners were presented with the Auggie Award live on stage at the Auggie Awards Ceremony.
Trends, Applications and Markets
The trade show offered a wide range of VR/AR/MR technology products. The new trend is specialization towards products targeted to businesses instead of consumers. These were the main applications offered during the event:
- Repair (RealWear, Scope AR…): operating instructions and remote assistance to connect experts with remote workers anytime and anywhere.
- Warehouses and inventories (Worklink, Skylight…): tracking and monitoring to improve processes and avoid problems by empowering every hands-on worker, providing them the data, information and tools required to work more efficiently.
- Training (Space 1, Zinnotech…): a new dimension of mixed reality that provides innovative, safe and cooperative training sessions.
- Design (Letin AR, VisionLib…): structured visualization of objects and spaces. Users can view easily the virtual image from the micro display and the image from the real world.
- Military: mixed reality to memorize scenarios, remote assistance to soldiers, add information to operations, etc.
- Medical (Retina Technologies, Looxid Labs…): specially focused on surgery. However, mixed reality is also used in ophthalmological tests, emotion recognition systems in neuroscience, etc.
- Cultural: AR allows the information of any displayed object or space to be enhanced; it is specially used for art works in museums and monuments in cities.
- Gaming & entertainment (Tactical Haptics, Kluge Interactive…): wide range of video games which include VR glasses and other handheld devices that simulate weapons, swords and other objects. In addition to classic ludic games, there was also some kind of serious games, which are becoming very popular.
The Finnish company Varjo has introduced the new XR-1, an extremely high-resolution headset. XR-1 is a mixed reality developer device for engineers, researchers and designers who are pioneering a new reality. With photorealistic quality, ultra-low latency and integrated eye tracking, XR-1 seamlessly merges virtual content with the real world.
8thWall, awarded as the best developer tool in the Auggies 2019, has launched a full markerless SDK for web-based AR called 8th Wall Web. This AR workspace creates feature-rich AR experiences supported by every mobile device. Some of the features are instantly uploaded static or animated 3D models to view in AR, or to recognize and track uploaded image targets, bringing static content to life.
The world´s first desktop holographic display, developed by Looking Glass Factory, has been awarded this year in the category of best input/output hardware. The Looking Glass is a unique combination of light field and volumetric display technologies within a single 3D display system updated at up to 60 fps. It generates 45 distinct views of a 3D scene so multiple people standing around a Looking Glass – no headgear required – can see different parts of the scene in the real world.
Source: Auggies Awe 2019
Other companies are working on electromagnetism as a motion tracking system based on Premo components. This technology allows 6D tracking and full presence and is perfect for recording every user´s move. Sixense is using EM-MT for healthcare, training and entertainment solutions, providing more in-depth data analytics to improve overall user experience and drive results.
Firstly, and despite certain data variations, most analysts point out that the AR/VR market is rocketing. Several projections expect the market to grow tenfold during the 3 next years to reach $215 billion.
Moreover, it seems that the short-term future of the mixed reality market is focused on Enterprise VR/AR. Although videogames still hold the lion’s share, healthcare, engineering, real estate or defense will experience a higher growth rate.
Many expositors offered a wide range of solutions for the enterprise market, such as training for employees, inventory management, assembly or repair processes, remote assistance, product design, and data analysis. The adoption of VR/AR among enterprises is driven by the expected productivity increase, improved results, and higher efficiency due to the greater immersion levels provided by VR/AR applications when compared to conventional solutions.
Software is also evolving, with the purpose of supporting the maximum number of available technologies. The most promising companies develop platforms that support several devices across multiple operating systems. Some companies, who were only software developers, are now creating their own hardware to support this software and even, other different technologies.
There is also a great interest in terms of 3D objects and spaces. Vendors such as VanGogh Imaging and GeoCV offer solutions for all needs with their precise 3D designs. It is increasingly common among companies to integrate these new technologies to enhance the illusion of depth perception giving a live experience to the users.
Despite the fast pace evolution of the industry, there is still room for development. Users are more demanding and look for more realistic experiences. Under the spotlight is the improvement of tracking systems, and hardware and software design that would enable the immersive user experience we have been waiting for.
The next AWE Expo will take place Munich, Germany on the 17th and 18th of October.