Mark Sage, Director of Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance (AREA), spoke to us about the Enterprise Augmented Reality market, Digital Transformation trends and more:

With a focus on creating value and ROI for AREA members, Mark Sage’s goal is to develop a robust and active ecosystem for AR. His background includes a strong interest in mobile, AR, VR, and IoT and he is excited to work with enterprises, providers and research organizations to the benefit and growth of the AR within the enterprise.

What does the AREA do?
The AREA – Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance – is the only global, membership-funded non-profit alliance dedicated to help accelerate the adoption of Enterprise Augmented Reality (AR) by supporting the growth of a comprehensive ecosystem. The AREA focuses on four strategic objectives, namely:

1. Thought leadership: They create, collect and curate up-to-date AR technology content, created by neutral thought leaders and experts.
2. Networking: They facilitate an environment for the AR community to connect and share experiences, partnerships and insights related to AR technology.
3. Education: They are looking to close the AR skill(s) gap by supporting education courses and jobs promotion.
4. Reducing barriers to adoption:  They organize committees to focus on adoption issues. including Research, Security, Functional Requirements and Safety.

What’s the AREA focusing on now and where’s it headed to?
The AREA works on creating thought leadership content to help business decision makers understand the benefits of AR. As the ecosystem grows, the AREA is also focusing on breaking down the barriers to adoption in implementing AR enterprise solution.

What’s your take on the AR market from now until 2020?
The Enterprise AR market is in its infancy; more deployment was seen last year. It’ll be interesting to see how many enterprises adopt AR this year. Like I said earlier, I see the AR market heading towards to actual solutions beyond trial and testing.

What are some of the key industries where you think AR will change the game?
Aerospace, Manufacturing, Automotive, maintenance across many verticals, Shipbuilding (design and task walk-throughs), and more. In all these industries, AR will have to first move on from trials to fully commercialised solutions. Once this is achieved, it will change the way we digitise and function. AR will enhance efficiency.

What are some of the factors that’ll aid smooth digital transformation and some that’ll be a barrier?
In a few words, how can organisations work towards it?There are organisations that are still print-heavy and traditional. Others have established a digital stronghold. Enterprises in both the extremes seem to face barriers with digital transformation. The key is to implement these changes step-by-step. Be clear on the problem (use case) you are trying to solve and focus on it. Trying to solve too many problems at once can create confusion.

What are some developments you are expecting in the AR market? (Software and wearable technology) 
I look forward to more clarity on the best use cases. The AREA is playing a huge part in it, helping enterprises decide what’s best for them through its members thought leadership content. Improvement in wearable technology and increased battery life and other key factors that the AREA has outlined in its AR hardware and software requirements will help.

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