Using Machine Learning to leverage the power of Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) in its current definition is the overlay of digital information on a real-world view. In practical terms, it is the process of recognising specific physical objects in a device’s camera and superimposing digital content such as video, audio or 3D models.

Visual recognition is one aspect of AR which encompasses image, object, scene and facial recognition. Computer vision technology is used to identify shapes and patterns through a complicated set of mathematical models. These models and processes are all facets of Machine Learning (ML) that drive Artificial Intelligence (AI).

ML is the science of “teaching” the system to look for commonalities and patterns and assessing the probability that a match is found. Effectively, with a set of mathematical models in place, the system is fed a collection of information that represents a positive match. For instance, if we want to teach the system to identify a cat, we provide thousands of images of cats and let the system process and find common visual patterns across all the images.

This is known as deep learning where the outcome is a system that can recognise and track almost any pattern. With this capability, we can inject a virtual projection into the area that is being recognised and tracked to deliver, what is called, an augmented reality experience.

The power of AI and ML is being able to make decisions based on the real-world scenario. Let’s consider its application in a security surveillance system. A machine that has been trained to detect weapons, such as knives and guns, can be used to observe CCTV security vision. In real-time, it can look for patterns in the scene that resemble its definition of a weapon. If identified, a notification alarm could be raised for someone to act.

Pattern recognition is not limited to visual only. Auditory, gesture and other data patterns can also be “taught” using ML. Continuing with our security surveillance example, a trained machine could be used to listen to sounds in the environment and detect patterns of shouting or offensive language being used.

The challenges

One of the hurdles in training a machine to identify patterns is sourcing enough material that is deemed a “positive match”. In these cases, systems are designed with feedback loops to allow machines to “learn by experience”. If for some reason the machine fails to detect what it is supposed to, it can be taught what was missing in the initial dataset and be trained to act on it the next time it occurs. All this is supported by an aspect of ML called “convolutional neural networks”. Different nodes that perform specific mathematical functions on the dataset are interconnected to achieve the specified outcome.

The opportunities

In a time when vast amounts of information is available at our fingertips, being able to recognise the world around us and decipher what is relevant will become critical. Whether at work, at home or in a social setting, successful real-world augmentation will rely on AI and ML observing and recognising our environment and adapting information to match our situation.

As hardware technology improves and wearable, handsfree devices become a reality, ML and AR will become an integral, yet ambient part of our lives.

Simon Galanakis is a passionate advocate of effective AR experiences and is currently Appearition’s Platform Architect and Senior Solution Designer.

International Mining & Machinery Exhibition 2018

Appearition’s Ravi and Aswin attended the International Mining & Machinery Exhibition (IMME), a 4-day International exhibition organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Kolkata at Ecopark, Rajarghat. The is the 14th edition organized by CII. The exhibition had 400+ exhibitors from all over the world, especially, Australia, China, Canada, Czech Republic, UK, the USA among others. Mining in India contributes to about 2% of India’s GDP and about 10% – 11% of the industrial sector GDP [1]. A variety of stalls were set up ranging from machinery, spares and software companies.

Key topics of discussion:

Internet of Things which is becoming a part of our daily life has also set its foothold in the mining sector with many innovative solutions and systems providing a testimonial for the same. IoT is being used in a drilling system that uses IoT to share and analyse the condition of bearings and other parts.

Immersive Technology like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are helping workers in this high-risk field with their simulation and virtual training capabilities. In machinery training instead of the need to train on real machines where mistakes might cost the business millions, a simulator would be much more cost efficient. Also, in the field of safety training, a VR based solution gives workers a chance to train in the virtual world as opposed to the real world, where the risk of injury is higher. A VR solution due to its inherent nature has more involvement from the users and is better suited.

The Mining industry is all set to embrace more frontier technology. This would continue to grow in the next couple of years with more corporates and verticals adopting the latest in terms of technology and solution.

Mining network:

The conference was the place to be to network with people creating the latest gadgets, developing the software and working with disruptive technology in the mining sector. It gave us a chance to experience the latest technology and understand the future of work in that sector.

 

[1] As of 2010

Gartner Symposium Australia – 2018

Appearition’s Rod Smith attended the 2018 Gartner Symposium in Gold Coast. With over 2000 attendees across the 2-day event, Rod shares his experience from the trip and on the emerging technologies that Gartner spoke about:

The Continuous Next

This year’s Symposium revolved around the theme ‘Continuous Next.’ Gartner sees the future in terms of continuous change at an increasing pace. A key vision for the future was the “Digital Twin” concept where organisation processes could be twinned for training and operational purposes. This could be of significant impact in augmented reality terms, particularly in asset digital twins. One of the more contentious statements was the expectation that companies should move from a project focus to a product focus. Culture also featured strongly, and the change management strategy required for implementing any new technology.

Keynote Address:

One of the highlights of the symposium was a presentation by Garry Kasparov (pictured below), the former world chess champion, and author. He provided a fascinating tale of his competition with the IBM Deep Blue chess program, which he claimed became a turning point in the artificial intelligence (AI) roadmap for chess. Kasparov centred his talk about AI and what it means to us, humans.

Disruptive technologies

The symposium had a big focus on disruptive technologies such as blockchain, digital twins, Augmented Reality (AR). Particularly, AR is at the point of starting on “the slope of enlightenment” section of the Gartner hype cycle. Digital twins was widely spoken about and heavily emphasised. This creates significant opportunities for AR companies which can model equipment assets and model processes. The payback for companies will be better utilisation of resources, efficiency and cost savings.

Gartner’s ITXPO

The ITXPO was held at the convention centre and accompanied the symposium. The XPO witnessed the likes of several large groups of vendors. Several tech enthusiasts celebrated the spirit of Halloween as the event drew close:

 

For all those in the business of technology, Gartner Symposium 2018 was the place to be!

IAMAI – Augmented and Virtual Reality committee

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) recently formed an industrial expert committee to develop and promote immersive technologies – Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) ecosystem in India.

‘The committee was formed to identify opportunities and challenges to help India’s AR/VR ecosystem, in partnership with government, industry and startups,’ says Kalyan Biswas, Associate Vice President, IAMAI.

This initiative will help to promote the fast-growing technology to drive economic growth, jobs and skill development in the country.

The committee is chaired by Namrita Mahindro, Senior General Manager, – Digital Transformation, Mahindra Group and co-chaired by Satyajeet Singh, Head –Strategic Product Partnership, India & South Asia, Facebook.

Committee’s agenda:

While speaking to Appearition about the committee’s plans, Biswas said they aim to:

–    nurture India’s AR/VR technology and talent ecosystem, particularly, skill development

–    engage with business, industry and government to evangelise acceptance of the technology

–    help drive training workshops, to familiarise potential users with technology and build use cases in key sectors

‘Currently, we have formed two sub-groups of 4-5 members each. The sub-groups would help in planning and guide IAMAI in executing the plan as agreed by the committee, building Ecosystem and help in the interaction with Government,’ explains Biswas.

The Indian AR-VR market is set to grow at a compound annual rate of 76% in the next five years. [1] With immersive technologies redefining the future of the workplace, such a committee with an agenda to drive the adoption is a welcome move.

Source: [1] https://bit.ly/2OZdrTj

 

 

 

Register your Interest for our Unity SDK Beta Test Program

Appearition invites users to join closed beta testing group for Enterprise SDK – here’s how to sign up.

Appearition is looking to recruit about 50 people to a closed, private group of beta testers to help in early builds of software for the EMS Enterprise Unity SDK. Eligible users would need to, be active in the Unity developer community, be willing to give feedback, and also sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Closed Beta program is an opportunity for us to listen to your feedback and refine or revise our product strategy based on that. It also helps us to find major bugs at an early stage and release more stable Open Beta and official builds.

The Closed Beta Group is the closest group to Appearition staff. Given the privacy aspect, you are required to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) with Appearition to be part of this program.

Register your interest here. Simply fill out the information required.

Augmented Reality for Retail and Marketing

Retail and Marketing sectors have reached a tipping point in 2018 for innovation with new technologies. That’s where this Info graphic can help – all the key data relating to Immersive Technologies in the Retail and Marketing sectors.

 

All about Blockchain

Blockchain technology allows digital information to be distributed but not copied. In simple terms, it is a growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography. Outside of the widely known ‘Bitcoin’ application, Blockchain as a technology has lots to offer for several industries. Appearition’s Developers Simon Galanakis and Sujanth Sebamalaithasan talk about the technology, its application and the future:

1. Blockchain – as a technology seems scalable. What are the sectors that can adapt to it?

Blockchain as a technology is useful when you keep an open and transparent record and history of data. This is so that people can look at the history and trust it if it is true. No one can manipulate it if that is the case.

Blockchain will benefit sectors that require large data set to be stored with high-level of encryption. Some industries include:

–    Banking and Finance

–    Medical sectors – patients medical records

–    Industries using Copyrighted content or sectors like film or software where patent plays an important role.

–    Law firms where client details need to be stored securely

–    Property ownership and management

2. Blockchain and AR – do you see a plausible future? If so, how?

I think there is a future (for Blockchain and AR). There is a number of areas that we need explore where Blockchain could work with AR. If an AR is treated as an object or a commodity, for example, an AR experience in a bottle, where you scan for a promotional video, if you consider that to be one package/entity, something that people want to share or retain ownership and for that to be genuine, you can employ Blockchain. You can record the particular details (who created it, when it was created etc) that make up an AR experience in that Blockchain.

Let’s call this block an AR commodity. One might want to maintain a record or a history of that commodity and when it is being used.

3. AR and Blockchain – is it possible to keep the AR data/commodity, private/free from misuse?

Yes, yes, it is possible. Conceptually it is a block – and if the block used to play a video (An AR experience) and suddenly shows only a picture – It is a change in experience. If someone tries to tamper with the history of this block saying it was originally designed to showcase a picture – that’s a situation when Blockchain can come into the picture and vouch for what was originally planned.

I don’t think Blockchain is very useful when used privately. It will gain value when people start creating Augmented Reality (AR) products and begin to own them, share them and want to track its usage.

For instance, people create and upload videos on YouTube, which only YouTube can control and view the analytics and claim its accuracy. Whereas, if you want to de-centralise a control – it can be done by allowing every AR experience to be posted into the Blockchain record. This is potentially a way in which we can track it. The concept of Blockchain application needs to be considered here. Its power is very useful when you want to ensure that records are not tampered with; especially publicly visible record, that is available to people.

An expanding ledger

The idea of the blockchain is that it is an ever-growing ledger. Conceptually, think of it as one big file, which continues to grow as blocks. The data is out into the blocks. In the example of Bitcoins, it is close to 160 gigabytes now. It is how big the blockchain is. As more and more transactions occur, it is going to have problems as it continues to grow. So, I think it is going to become a technological issue that needs to be solved.  There are some solutions being proposed currently. Like, Hard Fork – decentralised ledgers, Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) – digitised version of cryptocurrency rather than the crypto version.

Right now, the scalability for Blockchain with all the services around the world (for bitcoins), when a new node/server wants to come on board, they must download 160 gigabytes of data for the first code. Then on, it is going to work on just partial data received all over the internet. The rise of the internet and email system in the 90s, people could only send a few emails and can only have a few contacts or a few hundred megabytes in their inbox. Whereas these days, some people offer unlimited storage for these data. I think technology role is evolving to keep up the demands of Blockchain. And again, it needs to be seen as not really the kind of one-stop solution kind of tool. It is just another tool in the tool world that can potentially solve a particular business problem.

4. What are some things one need to be cautious about when using this technology?

If an individual or an organisation tries to build their own Blockchain, then they need to create their own node/service. Because the idea of the system or its integrity is the fact that you have more than 51% of all nodes of the network belonging to a particular chain or block is valid or correct. If you’re constructing your own blockchain, you need to manage your own nodes. Again, that kind of defeats the purpose of de-centralised responsibility. You’ll still own the blockchain, you’ll still manage the nodes, so it kind of defeats the purpose. I’d question whether it is useful. When many people acknowledge this technology and start to use this in their day to day life then Blockchain technology will become more stable.

5. Business IPO and Blockchain – Can you please elaborate?

Business IPO means initial public offerings, companies who need capital to expand their business, usually do the IPO and distribute the company’s shares to public likewise in Cryptocurrency environment, companies who involved in this technology use ICO (initial coin offerings) methods to collect their capital before starting the project. The public who backed these projects will get cryptocurrencies and some useful benefits if that project successfully implemented

6. How do you see Blockchain aiding Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation mainly drives by four main factors, Internet of Things, Big data, Business platform models and collaborations between businesses. Using blockchain technology we can easily improve the above factors, blockchain is increasing the trust between the unknown participants which can give a more collaborative environment to businesses, it helps to secure data and protect from anonymous access. Securing information is the major challenge in the digital world so Blockchain will take a major role in the digital transformation in the near future.

The changing face of a workplace

Disruptive technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are redefining the workplace. Several jobs’ skill sets are constantly evolving, and several others’ scope has been widening.

Appearition and its team of researchers are always working towards solving tomorrow’s problems, thereby enabling others’ success. One such area of our research includes a project on drawing on immersive games experiences to develop tools for workplace support in the digital economy.

It is a collaborative research project between Appearition Pty Ltd and the Swinburne University of Technology. The project combines AR and AI informed by decades of game design, to develop a support platform for future modes of collaboration, workplace learning, and decision making.

‘Appearition is very committed to this research partnership with Swinburne University. Research and Development is one of the three main arms of our company. All our platforms and services have been developed after years of rigorous research and testing. We are also constantly working towards upgrading them to fit evolving technology and people needs,’ shares Vivek Aiyer, Founder, CEO, Appearition.

A transdisciplinary research team from Games and Interactivity, Immersive Experiences, and Data Visualisation are working with us, and the Swinburne Smart Cities Research Institute, to develop a prototype platform for supporting future workplace models in urban environments rich in IoT technologies.

The why

As technologies reshape our workplace, it will require a new understanding of work to support these changes. Ventures such as Airtasker, Uber, and Airbnb are challenging traditional workplace models. They are predicated on fast-paced real-time interactions between employees, often geographically remote from each other. Although relatively simple, the core concepts of these new business structures can be applied within enterprises and between enterprise and external clients. Network connectivity, rapid exchange of data, and mobile display technologies are some of the well-established characteristics of smart city environments in which this work takes place. New platforms are needed to support these new work models, because they require employees to share and respond to real-time data quickly and collaboratively, in an improvisational construct.

The How

Online multiplayer and location-based AR games provide a readymade platform for investigating how to achieve new interactions between employees. Multiplayer games host complex ecosystems of thousands of players with distinctive attributes and experience levels. Location-based AR games embed information within urban environments ensuring data is ready-to-hand. ‘Our project aims to develop a prototype platform to support the needs of workers in the digital economy using proven methods from these game design platforms. Collaborative task attainment, group formation, decision support, environmental information overlays, role management, inventory and setting of goals are key features that the prototype system will benefit from in drawing on game design to enable smart citizens to respond to change in the workplace,’ explains John McCormick, Lecturer in Interactive Media, Swinburne University.

Games are familiar to a large percentage of next-generation work seekers and therefore do not pose a huge cultural shift. The innovation in this project is to integrate widely understood methods for player organisation and interaction with a new approach to integrating AR and AI. These technologies are changing the nature of smart cities to work beyond data collection and IoT networks to explore how these can be made tangible and relatable to those living and working in urban environments.

AR does this through the real-time integration of data with the user’s environment and context. AI filters and connects the rich data of the IoT environments of smart cities to manage interactions between players, non-player characters, and the urban environment. While integrating AI and AR is not in itself new, our project will address how the relationships between users within a company can be supported and facilitated within this type of platform. However, these technologies can be disruptive in the workplace. Drawing upon game design methodologies this project will generate a new approach to the management of dynamic, timely information displayed fluently in the workspace.

Watch this space to know more on Appearition’s research projects. Get in touch with us to know more on using AR for your business!

Magnify World 2018

It was a lot of fun being a part of Magnify World 2018. Team Appearition put up an exclusive stall and Mark Hillebrand, our Head of Professional Services, was part of a panel discussion on Education and Training.

We had several visitors at our stall, excited to know more about the disruptive technology – Augmented Reality.

A snapshot of our two days at Magnify World:

Pics 1, 2, 3, 4: Setup

Table – check
Demo – check
Screens – check
Gadgets- check
Scenes from our setup mode

Simon and Dhaya moments before the event started

Simon demonstrating the use of AR glasses

Busy stall day! Exciting voices who experienced AR for the first time, innovators who explored the use of AR for their business

Vivek (Brendan in the background) in conversation with stall visitors


Mark Hillebrand during his panel discussion

And, that’s a wrap! Look who spoke about our work:

 

 

 

IOT: How a connected world will look like

Internet of Things (IoT) – the technology that enables devices to connect with each other, providing a seamless inter-device communication. The technology helps in data management, informed decision making, track and manage the data. IoT provides businesses with operational efficiency and workforce productivity.

 

The explosion of smart devices will add ‘a ginormous’ amount of data. For instance, a sensor on a single Boeing aircraft jet engine can generate about 20 terabytes of data per hour. So what will happen several billion devices start generating several zettabytes of data? Gartner predicts that over 20 billion devices will be connected by 2020.

 

 

About 65% of the enterprises are set to adopt IoT by 2020. This shift would mean that more than 10% of new IoT products from traditional industries will be headed by the Chief Innovation Officer (CIO).

 

By 2020, Gartner estimates internet-connected things will outnumber humans 4-to-1, creating new dynamics for marketing, sales and customer service.

So, what else can we expect in the near future?

 

Source: Gartner, Intel

Education: Then versus Now

Technology has evolved so much in the past few years that computers and have tablets have virtually replaced the traditional teaching aids.

Take a look at how it has changed in the past few years:

How VR will drive supply chain

Virtual Reality is one of the fastest growing disruptive technologies. At the cusp of industry 4.0, enterprises are keenly using such innovative tech to provide enhanced solutions. With the arrival of consumer-friendly and affordable headsets or virtual reality glasses, VR tech has gone mainstream.

Supply chain management is one of the many fields that VR is revolutionising. Excerpts from the recent Deloitte report on ‘Utilizing virtual reality to drive supply chain innovation’:

VR can improve supply chain management in four main areas:

  1. product and process design
  2. data and process visualisation
  3. employee collaboration
  4. experience-based learning

VR is of big interest to companies with complex product development process and a need to globalise their collaboration. This is mainly because VR for enterprises simplifies or enhances an existing process rather than introduce a whole process. Furthermore, hardware and software capabilities in the tech have improved greatly, leading to easier adoption.

Deloitte recommends enterprises to begin with small pilots to test and validate applications that could have immediate benefit and scalability.

For example, VR can be used to superimpose important information directly onto the windshield. Without glancing at a handheld device, drivers can see alternate routes, blocked roads and traffic snags. Information about the load can be seen without the need to stop, climb into the back of the truck, and see what’s going on. For example, a driver carrying a temperature controlled load can see if there’s an issue with the thermostat and if the temperature is approaching a predetermined danger zone.

‘As VR applications continue to expand and prices continuously decrease, the VR market alone could reach up to $48.5 billion by 2025.’

Primary potential benefits of VR

A primary value driver for organizations is VR’s interactive visualization capability. Companies are starting to leverage the technology within their design organizations to enhance CAD functionality and engineer employee engagement. The VR-enhanced designs allow for visualization capabilities previously unavailable; this allows product engineers, architects, and designers to rapidly shift through multiple designs and evaluate them on the spot. Automotive OEMs and large construction firms are partnering with design software companies and VR hardware manufacturers to create these immersive experiences.

 

 

 

Future of enterprise management

Virtual reality can drive true transformation in supply chain and operations. However, like every major change, it requires a strategic approach to begin deploying within a company. Leaders need to understand that shifting toward a completely new, virtual environment mandates a shift in culture toward innovation, openness, and collaboration.

The blog is a rewritten excerpt from Deloitte.

Images courtesy: Deloitte

 

Shaping future minds

Disruptive technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are changing the face of enterprises as we know it. Appearition is constantly working towards educating young minds in these technologies and making them future ready.

Appearition along with our partners Real Time Learning and Epson was a part of a day-long session to educate kids between the ages 9 and 12 and provide an overview to their parents on Extended Reality (XR) (which covers the spectrum from AR to VR) – what is it all about and how one can use it.

The event was organised by ANZ bank for the children of staff over the school holidays in support of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) workshops.

Sujanth and Brendan of Appearition provided guidance through the day, supporting hands-on learning with AR and VR.

A learning curve

Epson’s Dwayne Williams brought Moverio AR headsets to enable kids to experience AR. Several kids and their parents learnt in detail about the basics of the technology, its application and benefits.

‘Students experienced Virtual Reality and were amazed to see virtual structures outside of the gadget. We believe that when students get acquainted with these technologies, it helps provide a better understanding of potential careers when they grow up,’ says Brendan Ridge, Solutions Specialist, Appearition.

This is one of the many EdTech outreach programmes that Appearition has been championing in the recent times. We hope to inspire a lot more in the days to come.

Enterprise Reality

Appearition in association with TiE, Chennai will host an Exclusive seminar on ‘Enterprise Reality’

We have Mark Sage, Executive Director, AREA and Rod Smith, Platform Sales, Appearition talking on AR trends and Change Management.

The session will be moderated by Vivek Aiyer, Founder-CEO, Appearition.

Come, join us for an evening of discussion on AR and Change Management!

Send us an email to register for the event – info@appearition.com 

 

Digital Transformation: Who, why, when and how

Splunk Inc, global leaders in database and analytics recently conducted an all-day event called SplunkLive at the Palladium, Crown, Melbourne. Over 700 companies from three streams – namely Security, IT Operations and industry-specific attended.

Appearition is constantly working towards enabling our customers to stay ahead in their game with our robust and agile solutions. As Splunk’s innovation partner, we were part of the networking conference that explored the implementations of Splunk solutions around Application Monitoring and Security.

Digital Transformation

At the cusp of Digital Transformation, enterprises are looking to adopt technologies that enhance their functioning, without disrupting existing workflow. ‘The customer journey session was pretty insightful to know from an enterprise perspective. Such sessions provide the pulse of what customers are looking for,’ says Albert Kalaja of Appearition. ‘Time and again, such events enable us to better provide bespoke solutions to our customers.’

By 2020 the new information generated per second for every human being will approximate amount to 1.7 megabytes. In other words, over 44 zettabytes of data will exist. Database management and automation of analytics seem to be need of the hour for enterprises.

With its ability to convert complex logs to visual graphs and reports resulting simplified analysis, reporting and troubleshooting, Splunk will be one of the tools that companies should have in their armoury to function successfully in the digital era.