“Want to use Augmented Reality via the smartphone or via AR glasses? Where is Augmented Reality going and where should we invest in? ”
Regularly we get asked these questions. At BlindGuide we closely follow the technical developments of AR glasses such as the Hololens, Glass and Magic-Leap. The innovation of the AR glasses continues to advance and new applications are added every day. Why do we at BlindGuide still make the choice to develop and roll out our Augmented Reality AR app for Smartphone and Tablet?
Lack of information
The reason for our choice to develop on smartphone and tablet stems from the mission we have set ourselves to know:
Prevent excavation damage
If we look at the causes of excavation damage, we often have to look for it due to the lack of correct information at the construction site. Despite the fact that KLIC became mandatory from 2008, it appears time and again that the information in the KLIC report is different or incomplete. We have also found that a large number of earthmoving contractors still print and leave the KLIC in the shack. While you actually want to make sure that they have the information available in the pit.
If you want to improve this, you will have to get started to lower the threshold and be able to offer more information. So you should be able to easily provide the man or woman with the boots in the clay with the correct information. In 2019, there are 2 important things that make us panic if we would forget them when we walk out the door in the morning. That is in the first place our car and house keys and in a good 2nd place forgetting our mobile. Today we do everything with our smartphone and given the number of apps that are launched every day, this only gets more.
No less than 93% of Dutch people are in possession of a smartphone (figures from the end of 2018). This means that the Netherlands has the highest smartphone penetration of all the countries surveyed worldwide, according to research by Deloitte into the use of mobile devices.
iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android are together responsible for a market share of 99.9% in the worldwide smartphone market. Android has a clear lead over iOS, but Apple did belong to the manufacturers that sold the most smartphones. According to data from Gartner, iOS currently has a market share of 14 percent in the smartphone market. Android is clearly the largest at around 85.9 percent, but that is not surprising considering the amount of devices running on the operating system. For this reason, we also focus on these 2 operating systems at BlindGuide.
The best-known AR glasses are the Hololens from Microsoft with the Glass second, a further development of the Google Glass. What is striking is that these glasses are not yet really available to consumers. The AR glasses are often only available in a developer version so that developers and companies can develop on this. When and in what form these apps and techniques will become available to the consumer and whether this will become affordable is still unknown. To give you an idea, the Microsoft HoloLens Commercial Suite still costs around € 5.489
Recently I also came across the tweet below that shows the sentiment of AR glasses quite well at the moment.
When asked to my workshop participants if they ever think they will wear augmented reality glasses themselves: “No, I don’t want a babysitter on my head” pic.twitter.com/kciKol74CC – Sander Veenhof (@sander) April 5 , 2019
None of the AR Glasses have GNSS Positioning. So with the Hololens you still don’t have a device that knows where it is in the world and which direction it is looking for. GNSS Positioning is important for business apps such as the BlindGuide AR KLIC app. Because if you want to prevent excavation damage by giving more and the correct information on the construction site, the hardware and software that you use must show you that information in the right position.
We have also seen this year at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona how Trimble is working with Microsoft on a helmet incorporating the Hololens and a Trimble XR10 GPS. But rumors are that this combination will soon cost 18 to 20K. With prices like that, we don’t see that combi solution being installed very quickly on every excavator on the construction site. And that does not bring us in the short term any closer to a solution for “excavation damage”
Now I hear you thinking:
“But my smartphone also has a deviation of plus or minus 3 meters for location. It will therefore not help me to display the KLIC information correctly either ”
And then I have to agree with you completely, but then add the following comment. Together with Trimble, we can now offer an affordable solution for centimeter-accurate positioning. Since 2019, Trimble has been supplying the catalyst that you can connect via the USB port of your smartphone. Combined with the right subscription, you can opt for decimeter or centimeter accurate GPS on your smartphone.
In addition, we are seeing a development that smartphone manufacturers are also increasingly incorporating chips into their hardware, making GPS more accurate.
In addition to accurate positioning on your smartphone and tablet, good sensors with the lowest possible latency are also important. As a result of tests that we carried out during the beta phase, we have made a provisional top three of smartphones with a good compass: