Augmented Reality (AR) is the ability to mix in real-time spatially-registered digital content with the real world surrounding the user.

AR technologies and applications play an essential role in the development of “Smart Factories” or the “Industry 4.0” and are key for the success of “Smart Cities” and “Smart Home”. Mobility, retail, healthcare, education, tourism, and public safety are other examples of domains where AR will bring significant value. AR is also seen as an important technical enabler for the advent of the Metaverse.

The boundaries between digital and physical worlds are blurring and therefore AR as the tie between both worlds is quickly developing into a new phase of enabling context-rich user experiences that combine sensors, wearable computing, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence. That capability offers a unique opportunity of value creation. AR technology will bring significant transformation to many areas of our economies in terms of productivity, competitiveness as well as the provision of new and innovative services for end-consumers.

The possibilities of using AR technology are manifold. AR applications will be deployed at different scales; at room scale, office, factory, city or even world scale. Applications may be used both indoor and outdoor, encountering various scene conditions and changing environments. To adapt to these different environments, AR applications need to rely on adequate methods to keep aligned and registered with the real world (e.g., by image markers, point clouds, 3D models). Considering large scale deployment, AR applications will need to distribute data and computing into the network and will benefit from the low latency, large bandwidth, and EDGE facilities of 5G networks and broadband networks. So, the need for transparent and reliable interworking between different AR components is key to the successful roll-out of such services.

Our Roles & Activities

There are various categories of AR applications but presenting digital information aligned with the real world implies the use of a set of common components offering functionalities such as tracking, registration, pose estimation, localization, 3D space mapping, and data injection.

ETSI is working on the definition and refinement of a framework for the interoperability of Augmented Reality (AR) components, systems, and services. The AR framework defines an overall high-level architecture, and describes key components and interfaces required for an AR solution.

The development of such a framework will allow components from different providers to interoperate through defined interfaces. This will in turn avoid the creation of vertical siloes and market fragmentation and enable players in the eco-system to offer part(s) of an overall AR solution.

Through its work, our Industry Specification Group (ISG) Augmented Reality Framework (ARF) will address the following goals:

  • To ensure that Augmented Reality services and platforms are easier to design, deploy and operate taking into account the availability of 5G networks
  • To enable the development of high-performance Augmented Reality components which are portable between different hardware vendors, different providers of software solutions and platforms
  • To achieve co-existence of legacy and proprietary platforms whilst enabling an efficient migration path to fully interoperable platforms

The ISG acknowledges the work of relevant standardization bodies and open-source communities already developing technical specifications or solutions for AR and bases its activities on previous work done in this area, e.g. by collecting use cases developed by the AR community or by referencing already defined AR components. The ISG will ensure consistency with other activities in ETSI with regards to IoT, edge computing and 5G.


A list of ETSI related standards in the public domain is accessible via the ARF committee page.