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Introduction

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

AR technologies and applications will play an essential role in the development of “Smart Factories” or the “Industry 4.0”, and the success of “Smart Cities” and “Smart Home”. Mobility, retail, healthcare, education, public safety are other examples of domains where AR will bring significant value. 

Today we see that the boundaries between digital and physical worlds are blurring. AR is quickly advancing into a new phase of enabling context-rich user experiences that combine sensors, wearable computing, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence. That capability is 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.

There is a broad range of AR applications. These applications need to be deployed at different scales (e.g. workspace, home, factory, city, global), and may be used both indoor and outdoor with large differences in luminosity. Some AR applications may use markers or data relating to a pre-scanned environment, using different means for geo-localization.

The need for transparent and reliable interworking between different AR components is key to the successful roll-out of such services.

Our Roles & Activities

ETSI is working to define a framework for the interoperability of Augmented Reality (AR) components, systems and services. The AR framework will define an overall high-level architecture, identify key components and interfaces required for an AR solution.

There are huge differences in AR applications but mapping digital information with the real world implies the use of a set of common components offering functionalities such as: tracking, registration, pose estimation, localization, 3D reconstruction, data injection, etc.

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 will be easier to design, deploy and operate than today taking into account the advent 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 will acknowledge the work of relevant standardization bodies and open source communities already developing technical specifications or solutions for AR and will build 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.

Specifications

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