Right after covering Amir Baradaran’s FutARism project for Art21, I quickly switched gears to wrap up my summer innovation internship for the Science, Technology & Innovation Policy (STIP) program at Georgia Tech. My topic was mobile Augmented Reality (AR) in the private sector. Here’s a preview of my upcoming presentation:
Augmented Reality (AR) technology has been in use since the 1990s, but a recognizable consumer market has only existed since 2009, driven by a growing demand for digital entertainment, smartphones and other mobile, camera-enabled devices such as iPads and handheld computers. Mobile AR, which is only viewable through camera-enabled devices, overlays or adds graphics, sounds, other digital information and to the physical world. Analysts predict that mobile AR will grow exponentially in the coming years, as more and more consumers purchase mobile devices and applications. In fact, AR was listed as one of the top 10 emerging technologies in the MIT Technology Review.
New markets such as mobile AR emerge not only as a result of new technologies and entrepreneurial savvy, but also as a result of the renewal, transformation, or intersection of regional industry clusters. My report examines the role of clusters in aspiring, pre-emerging industries and markets (specifically mobile AR) by addressing stages of the development pipeline; investigating who is using mobile AR and why this is important; using social network analysis and GIS mapping to see how cross-cluster, cross-regional activities support economic development; and reporting on best practices and case studies to support mobile AR industry growth.
Regional startups and firms involved with mobile AR often generate new ideas for platforms, software development kits (SDKs), and applications based on targeted engagement strategies. Platforms are used to control mobile devices and SDKs are tools used by mobile AR developers to create applications that people purchase or download to use. Targeted engagement and social networking across the mobile AR development pipeline have potential for both marketing and distribution of products. Mobile AR innovators have categorized many types of business AR apps appearing in the market in an effort to identify opportunities.
Gary Hayes created a chart that places 16 models on axes of commercial value (likely revenue or marketing potential) vs. adoption (scale of popularity vs. a niche, client user base). This chart was used to help identify and select ten companies, in metropolitan Atlanta and New York City as part of a comparative social network analysis.
Major Findings and Implications
I interviewed a few senior managers from mobile AR firms in Atlanta, went to a few ARAtlanta meetups, spent time using LinkedIn, generated social network analysis maps and a GIS map. I also create the first stage of my own mobile AR early mobile AR region cluster map using the Argon browser platform. I also researched best practices in other countries.
Stuttgart Region Clusters is a mobile augmented reality (AR) application that visualizes industry clusters in the Stuttgart Region, South Germany. The developer visualized tabular raw data (locations of businesses) in augmented reality using simple dot clouds that can be viewed on a camera-enabled smartphone. More or less dense clouds represent the number of companies of a specific industry in that specific region or district.
This study was a challenge for me but it helped me to be a better researcher who is more knowledgeable of mobile Augmented Reality, as well as the technologies and economies driving it’s growth. I made a few recommendations in my report which I will present sometime this September.
**Note: Hyper-local refers to the emergent ecology of data (including mobile AR), aggregators, publications, user interactions and behaviours which center on a resident of a location, or the business of being a resident. Here’s hyper-local in new media terms: