Spending on Augmented Reality (AR) technologies will reach $60 billion (€49m) in 2020 according to Michael Porter and James E. Heppelmann in their Guide to AR in the Harvard Business Review. This represents a lucrative market, as Europe has many strengths in research, engineering, training, and creativity that will allow it to play an active role in the global rise of this technology. But doing so will require an open ecosystem where new trail-blazing services can be developed.
An industry partnership including b<>com, Fraunhofer HHI, the CEA, the Institut Mines Telecom and involving Siemens, Bosch, Technicolor and Orange has been launched to define a technological framework for the industrial applications of augmented reality and to focus on interoperability for the benefit of both tech suppliers and end users. b<>com CEO Bertrand Guilbaud explains: “There are many applications for AR and the European market boasts a diverse range of skills and know-how. These are nascent industries, so the industrial ecosystems are not yet in place. Now is the time for us to build them in order to unleash the potential in all fields of work and enable the birth of a strong European industry. We must facilitate market access for European technology suppliers to enable them to compete globally and take full advantage of this sector.”
AR is the ability to mix spatially calibrated digital content with the real world, in real time. Automotive, media, telecom, health care and retail: There are few industries that aren’t exploring the technology. And partnerships between businesses and tech suppliers are proliferating. The latest example in France is Hôpital Avicenne in Bobigny, which hosted of one of the first surgical procedures carried out via Microsoft’s HoloLens and TeraRecon’s Holoporta mixed-reality collaborative platform.
“Participating in the global structuring of new industrial ecosystems in digital sectors is one of b<>com’s most important missions. We chair ETSI’s industrial specifications group covering AR technologies (ISG ARF). Collaboration on technology projects between Europe’s leaders in the field like the Fraunhofer institutes and France’s CEA, allows us to compete with the largest players either directly or indirectly, and thereby develop a European economy,” added Bertrand Guilbaud, Chief Executive Officer of b<>com.