Become a founding member of the Open AR Cloud! Here is why VR First took this important step.

XR First has successfully been working on democratization of VR/AR, by using crowd-based innovation to prepare companies for the challenges of tomorrow. Our program, XR Circles, facilitates the growth of a community of high level researchers, experts, innovators and practitioners to join different mindsets and take action to impact the future. We believe in innovation, ever-evolving technology and connecting the physical and virtual worlds. Therefore, we are excited to announce that we have become a founding partner of the Open AR Cloud foundation and would like to share the story about Open AR Cloud with the world.

In June 2018, a group of individuals from around the world came together at the Augmented World Expo (AWE) Conference in Santa Clara, sharing a dream and great sense of responsibility. A new wave of technology with the power to capture and combine “real” physical environments with digital content was poised to forever change the way people see and interact with the world and each other.

These new Mixed Reality experiences were clearly and quickly outgrowing the local, temporary AR experiences of the past, and it was clear that to reach their full potential, they would be increasingly powered by and reliant upon complex “Augmented Reality (AR) Cloud” infrastructure, a term coined by Ori Inbar, founder of AWE and Super Ventures, in a blog post published in September, 2017.

Recognizing the potential of the AR Cloud, the individuals attending AWE were drawn together by a common sense of excitement and urgency as they sought to ensure it was on a trajectory towards improving our lives, the economy, and society while protecting individuals rights and privacy. They knew of the need to actively steer clear of the risks and dangers AR cloud solutions could pose if left to develop unchecked. The group came to the consensus that they should form a new organization, Open AR Cloud, focused on creating a community with the goal of advancing the state of AR cloud technology while actively addressing its potential personal and societal issues.

What is the “AR Cloud” and why is it such a big deal?

The most fundamental function of AR Cloud technology is providing AR devices with their precise position and orientation relative to the physical world by matching what they observe through their cameras with a 1:1 scale representation of the world stored in the cloud.

  • By doing this, AR Cloud services can provide a scaffolding for a new programmable space that is persistently attached to our three-dimensional surroundings, available to any user on any platform. It will allow us to “paint the world with data” and share virtual experiences that appear as if they exist in our physical reality.

This technology naturally extends beyond AR to domains such as autonomous vehicles, robots, and IOT but is likely to have its greatest impact as the next major platform for Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) through AR devices blurring the line between real and virtual experiences.

Some of us see this as the beginning of a new era, opening up a shared programmable 3D layer over reality where humans can find new ways to explore, create, play, learn, work, share knowledge and express ourselves. Even though the technology is new, interacting with 3D space can feel much more natural to our innate capabilities than the flat screens and tablets we tie ourselves to.

Why is privacy a major concern?

AR Cloud location services provide their value by observing the surroundings of users and matching them with a 1:1 scale model stored in the cloud. There are several ways to achieve this, unfortunately, some methods could cause an extreme intrusion and violation of the privacy of any individual or place in the range of the devices’ sensors.

It is technically plausible that a service provider could design systems that can sense the identity, location, physical context, and behaviors of any individual in the sensor range of an AR device connected to the cloud. If such a service was used by a large percentage of people across the globe, the system could be capable of near total real-time 3D and auditory surveillance of every individual on the planet. The one in control of such a system could, in theory, automatically analyse the data in real-time and use it for any number of potentially terrifying purposes.

We find such a scenario totally unacceptable. Unchecked and malicious access to data on this scale should never be allowed to unfold, neither legally nor in practice, if we want to preserve our unbreakable rights to privacy and freedom. Therefore, we have formulated a “Privacy Manifesto for AR Cloud Solutions”. The manifesto describes the principles we insist every actor operating within the AR sector stand behind and uphold.

It is only when everyone in the industry upholds and abides by these principles that we can expect individuals to feel safe when they or other individuals nearby make use of systems connected to the AR Cloud.

The trajectory towards AR Cloud solutions we would like to see

We believe the most effective antidote against harmful scenarios is to develop an open AR Cloud ecosystem together, based on open standards for interoperability, open source software, open data, open R&D and the respect for the privacy and dignity of every individual affected by this technology.

We are on the right track if the most frequently used parts of the future AR Cloud ecosystem are characterized by being open, accessible, transparent, truly interoperable, and providing distributed control of data. The ecosystem needs to be controlled by users, communities, and many small entities rather than being centralized and monopolized.

Working together to tackle some of the toughest technical and societal challenges will ensure we have enough rocket fuel to reach escape velocity and allow us to push beyond isolated and frail attempts that have little to no impact. We believe this approach is the fastest way to develop AR Cloud to a level where the true potential of the technology can materialize. We hope our efforts will ensure this technology reaches as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, and brings with it the amazing benefits we know it can offer.

Help shape the journey with us!

For this endeavor to reach its goals we need the talent, creativity, wisdom, resources, and hard work of dedicated people. If you are interested in taking part in this historic journey, then please join us!

Join us as a member, a contributor to a working group, partner organization or as a sponsor of projects, activities and events. We look forward to hearing from you!

Reference:

  1. Starting the Open AR Cloud journey by Jan-Erik Vinje

Founding Partners

AWE, AugmentedReality.org, Shape Immersive, Perey Research, PointMedia, ContextGrid, Ludenso, Norkart, Super Ventures, Verses, Xperiel, you+AR, Kartverket, ITS-Norway, AWE Company, Aromni, Open Geospatial Consortium, RA Productions, Imagine360, Hansel, Immersal, Gfi informatique, Geenee, XR First, XR Circles, IFE Institute for Energy Technology, ArCortex, WaypointAR, Stambol Studios, Upcoming Media, IPKeys Technologies, You Are Here Labs, Arilyn, Kluarc Inc, Atlatl Software