Augmented Reality is Here to Stay

March 30, 2017

A few months ago, I wrote about the Pokemon Go craze and its parallels to the future of augmented reality (AR) in the water and wastewater industry. While that game may have come and gone as a fad, the idea of AR certainly isn’t going anywhere.

Software company Bentley Systems, for example, has been particularly involved in propelling AR. Last November, during its Year in Infrastructure (YII) 2016 event in London, the company demonstrated AR’s applications in plant maintenance, among other areas. According to an article in AEC magazine, Bentley Fellow Stéphane Côté has been a driving force behind AR in leading several research and development projects.

Côté has worked on applications spanning construction planning and subsurface utility visualization, as well as asset queries, the report said.

What ties these applications together is that they all “use the physical world as a visual gateway to digital data, whether that’s an augmented model, hologram, datasheet or task notes. Simply point a tablet or look through an AR headset and the relevant information is there, instantly, in context. No more looking up file names, searching for references, or working off paper drawings.”

Côté showed off two breakthroughs at YII. One is an alternative approach to AR that uses a reality mesh instead of a live camera feed. For indoor applications, Bentley showcased Microsoft’s HoloLens, an AR headset “that everyone is talking about,” per the AEC magazine report.

Indeed, AR technology is gaining ground, and 2017 should prove to be a big year for Bentley as it begins to work on real-world AR applications.

2017 is also a big year for W&WD in terms of AR: We’ve recently partnered with visual discovery app Blippar to bring content to you in a brand-new way.

The first step is downloading the Blippar app on your smartphone, and opening the app. Then, simply look for the Blippar logo, and whenever you see it, hover your smartphone over the page and watch it come to life on your screen. Try it with this page!

Readers, I look forward to seeing you in the virtual world!

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