Counter Terrorism as Key Growth Opportunity for Mobile Augmented Reality

A new report from Juniper Research has found that the market for mobile enterprise applications featuring augmented reality (AR) elements is expected to exceed $300 million by 2015 with wide-ranging deployments across areas as diverse as corporate utility, surgery and counter-terrorism.

Mobile AR – which provides digital information superimposed upon the physical world as seen through the viewfinder of a smartphone camera – is enabled by location-sensing technologies such as GPS, an accelerometer and a digital compass.
The Juniper report observed that while technological limitations had previously constrained deployments, the inclusion of image recognition/computer vision is bringing a far higher degree of accuracy to AR and also reducing the problems that occur when GPS reception is weak.

There have been trials in this field from key players such as SAP, which has developed a prototype app allowing enterprises to browse geolocalised information. Meanwhile, there is growing interest in the use of AR technologies in field medicine (where medics can use the device to see digital information relating to a geotagged patient’s history or to provide assistance with surgical procedures).

However, it is arguably the arena of counter-terrorism which may become the highest profile area of deployment. Logica is already working with the UK government on a project which aims to identify current and future AR capabilities, whilst evaluating them against various security and counter terrorism scenarios.

According to report author Dr Windsor Holden, “Video recognition technology has become increasingly valuable as an aide to combating crime and terrorism – a well-publicised example recently being the identification of Osama Bin Laden by the US military prior to and in the aftermath of their raid on his compound. It is highly likely that AR apps which would also incorporate location awareness will soon be developed for security service handhelds – if they are not already in development.”