How Augmented Reality drives the Internet of Things

It is a pretty fami­liar scene, that of the classic morning routine of the future. A person wakes up, gets out of bed, and walks over to their window. As they gaze out at their city skyline, a holo­gram hovering some­where in the sky informs them of the weather. Other floa­ting projec­tions display the morning news, their itinerary for the day, and whatever else may be rele­vant to that person at that time.

Co-author of the article: Scott Hicken

After updating them­selves suffi­ci­ently, they head over to their closet and virtually try on a few diffe­rent outfits in a matter of seconds, finally sett­ling on one they are happy with. As they continue to prepare for the day, all the mundane neces­si­ties which humans previously had to do manu­ally now operate auto­ma­ti­cally, leaving the person more time to do some­thing of impor­t­ance before they embark out the door.

IoT Home

Source: BMW

Anyone who has seen more than a few science fiction movies can attest to the frequency in which a scene such as this starts off a film, setting the tone for the viewer that this is a world far more advanced than our own. And while the average person might still believe this type of world only exists in some far off future, those in the tech industry know we are far closer than most would imagine. In fact, as the powerful concept of the Internet of Things conti­nues to esta­blish itself as the defi­ni­tive topic of discus­sion and enquiry among the tech world, we may very well be on the cusp of such a world beco­ming a reality.


The Internet of Things is an idea which is quite simple in its essence, but extre­mely compli­cated when one delves into the details. The main idea of IoT is this: even­tually, every physical object in our world which exhi­bits any sort of varia­tion or move­ment will be connected to the Internet. This will allow physical objects to transmit and receive infor­ma­tion, permit­ting their normal affairs and main­ten­ance to run auto­ma­ti­cally. This in turn would increase the effi­ci­ency and reduce the time needed, cost, and errors of virtually every occur­rence and event in our modern world. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

Bosch Internet of Things

Source: Bosch Home

For those that are still confused, imagine a highway where every car on the road is digi­tally commu­ni­ca­ting with every other car, constantly updating their current loca­tion to ensure that there is never a single acci­dent. Elon Musk’s Tesla is follo­wing that approach with the so called IoT car. Or imagine a refri­gerator that knows when it is out of lunch­meat and auto­ma­ti­cally noti­fies a grocery deli­very service that it will need more by noon the next day. Industry giant Bosch made the first step in their “Home Connect” program with a refri­gerator that takes selfies of its contents. In the next step that will be combined with an Augmented Reality app.


These are just a couple of ever­yday scen­a­rios illus­tra­ting the unli­mited poten­tial of a world­wide connec­tion between the physical universe and the Internet. And while they undoub­tedly sound futu­ristic, the numbers show that our world is irrever­sibly heading in the direc­tion of connec­tion. Last year alone, an esti­mated $698.6 billion dollars was spent by busi­nesses on the Internet of Things. By 2019, this number is expected to reach upwards of $1.3 tril­lion. According to Cisco’s Trend Report, the amount of connected devices exceeded the amount of connected people in the year 2008. Curr­ently the number of connected devices stands at around 13.4 billion, and is expected to reach some­where between 30 and 50 billion by the year 2020 . These numbers are outstan­ding, and although 87% of consu­mers still haven’t heard the term “Internet of Things” yet , they repre­sent a growing tidal wave in the busi­ness world which will certainly crash into major markets once circum­s­tances and timing permit.

Cisco Internet of Things

Cons­i­de­ring fore­casts, such as GE’s, which predicted the rising presence of connected machines in industry will add as much as 15 tril­lion dollars to the global GDP over the next 20 years, it is no surprise many busi­nesses are fervently adap­ting their busi­ness models to be harmo­nious with the Internet of Things. This conver­gence of machines, data, and analy­tics is being dubbed the fourth Indus­trial Revo­lu­tion, or “Industry 4.0”, and every major Internet company from IBM and Cisco to Google and Micro­soft are compe­ting to be the main provider of the plat­form which makes this conver­gence possible. The posi­tive effects for busi­nesses constantly connected to their products, custo­mers and manu­fac­tu­ring hard­ware are quite appa­rent, inclu­ding bene­fits such as increased opera­tional effi­ci­ency, faster deci­sion making, better customer rela­ti­ons­hips, and a larger poten­tial for corre­spon­dence between diffe­rent parts of the company. Ulti­mately, all these bene­fits culmi­nate into a “smarter” industry in which every aspect of the supply chain operates with a greater sense of ease and effi­ci­ency.


There are essen­ti­ally four diffe­rent elements of the IoT process which compa­nies must incorpo­rate into their infra­st­ruc­ture to truly achieve the status of an “Industry 4.0” company.

Implementation of “connectedness” capabilities

This is done by implan­ting sensors, proces­sors, or any other tech­no­lo­gies which allow data to be exch­anged between the product and its envi­ron­ment. In support of their IoT plat­form, Bosch Soft­ware Inno­va­tions adver­tises that in 2013 they shipped out more than one billion of their MEMS sensors which are desi­gned with this type of infor­ma­tion exchange in mind. Bosch also has the upper-hand in this area since they are already a leading manu­fac­turer of elec­tronic products.

Connected Services

Source: Beecham Rese­arch

Cloud computing and platform systems

Cloud systems can store the flow of data and allow for the over­sight of the products them­selves as well as any appli­ca­tions a company might sell or utilize. In this area, Amazon’s IoT Amazon Web Services plat­form domi­nates with cloud capa­bi­li­ties and services which are quoted as being “many times the aggre­gate size of all other provi­ders in the market.” Our partner Micro­soft offers their Universal Windows Plat­form which allows deve­lo­ping apps cross-device for smart­phones, tablets and smart glasses like the Holo­lens as well as for the Internet of Things.

Structure and analyze the collected data

This is a huge make-it-or-break-it point for an IoT plat­form since the tech­no­logy serving this func­tion needs to ensure that not even a speck of data in the sea of infor­ma­tion made avail­able goes to waste. Addi­tio­nally, the tech­no­logy should be capable of actively making deci­sions based on its analy­tics. IBM has atta­ched their arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence super­com­puter, “Watson”, to the front of their IoT plat­form for precisely this reason, “Watson” is also famously known for winning the popular TV trivia show Jeopardy. None­theless, usage of AI super­com­pu­ters empha­size the fact that by utili­zing the network of infor­ma­tion within a plat­form makes it possible to be actively increase a machine’s output to the fullest extent.


Now, the fourth and final aspect of this process is argu­ably the key to brin­ging IoT from the level of a specia­lized func­tion into a full on indus­trial trans­for­ma­tion of total connec­tivity. This aspect is the visua­li­za­tion in real-time of all the data which the Internet of Things will have to offer, and the most obvious candi­date to make this visua­li­za­tion occur at the level of scala­bi­lity which industry requires is none other than Augmented Reality.

Some may ask: If the data can be cogni­tively analyzed by machines, why is it so important that humans are able to visua­lize it? The answer here is simple. Ulti­mately, the whole point of the Internet of Things and the tech­no­logy which goes into making it a reality is to unlock the full capa­bi­li­ties of human poten­tial. The reason virtually every major tech company is beco­ming so invested in brin­ging the idea of IoT to life, and the reason why Augmented Reality is so often brought up along­side this concept, is because they under­stand the unli­mited possi­bi­li­ties it will bring to human exis­tence.


Source: The AREA

Compa­nies need an ecosystem to inte­grate Augmented Reality into the Internet of Things. Toge­ther with our Industry partner Bosch Auto­mo­tive Service Solu­tions we made our content autho­ring plat­form REFLEKT ONE “IoT Ready”. Whether it comes to the visua­li­za­tion of contex­tual infor­ma­tion or showing live data on machines, cars or any other objects, the plat­form allows to seam­less connec­tivity to exis­ting infra­st­ruc­tures. With AR, infor­ma­tion will be digi­tally atta­ched to the physical world, waiting for us to access and use it to further develop our goals and ambi­tions without ever having to turn our atten­tion away from what it is we wish to do. This will allow for unin­ter­rupted work­flows, making processes which previously required a constant shift in atten­tion much more natural and intui­tive – thus giving us more time to enjoy life.

And while industry is certainly the first branch of society which is begin­ning to under­stand the funda­mental impor­t­ance of what this new deve­lop­ment in infor­ma­tion proces­sing offers, it will not be long before every other aspect of society catches on as well. It is only a matter of time. Even though very little about this field is still to be set in stone, the know­ledge that it could change all of our lives certainly has been. And for now, that know­ledge is all Augmented Reality experts such as us require to continue to create and inno­vate in this revo­lu­tio­nary field, stead­fastly propel­ling us all into the future.

Image source title: SAP

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