Say Hello to Augmenting Reality

After years of hard work around the world, we unveil Augmenting Reality, a pioneering technology that guides users indoors with AR directions.

We offer a live demo of the technology as it works today. 

A next-generation solution for indoor navigation.

Shopping malls, airports, hospitals and other large buildings can be difficult to navigate. Paper maps and other solutions have failed to help, leaving visitors feeling lost and confused.

With Augmenting Reality, directions are placed in the real world to show you the way. It makes the journey inside large venues interactive and simple. 

Until now, no-one had solved the puzzle of creating an AR navigation that works at scale indoors. GPS cannot be used inside buildings as satellite signals weaken and distort as they travel through buildings. Outdoor technologies such as Google Live View that rely on GPS and Street View data simply don't work indoors. 

This is where Pointr's Augmenting Reality technology comes in.

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Augmenting Reality is fast. For visitors there’s no time wasted wondering if they’re headed the right way.

Pointr's technology works seamlessly indoors, even in challenging venue environments. It is powered by Deep Location, a set of proprietary machine-learning algorithms that provide excellent indoor orientation & positioning. 

When creating a dynamic AR experience, you’re putting objects into the user's field of vision, so you should be able to calculate the exact positioning and orientation of the user as they walk, at any given time. Even if the orientation is only out by five degrees, which will hardly be noticeable on a map, the error will be very apparent to the viewer in an AR world. That small margin could cause a virtual object to suddenly appear inside a wall, or intersect some other object.

This is why excellent indoor positioning and orientation is the key to successful AR navigation. This technology is at the core of our Augmenting Reality solution. 

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Augmenting Reality activates instantly at scale

Pointr's AR technology requires no training process to learn, which makes it highly scalable. It uses the camera's field of vision at the exact moment of activation and then improves very quickly as the user moves around.

Unlike other existing technologies such as Google Live View, there’s no need to film the location to train the algorithm before activating the AR navigation. That's because the whole process is offline. The machine learning algorithm learns as the user starts walking. It doesn’t attempt to learn any global information, and as such it requires no training. Wherever the positioning tech is enabled, the AR is also enabled, with no extra steps needed. This is a game changer as it makes AR navigation available instantly at scale.

An experience that's intuitive and user-friendly

When it comes to AR, the user interface is of the utmost importance. As a field that's still in its infancy, there’s currently no established design paradigm for how the AR user experience should be defined. As such, we have had to think from the ground up. The paradigms for mobile devices cannot be applied, since the majority of elements we present to users need to exist in the AR world. For instance, when attempting to find a destination, we need to show a virtual AR destination marker. 

An AR navigation experience is about more than mere wayfinding - it needs to be an enjoyable one. The experience can be gamified to increase engagement and incentive (for example, an animal could lead the way, or there could be collectables to acquire as you go). To make AR stand out, there need to be elements that are enjoyable which simply aren't available in other technologies, and these elements should give an incentive to keep going. If you want to learn more about what makes an AR experience successful, check out our AR design blog post.

What's next?

Pointr's Augmenting Reality licence can be utilised on both iOS (Q4 2019) & Android (Q1 2020) through our Mobile Software Development Kit.

Future developments to look out for:

  • Initial roll out to selected clients.
  • We will keep working on improvements. Navigation is just the beginning; in the future, AR will have many other applications in addition to this core function.
  • The same algorithm can also be applied to outdoor environments. The potential for this has already been demonstrated in initial testing.