Question: What do you get if you cross a Microsoft Kinect controller, some 3D glasses and an augmented reality platform with an Enterprise SAP HANA in-memory real-time big data-ready database?
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post for Computer Weekly in which I questioned whether Augmented Reality really is ready for the masses, concluding that while the technology and platforms themselves are getting close, a lack of real purpose and compelling content may be AR’s Achilles’ Heel.
Augmented Reality for the Enterprise
But then last week, while filming an item for the SAP Innovation Show at an event in London, I saw perhaps the most innovative application yet of AR for business.
As part of my original story I interviewed Matt Mills, Head of Innovation at Aurasma, part of Cambridge-based/HP-owned firm Autonomy and one of the main software houses developing commercial augmented reality platforms and applications.
While the offerings from the likes of Aurasma and Blippar are primarily consumer-focused (typically around marketing campaigns) Matt was also able to share with me some tantalising and genuinely useful applications of augmented reality in education and business, as in this example of using AR to install HP networking equipment.
But then last week at an event I had naively considered an unlikely candidate for showcasing gadgety innovation, I stumbled across what can truly be described as Augmented Reality for the Enterprise.
Spatial Operating Environment
CEO Vision combines an Augmented Reality platform with Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect controller to deliver a distinctly futuristic-looking data visualisation tool.
Aimed at non-technical executives, CEO Vision sources its data from an SAP HANA in-memory database and using an assortment of 3D eyewear, motion control and display technologies presents what Keytree calls its “Spatial Operating Environment”.
Viewers wearing the headset can peruse and interact with rich, animated datasets retrieved in real-time from the back-end database.
(and if you have some red/cyan specs handy there’s a 3D version of the video just for you)
Parallels will inevitably be drawn with Google Glass which last week also released a sneak peek of some footage filmed using its AR goggles, although CEO Vision perhaps scoops top marks inasmuch as anybody can try it for themselves right now.
Big Data means Big Glasses?
Personally I believe that technologies such as these from Keytree and Google will be essential tools as we attempt to visualise, digest and capitalise on ever-growing volumes of both business and personal big data.
But wearing my actual reality glasses for just a moment I don’t see that the technology is mature enough quite yet. The CEO Vision user interface boldly aims for Minority Report but credibly lands somewhat closer to Lawnmower Man.
Nevertheless it’s still impressive to see it in action at all and, as with Google’s intentions when announcing Glass, I suspect it acts as more of a signpost to the near future than a genuine stake in the ground for now.
Note: A version of this post also appears in Computer Weekly.
For the last few weeks I’ve been busily working away on an exciting new programme called The Innovation Show and I’m now able reveal some more details.
The Innovation Show is a brand new, 30-minute online show hosted by me all about the latest technologies and IT innovations impacting business.
In a packed first show I learn how the latest consumer smartphones, tablets and apps are being used both by employees and businesses; I head over to Canary Wharf to find out what people there think ‘Big Data’ is; and I get hands-on to see how football results from all across Europe are being analysed and visualised using a simple downloadable app.
And as if that wasn’t enough to squeeze into a 30-minute programme we also find time to round up the latest technology news and take a quick detour into geospatial analytics!
Joining me in the studio are my expert guests Timo Elliott (Senior Director, Strategic Marketing at Business Objects), Adrian Simpson (Chief Technology Officer, SAP UK) and Ian Thain (Senior Mobile Evangelist, Sybase).
The first show is broadcast online at 14:00 BST on Thursday 3rd May 2012 and will be available on demand shortly afterwards – click here to find out more and see a teaser trailer.
The Innovation Show is produced by SAP, a world leader in business software, and production managed by the top team at Creation Company TV.
Along with ‘Bring Your Own Device’, ‘Big Data’ is the buzz phrase hogging column inches in the technology press right now, but its precise definition still seems to evade many.
I’m currently working on a show in which I’ll be attempting to get to grips with exactly what Big Data is, understand what I contribute to it, and learn how big is only going to get bigger.
During my own Big Data research I found this superb video from EMC which clearly and elegantly illustrates what Big Data is.