Why OCR makes Augmented Reality work better
The Augmented Reality “Hype”
With technology companies ascribing great potential to Virtual and Augmented Reality a lot of industries are trying to jump on the bandwagon and develop AR and VR applications themselves. The technologies are indeed very helpful for different verticals.
By now the band of existing Augmented Reality solutions reaches from gimmicky marketing solutions to B2B software. Having little monsters jump out of magazines for a movie advertorial is one example. Helping production companies to train their workers on the job by augmenting service steps onto broken machines is another one.
Augmented Reality could assist designers or architects to see a product while it is still in development. It could facilitate a marketing and sales process, because customers can already “try on” a product from a digital catalog. Or it could assist warehouse systems so that users get support in the picking and sorting process.
The list of opportunities is endless and new use cases are constantly arising. The whole point of using Augmented Reality is to make processes easier and faster which is also one of the reasons Anyline is constantly improving its SDK. The Anyline® SDK also runs on smart glasses for example and is therefore supporting AR solutions.
Augmented Reality as a marketing tool
While the use of AR technologies in warehousing processes or production environments might not be comprehensible or of interest for everybody, let me give some examples of the everyday life. Quite a number of companies have already made use of Augmented Reality for marketing purposes. Giving customers the opportunity to visualize new furniture in their home is one very practical use case. Another example is showing your customers additional information on the products while they walk through a shop. For example with ingredients when concerning food products, or different colors available when concerning clothing. As the whole concept of using AR for marketing purposes is still quite new, most companies use it for one particular campaign rather than for an ongoing marketing process. The latter could enhance customer experience and drive long term brand benefits though. The picture shows IKEA’s mobile app which transforms IKEA’s paper catalogue into an interactive platform.
The important thing about introducing AR for marketing purposes is to not just use it as a gimmick. Using the technology has to provide a meaningful experience for the consumer.
Why Anyline makes AR work better
The Anyline® SDK and its Mobile OCR solutions fit in perfectly with the world of Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality is based on one core technology: object recognition. For a human being recognizing a multitude of different objects is not a challenge. Even if the objects are partially obstructed from their view they can identify them. For machines and devices this can still be a challenge. For Augmented Reality this part is crucial though. A smartphone or smartglasses can’t add augmented overlays without recognizing the object first. If needed for correct augmentation, the device has to be aware of its surroundings and adapt according to each situation and change.
Augmented Reality blends both virtual components and real life together by using different kinds of technologies. Except the just mentioned object recognition it also uses feature tracking and augmentation for example. Here Anyline plays a crucial role in adding a very important feature when it comes to understanding the environment – character recognition. With Anyline the devices can not only recognize and see their environment but they can also “read” it. Therefore the devices can much better understand which information of the surrounding environment is important to process.
Optical Character Recognition and how it empowers AR
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) deals with the problem of recognizing optically processed characters. Both handwritten and printed characters may be recognized. Any kind of serial number or code consisting of numbers and letters can be transformed into digital output. Put in a very simplified way the image taken will be pre-processed, the characters extracted and recognized.
Smartglasses are one component of Augmented Reality which shows perfectly what kind of power text and character recognition can have. If the smart glasses can already recognize the important parts of their environment, they represent an amazing decision-support for the human being wearing them. The device can add additional information or images and therefore support the user in the best way possible.
Endless possibilities with Anyline
Data import is still difficult, as it requires a higher processor power and camera resolution – Anyline offers a perfect and robust alternative to voice recognition or input via typing. The Anyline® SDK is fast, accurate and offers endless possibilities.
Anyline is one of the first SDKs to officially support Epson’s hardware – the Epson Moverio BT-2000. Using optical character recognition on smart glasses offers great improvements for different kinds of processes. Imagine a warehouse worker who needs both his hands free to do his job properly and efficiently. Using smart glasses to add augmented layers to his environment will already make his processes faster. But when he can also automatically scan codes printed on products just by looking at them through the glasses he will constantly have his hands free for other tasks.
When you look around you will realize how many numbers, letters and codes need to be either written down or typed into a system every single day. Anyline makes this process, which is very prone to errors a lot less painful.
In terms of software, Wikitude, the leading Augmented Reality engine, has opened up its SDK 5.0 via a plugin framework. The Anyline® SDK was one of the first partners to implement the plugin in order to connect object and text recognition without problems.
If you are interested in a solution please follow the link to find out more about Anyline and Augmented Reality.
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