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Advances in location and mobile technology are boosting the potential of augmented reality applications, meaning they are no longer the preserve of consumer-focused developers, according to enterprise software specialist SAP.
The company is developing an enterprise application for the iPhone and iPad (shown above), known currently as the Augmented Explorer Prototype. The idea is that the software will allow businesses to call up corporate data while out in the field and to map this data to what they are seeing. For example, a car salesman could point a handset at a vehicle on a showroom forecourt to find out how many the company has in stock.
In blog post on the prototype, Timo Elliott, senior director of strategic marketing at SAP, noted that location technology has become refined enough to allow people to use their handset as a pointing device for drilling down into data.
Development of the augmented reality app is in "beta of an alpha phase", according Elliott. However, he said that the software should be available on the iPhone app store within the next two months at the latest.
Photo credit: SAP
The prototype augmented reality app calls for the user to first log on to SAP's BusinessObjects BI OnDemand site. The user then uploads a data set that includes points of interest (POIs), which are the physical items that the mobile device will be pointed at in the field, and chooses data configuration options in the BusinessObjects Explorer interface used by the app.
Augmented Explorer Prototype uses five points of data — latitude, longitude, name, an associated image and at least one data value — to define each POI. Each point can have many different lines of data associated with it.
The app then determines the direction and distance to the POI based on the handset's GPS location and compass. The appropriate information is then shown on the iPhone/iPad display.
Photo credit: SAP