SANTA CLARA—It is the tenth year of the Augmented World Expo, or AWE, held at the Santa Clara Convention Center in northern Santa Clara, California. The annual event showcases the latest adaptations in virtual and augmented reality.
Over 200 participating companies, ranging from startups to large companies, attended the event held May 29-31, to connect and share ideas with each other. Some companies were from overseas, others were more locally based.
Ori Inbar, founder and CEO of Augmented World Expo, said this is the biggest year by far, in terms of the number of people attending, and the product maturity level.
“It’s really in every aspect. So in manufacturing, and training, and healthcare,” said Inbar. “Remote expert assistance, training new employees, or training on the job. All these kinds of things are done much faster with AR and VR than before.”
Virtual reality, or VR, is when you are taken to a virtual world, separate from reality. Augmented reality, or AR is when you stay in the real world to interact with added, or augmented information.
According to Inbar, both are having the biggest impact on enterprises.
“Over 70 percent of all Fortune 1000 companies have said that they are either implementing AR and VR already in their businesses or planning to implement it in the next year or two,” he said.
One Italian company uses the technology for businesses to aid their clients. The technology shares digital 3D models and helps you take notes on screen.
“I can visualize content and understand how to solve an issue on a machine that needs to be maintained,” said Francesco Benvenuto, marketing manager for Space 1. “They can also see a digital twin of the main asset and request support, a remote support of a supervisor who can annotate on top of the screen, share any 3D models.”
In terms of which is more popular, the expo’s founder said they are in a race of sorts, but both have value in different ways, depending on the needs of users.
Another company has been using the technology to help middle and high school students learn biology, chemistry, and physics concepts in more experiential ways.
“They are excited to have this content ready in their schools rather than by getting bored with the normal classroom training,” said Jayasai Sontineni, a software developer at Holopundits.
The founder believes that in the future, everyone may use spatial computing—a mix of AR and VR—because, he says, it comes more naturally to people.
“Both hardware and software products that people are actually using, whether it’s enterprises or consumers, I think that’s something that everyone at this show is really feeling that this industry has really come along a long way since the very beginning, ten years ago,” Inbar said.