Counter terrorism to fuel use of augmented reality

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The market worth for mobile enterprise applications featuring augmented reality (AR) technology is expected to exceed 180 million by 2015.

Adoption of AR digitally enhanced image' techniques in the fields of corporate utility provision, medical surgery and counter terrorism have been pinpointed as key growth areas.

Highlighting enterprise-level mobile applications as the positively disruptive factor in this space, the Juniper Research Mobile Augmented Reality report suggested image recognition and computer vision technologies are now accurate enough to reduce the problems that occur when GPS reception is weak.

Featuring digital information superimposed upon the physical world, mobile AR also relies upon location-sensing GPS, accelerometer and digital compass functions to provide a smartphone-type view of a location or person with enriched on-screen informative content.

While SAP is said to have trialed mobile AR in field medicine to supply medics with geo-tagged patient history data, this still-nascent technology's deployment in the counter terrorism arena is likely to create more news headlines.

Business and technology service company Logica is reportedly working with the UK government on a project aimed at analysing AR capabilities inside various security and counter terrorism scenarios.

Arguably one of the more futuristic' technologies working its way into the global IT stack, AR has made some inroads toward public perception by virtue of the Wikitude world browser application which runs on iPhone, Android and Symbian devices.

Mostly used as a travel guide, Wikitude overlays tactical information on real-world objects for consumer marketing purposes such as restaurant locations and retail locations.

"Video recognition technology has become increasingly valuable as an aid to combating crime and terrorism - a well publicised example being the identification of Osama Bin Laden by the US military prior to, and in the aftermath of, their raid on his compound," said report author Dr Windsor Holden.

"It is highly likely that AR apps which would also incorporate location awareness will soon be developed for security service handhelds - if they are not already in development."