Why Europe’s augmented reality players must join forces to compete globally

International working group to boost Europe in AR

Spending on Augmented Reality technologies will reach $60 billion in 2020 according to Michael Porter and James E. Heppelmann in their Guide to AR in the Harvard Business Review. This represents a lucrative market, as Europe has many strengths in research, engineering, training, and creativity that will allow it to play an active role in the global rise of this technology. But doing so will require an open ecosystem where new trail-blazing services can be developed.

An Industry Specification Group with b<>com, Fraunhofer HHI, the CEA and Institut Mines Telecom as founding members was launched at ETSI last December to define an interoperability framework for augmented reality applications. Industrials are starting to join the effort with Siemens as a new member and actors like Bosch, Technicolor and Orange contributing to the discussions while considering joining. The focus on interoperability will benefit both technology providers and end-users.

b<>com CEO Bertrand Guilbaud believes the European market “boasts a diverse range of skills and know-how”.

These are nascent industries, so the industrial ecosystems are not yet in place. Now is the time for us to build them in order to unleash the potential in all fields of work and enable the birth of a strong European industry. ”We must facilitate market access for European technology suppliers to enable them to compete globally and take full advantage of this sector.

Augmented reality (AR) is the ability to mix spatially calibrated digital content with the real world, in real time. Automotive, media, telecom, health care and retail: There are few industries that aren’t exploring the technology. And partnerships between businesses and tech suppliers are proliferating. The latest example in France is Hôpital Avicenne in Bobigny, which hosted of one of the first surgical procedures carried out via Microsoft’s HoloLens and TeraRecon’s Holoporta mixed-reality collaborative platform.

b<>com is a European research institute with over 230 researchers who develop tools, products, and services that aim to make everyday life easier. They chair ETSI’s industrial specifications group, the ISG ARF. It acts as a European standards body, developing world class standards for global use, specifically in augmented reality technologies. “Participating in the global structuring of new industrial ecosystems in digital sectors is one of b<>com’s most important missions,” adds Guilbaud.

Collaboration on technology projects between Europe’s leaders in the field like the Fraunhofer institutes and France’s CEA, allows us to compete with the largest players either directly or indirectly, and thereby develop a European economy.

b<>com will be exhibiting at Mobile World Congress next month