Home / Blog / Integrated Visual Augmentation System(s)

Integrated Visual Augmentation System(s)

A 480 million $ program has been won by Microsoft to provide US Army with a virtual reality environment to train soldiers. Image credit: US Army

At the end of November 2018 Microsoft has won a 480 million $ two year contract to create a virtual environment for US Army soldiers based on Hololens technology that may result in the use of 100,000 VR headsets by US Army to train soldiers, rehearse the battle field before entering a combat situation and provide and integration of soldiers and weapons during the combat.

It is, of course, no surprise that military application of AR and VR are leading the evolution and the IVAS – Integrated Visual Augmentation System (that is the name of the US Army project)- is a clear example.

However, there interest in using AR/VR spans several fields and business is getting more and more interested as it transition to the digital space, hence the title of this post showing a plural on System(s)!

The growing availability of Digital Twins (so far mostly in terms of digital models, only a few have the digital shadow capability of tracking in real or semi real time the physical twin) is de facto creating the content needed by business to exploit AR and VR technology.

Take the ACE area (Architecture-Construction-Engineering): more and more the new buildings are designed using computer and their very design creates a digital model (a digital twin) of the building. The various constructors parties use and extend this digital model as new parts are added and at the inauguration of the building a digital copy exist. This digital copy can be explored using VR from remote to plan changes and improve operation and can be exploited using AR when on site (as an example to look “inside” the walls to “see” the pipes!

The availability of sensors in the new buildings provide the opportunity of creating and maintaining a digital shadow of the building with software monitoring the correct operation and raising red flags to activate maintenance (or even better to suggest proactive maintenance thus decreasing operational cost).

I was on the Cotes d’Azur on these Christmas holidays and I saw a realtor ads telling potential customers that they would be able to see their future house using virtual reality and even design the interior using virtual reality.

The ACE area is just one example, there are many more. Basically every business area can leverage on the existence of digital model leveraging it through VR and AR. I expect that the next decade will “operationalise” virtual and augmented reality, having them becoming tool of the trade for many workers.

Walmart is deploying 17,000 Oculus Go to train its employees. There are 4700 retail points and each will be given 4 Oculus Go letting Walmart employees (1 million!) to access training course (supported by STRIV). Verizon is considering a similar approach for its workforce training in security matters.

The whole area of education will be deeply affected by AR and VR, with the professional education paving the way.

We are starting to see applications providing the possibility to view what a person immersed in virtual reality is actually seeing (watch the clip showing Spectator View) and this will boost the application of VR in training.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.