The persistent 3D model behind it all

In a feature on a recent spatial computing report, AR Insider focuses on a few important—but sometimes overlooked—practical questions about the technology.

For example: At this point in the lifecycle of spatial computing, we understand that applications will need to use spatial data to understand their surroundings. We also know that the spatial data they need for a seamless experience will be “too extensive” to fit on one device. (Imagine your AR application wants to show a dinosaur in your neighborhood, to do so it will need spatial information about the trees in the distance, and maybe even your neighbors’ houses. This is a lot of data.)

That’s why a huge number of spatial computing apps will need access to a persistent, cloud-based 3D model of the real-world. The piece calls this model the “AR cloud,” but you might see it referred to as a “mirrorworld,” or maybe the “metaverse,” or even the “internet of places.”

And now, here’s the big issue: Who will own this AR cloud? Google? Facebook? Apple? Niantic?

Layers on layers on layers

The team over at AR Insider has a fascinating answer: We won’t access one single AR cloud, but many.

“There will rather be a large decentralized effort to map the physical world. And just like today’s web, there will be various use cases, proprietary data, walled gardens, and permission layers.”

Each company that builds an AR cloud will follow its core competency, the article continues.

“If Google is the spatial web’s knowledge layer, Facebook could be its social layer, Microsoft the enterprise productivity layer, and Amazon the commerce layer. Apple will be a hardware powerhouse for the physical touchpoint.”

Onto the next problem

As you might guess, this raises yet another series of questions. The article notes just a few—How will these clouds talk to each other? Will we see the development of open standards like HTML, or walled gardens? Or both? What does this mean for privacy?

To read more about the report, check out the original story here.