2016 has been known so far as the year where Virtual Reality (short VR) and Augmented Reality (short AR) have been adopted by the general public. Gamers worldwide have gotten their hands on Oculus Rifts, HTC Vives and other VR headsets, while smartphone users have been spoiled by Nintendo with the Augmented Reality game Pokémon GO. While one cannot deny the simplicity in a simple game such as Pokémon GO, it does indicate that the world is awed by the technology and concepts.Even in the corner market that is GIS, the possibilities of Augmented Reality are virtually limitless:

What if you could design your network not with a mouse and desktop software, but with simple gestures by your hands? What if you could walk around in the streets and view real-time data or visualize your critical network components ? Those concepts are no longer mere ideas, but are turning into real-life possibilities. We at Merkator have been investigating the possibilities of Augmented Reality in the GIS business for a while now, and are convinced that it can bring real added value to the professional market. Therefore it is with a certain pride that we can announce that we actively participate in the world of Augmented Reality by bringing applications and services for Microsoft HoloLens to our customers. In August 2016 Merkator was one of the first Belgian companies to receive a Microsoft Hololens, and yes we like it !

Microsoft HoloLens & Windows Holographic

The premier device for the Windows Holographic platform, Microsoft HoloLens is a smart-glasses headset that is a cordless, self-contained Windows 10 computer. It uses various sensors, a high-definition stereoscopic 3D optical head-mounted display, and spatial sound to allow for augmented reality applications, with a natural user interface that the user interacts with through gaze, voice, and hand gestures.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual reality or virtual realities (VR), also known as immersive multimedia or computer-simulated reality, is a computer technology that replicates an environment, real or imagined, and simulates a user’s physical presence and environment to allow for user interaction. Virtual realities artificially create sensory experience, which can include sight, touch, hearing, and smell.
Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. By contrast, Virtual Reality replaces the real world with a simulated one, whereas Augmented reality will add extra data into the existing world.

Do not hesitate to contact Merkator and ask for a first demonstration. We will be glad to visit you, in real or virtual….

Christopher De Bruyn introducing Merkator the world of AR and VR during the Merkator Innovation Days.

Christopher De Bruyn introducing the Merkator staff to the world of AR and VR during our Summer 2016 Merkator Innovation Day in The Netherlands.

 

Look outside the box

We know first hand that it might not be easy at first to image the almost limitless possibilities that a HoloLens device offers. Maybe these videos will help you think and look outside the box!

Volvo partners with Microsoft HoloLens

 

Is Microsoft HoloLens the Future of Computing?