AR – Openness and Interoperability

Y’see, it’s all about the SPAM.

From 5 barriers to a web that’s everywhere

Interoperability, standards and openness have been what has let the Web scale and flourish beyond the suffocating walled gardens of its early days. The same is true of telephones, railroads and countless other networked technologies. Logically then, a lack of interoperability between AR environments would be a tragedy of the same type as if the web had remained defined by the islands of AOL and Compuserve or Internet Explorer, forever. (A lack of data portability when it comes to Augmented Reality could cause substantial psychological distress!)

As they continue in the article, no-one has yet published anything representing an open platform free of legal fears but there is an obvious attempt to create a beachhead by a couple of companies and it’s going to take a while for this to settle.

I have a mixed opinion. Control will go to the user and while I tolerate adverts in the web, I wouldn’t want them in Twitter and I won’t want them in my AR lenses unless they are heavily influenced by context. At the moment I see adverts based on the content of the web pages I visit or, in the case of television, on the time and channel – which leads to a very unsatisfactory experience. I don’t care about your 1U servers or your blades. I won’t be replacing my graphics card and I’m probably never going to buy a giant plush microbe.

If I’m walking along the road using my AR browser, I don’t want to see adverts for tampons, viagra, designer watches, managed servers, custom business logos or whatever. The real world is filled with advertising already, I only want to see adverts that have chosen context.

If we move to a standard display platform, like we have with the web, will I still have control over what gets downloaded to my handset? Remember, the data deal we sign up to with our phones is very different to our home broadband. If we step outside an arbitrary border, we start racking up huge charges. Coverage is often poor and every image is going to be worth thousand and thousands of words so online advertising is going to drain our pockets and leech our patience in new and tedious ways.

I’m all for an open platform – but let me choose the filters by which I can see the augmented world.

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