Working Groups

The OARC Working Groups (WG) are the primary method by which our members define and tackle the challenges facing the successful achievement of real world spatial computing usage every day and for the benefit of all of humanity. For this reason, WGs are the focal point for activity and contributions by the community. They are the most important means to reaching our shared goals.

The descriptions of the first OARC WGs found on this page are those proposed by the Governing Board (GB) and subject to modifications as the members of WGs collaborate and the scope and goals are refined.

Join working groupsLearn about the Inaugural Working Group Meetings

1

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Spatial Indexing & GeoPose

This group will work to identify or establish standard definitions, addressing schemes and systems for describing, registering and discovering the locations, positions and poses of physical and digital content, environments and locations. This is an immediate requirement, critical to the formation of an open, interoperable ar cloud framework.  The group will explore and define a standard addressing scheme or “DNS” for physical and virtual spaces, and establish a shared frame of reference (GeoPose or Geo6DoF) optimized to anchor, transform and translate the positions and orientations of digital or physical objects in real and virtual spaces. The success of spatial computing across many industries and applications such as augmented reality, robotics, autonomous vehicles, iot and persistent multiuser AR solutions will depend on this work. The first step for this group will be to survey existing standards, efforts, projects and reach out to industry experts and organizations in order to determine how existing standards, commercial solutions and research could be used or adapted as possible.

2

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Reality Modeling/Mapping (Spatial Data Creation)

Representing the real world as frequently updated geometric and semantic models or maps in the cloud or the edge is at the core of being able to deliver key capabilities for spatial computing, such as precise location and orientation of devices, virtual assets, vehicles, etc, multi-user experiences, persistence, and a rich machine-readable description of the 3D environments around the users. This is closely related to work being done in the field of “Scene Understanding and Modeling” aka SUMO.

The value of such models and maps are immense, as are the costs of building them on a global scale so that they work for everyone everywhere. OARC's view is that centralizing storage and control over this data is very problematic for a number of reasons, ranging from privacy, security, and concentration of political and economic power, to technical concerns (ie latency).

At the same time, we believe that there is great value in collaborative approaches to building, maintaining, and serving these types of models and maps rather than relying on them being created by a small number of organizations. Multiple competing efforts would be more expensive and not as frequently updated as a shared approach. If we develop a shared infrastructure to create, store, and serve such maps then we favor organizing it in as decentralized a way as possible.

This type of data is very local and often very personal or sensitive. OARC therefore believes that it should be a fundamental principle that the control over this data should also be as local and personal as possible. Our initial intention is that this working group should look at ways to standardize the technology and data formats for “reality modeling”, so that solutions are interoperable across the world, but also look at ways that the ecosystem could make it practical to distribute the control and ownership over this data widely.

3

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Content Delivery, Browsing & Ownership

Background:

One of the main reasons the web has become a huge success is that it is a universally interoperable platform built on open standards. Web-content and apps  “just works” on any browser, device or operating system. In principle, anyone can start building a new browser, a simple web-page, or a powerful web app, and have anyone anywhere be able to use it. OARC is inspired by this and wants to help make sure that when the physical world around us comes to life with spatial services, content, and apps, the experience will be at least as seamless as the web is today. This can only happen if we make the ecosystems open, interoperable and standards based. We believe content and applications that exist in the same physical space should be interoperable across all platforms and devices - anything less is a dead end and a loss for both end users and creators of content and apps.


Focus areas:

The group will look into standardization on spatial content types (glTF, point clouds, geospatially annotated photo and videos, geolocated sound, spatial paths), spatial apps, spatial browsers and apps, seamless content discovery for end users, and standardized ways for creators and service providers to distribute and monetize high quality services, content and apps rather than having to rely on walled garden “app-store” arrangements.

The working group should seek to engage with related initiatives such as the W3C (WebXR), Khronos Group (glTF), etc.

OARC believes standardizing and making these parts of the ecosystem interoperable will help the economy, civics, and culture of the spatial era thrive for the benefit of all.

The same physical space might be endowed with digital services, content, and apps that might serve very different purposes or uses, such as transportation, local commercial services, games & entertainment, education, recreation and sports, free speech, infrastructure, properties, buildings and building-floors, history, geology, biomes, etc. The working group should look into standardizing ways to help users easily find the services, content, and apps they want or need.


4

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Privacy

Background

The concern for privacy in spatial computing is fairly widespread amongst the Founding Members of OARC, the XR-industry, and other players in the spatial computing sector, as well as amongst privacy and digital rights activist. Still, the wider public has yet to realize how much more invasive AR-cloud technology coupled with AI/Machine Learning is likely to become than what they are used to in their existing digital lives. As the significance of this becomes apparent to more people there is likely to be strong public interest in finding robust ways of protecting privacy. We can expect a significant backlash If the industry fails in this area, resulting in resistance or reluctance against using this type of technology. OARC believes protecting privacy should be a fundamental principle in spatial computing.

Working group focus:

We want this group to take a lead in ensuring that the entire Open AR Cloud ecosystem is designed with protection of privacy as a fundamental principle.

This group should also work on ethical guidelines for the industry as well as exploring user-friendly ways for people to control their own privacy and making it easy to respect the privacy of people around them.

At the launch of OARC on 18th of October in Munich we released a draft  “Privacy Manifesto for AR Cloud Solutions”. We hope this group can spend some time on reviewing this document internally as well as engage with a wider community of stakeholders to get enough feedback to be able to develop it to a level where it can be codified as a version 1.0 early next year.


5

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Edge-Computing, IoT, and 5G for AR-Cloud

Spatial Computing ARchitectures

Edge computing and 5G could be instrumental to solving several hard challenges within spatial computing, and Verizon is already touting AR as being one of 5G’s exciting use cases. It holds the promise of distributing control and data closer to end users, communities, industrial and other facilities as well as allowing for compute-services with 1< millisecond latency. In particular, this will help solve the problem of miniaturization for AR wearables because, with low 5G latency and high bandwidth, many complex spatial computing tasks can be externalized from the wearable hardware to nearby edge compute resources, thereby allowing devices to be smaller and to save power.

In addition, the AR Cloud promises to be the world’s ultimate user interface, painting the whole physical world with data, and making it digitally interactive. Users will use gestures and other user interfaces to give commands to the AR Cloud in order to perform actions and control surrounding IoT devices.

This working group will focus on creating standardized approaches to privacy, security, distribution of on-demand compute services and local content services and the protocols between devices, edge computing, the Internet of Things, and the cloud, all of which will be enabled by the much higher bandwidth and lower latency of 5G.


6

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Security

Security cannot be an afterthought when building an AR Cloud ecosystem. When considering how carelessness regarding the publication of aggregated GPS data from a fitness app resulted in the accidental disclosure of locations and layouts of military bases, it is obvious that risks could be greatly magnified when dealing with a multitude of real-time streams of highly precise geospatially anchored 3D sensor data.

This working group should look into aspects of information security, public safety, and national security. We want to look at ways to ensure the Open AR Cloud ecosystem, and spatial computing technology in general, can not be misused to cause great harm to individuals, communities or nations. How can individuals, companies, and authorities define what spaces shouldn’t be publicly shared in AR Cloud solutions and how do we ensure that such boundaries are respected by developers, service providers, and users?

Also, we believe we have a great opportunity to look into ways the Open AR Cloud ecosystem could help emergency response personnel, both onsite and offsite, coordinate better to save and protect lives during catastrophic events, such as natural disasters, major accidents, and terror attacks.


7

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Compliance, Regulations, and Legal

The Open AR Cloud ecosystem is ultimately intended to benefit every individual human being no matter what country or political system they live in. At this early stage, it is far from certain that we can achieve that. This working group is intended to tackle some hard questions and dilemmas that arise when ideals, values and technical design decisions meet with the realities of the wider world. Large parts of the ecosystem we try to build may be rejected or even shut down if citizens, governments or other key stakeholders disagree with it.

The Open AR Cloud ecosystem we plan on creating will come in contact with a variety of sometimes conflicting policies, laws, regulations, and requirements for compliance. This group will look into squaring the values the Open AR Cloud is founded on with what the “laws of the land” actually are. Hopefully, we can produce some concrete and practical answers that are acceptable to a wide set of stakeholders. A small group of enthusiastic XR-techies working in isolation cannot be expected to find all the right answers by themselves. For this to succeed we believe it is especially important that this working group engages with stakeholders outside the spatial computing sector and in different countries around the world.

  • Should OARC through what we develop together, try to protect the privacy of individuals both in countries where such protection is the intent of the law (like the GDPR laws of EU) as well as in countries where the law does not or where authorities do not respect the privacy of its citizens?
  • Should we attempt to make mechanisms to protect Intellectual Property Rights a fundamental part of the technical infrastructure?
  • Can and should our technical ecosystem provide mechanisms to protect and uphold human rights or is that a too tall order?
  • Is a more pragmatic approach acceptable, where our ecosystem is set up to protect human rights in countries where they are generally respected and in other countries they merely provide technical interoperability and standardization?
  • Should we attempt to put up “firewalls” around countries that respect human rights in spatial computing so that “rogue” countries cannot abuse the Open AR Cloud ecosystem to violate the same human rights?
  • Is stated guidelines and advice on best practices from OARC sufficient or should we propose new rules for compliance or advocate for creating new regulations and laws?
  • Do we need to specify new categories of human rights for spatial computing?
  • Should OARC take an active part in defining where to draw the line/ find the balance between the right to privacy and freedom of expression and the need to protect individual and public safety as well as national security in the realm of spatial computing or would that be going to far for an organization such as ours?
  • What is the best method for this working group to address questions like these?
  • Should the working group focus start with the least controversial issues before tackling harder ones?

8

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User Experience, Accessibility, and Safety

The purpose of the user experience and accessibility working group is to advocate the design of inclusive and accessible AR experiences. The group will take on the role of championing users by collating, reviewing and promoting best practices for the design of AR experiences.

Initial work

  • Design the Open AR cloud website ensuring it meets accessibility standards
  • Design the brand experience for Open AR cloud
  • Collate and review pre-existing best practice guidelines for UX of AR
  • Sharing research and guidelines with wider AR, Design and Development communities
  • exploring psychological and physiological impacts of spatial and perceptual computing


Safety challenge:

Whether on a smartphone or through mixed reality goggles projecting graphics onto the world alters our perception of our surroundings to a greater or lesser extent and could put users at an obvious risk of not paying sufficient attention to things around them. Things that could pose a physical danger to them such as traffic, a cliff or perhaps just some stairs should probably always be noticeable to the user, but what is a practical way to achieve that? Finding good solutions and guidelines to solve such problems would be of great value for the primary user interface of the spatial computing era.

9

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Open Source, Open Data and Open R&D

Open Source

It is hard to overstate the positive impact Open Source development has had on the modern world and the modern economy. Likewise, we think further open source development will greatly benefit the Open AR Cloud ecosystem in particular as well as spatial computing in general. Many actors in the XR or spatial computing sector are already contributing to or relying on a range of open source projects. This working group is intended to identify and engage with relevant open source projects or start new open source projects that can help underpin and strengthen the Open AR Cloud ecosystem.

Open Data and Open R&D

This working group will play a major role in catalyzing international collaborative R&D programs around AR-Cloud related challenges such as, how to enable better decentralization of data and control, security, privacy and machine learning for AR/spatial computing. Also catalyzing applied research in areas such as Construction and Engineering (onsite BIM-AR), Smart Transportation, Utilities,  5G/Edge/IOT etc could be of great value by accelerating great use cases.

Many of our Founding Members work in applied research or academia and have extensive experience with big R&D programs. We could be in a position to influence and trigger government R&D spending (particularly in the EU but also elsewhere).

Suggestion for early work:

There is obviously a huge range of things to work on in the field of spatial computing. But one thing that could be of real practical benefit for many areas of research would be if this working groups could start an Open R&D and Open Data effort and make something like the following available as an R&D tool for everyone:

Game Engine based simulation and synthesis to:

  • Test and visualize through simulation the performance of AR-cloud systems when doing such things as relocalization and environment understanding (both semantics and geometry of surroundings). Should be able to simulate actual devices, and synthesize realistic sensor data streams obtained from simulated environments where you can easily change lightning conditions, seasons, buildings, presence and behavior of people, animals vehicles and do “perfect” repeats to compare the performance of new algorithms and new system components. Maybe it could even simulate 5G networking and emulate edge computing infrastructure? NVIDIAs AutoSim is a good template for this approach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=booEg6iGNyo
  • Synthesize large high quality labeled open datasets for machine learning: Pixel perfect semantic maps, depth map images, object labels etc. This would be a game changer.

To ORCS knowledge this approach is getting traction in the field of autonomous driving but is still quite underdeveloped in the context of AR-cloud technology. If it isn’t we would love to hear about the tools that might be out there. This working group could make a difference by helping to develop and improve such tools and datasets.

There are of course any number of other potentially great Open R&D and Open Data projects that could or should be looked into by OARC. We encourage the participants in the working group to be creative and ambitious.

10

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Organization and Community

We are just beginning our journey together. This group will both try to help the members of the organization work together efficiently and produce great output while maintaining a good spirit over time. This group will also help OARC reach out to stakeholders in the spatial computing sector as well as society as a whole. We would like to make our voice heard and to reach as many people as possible with our message and build widespread support for our mission. We would like to attract new members and partners and raise funds that allow us to do work, projects, and events in the years to come to try and fulfill our long-term mission.

Initially this group might help to establish a "Working Group Coordination Team" that will:

  • Survey participants on the experience of the Working Group Kickoff event + Collect info on who was elected to what positions and what decisions and plans were made.
  • Help working groups become successful teams where people enjoy contributing their experience, time and effort
  • Prepare systematic and efficient methods and routines for the working groups to communicate and distribute the results of their work.
  • Help the working group coordinate and synchronize their effort so that we avoid groups moving in different incompatible direction and doing double work.

11

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Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and decentralized apps for AR-Cloud

Distributed Ledger Technology, often referred to as "Blockchain" could hold the key to power and protect the future of the Open AR Cloud ecosystem.  This group will meet regularly and work diligently to define, develop and deploy tangible, DLT related standards, technology, strategies and solutions in cooperations with our many partners in this field.  We think this might have the potential to dramatically improve the privacy, security, and integrity of the new era of spatial computing.

We will attempt to apply DLT to address immediate Open AR Cloud infrastructure needs, including a global spatial index/DNS; public and private digital content registries; and a collaborative, open geo/spatial data repository featuring immutable proof of identity, location, work, and finite control over contributions from billions of users and devices.  The group will also cover DLT based cryptocurrencies, data collection, protection, and regulatory issues.  We will work to ensure a vibrant AR Cloud economy with fluid, low-cost execution of secure, location-based smart contracts and transactions for both real and virtual goods and services.

We seek participation, partnerships and close collaboration with industry experts, corporate partners, DLT startups, related industry organizations, and government stakeholders...working together to put the world on Distributed Ledger.