Geo Week News

July 21, 2021

Hexagon’s acquisition of Immersal brings location tech and AR closer together

Working in AR has the potential of providing more context for location-based information across a variety of applications.

Augmented reality’s potential for the enterprise continues to grow, with companies investing in new and state-of-the-art AR capabilities that can complement their existing enterprise applications. This type of relationship can be seen clearly in the news that Hexagon AB has announced the acquisition of an innovator in the augmented reality application creator space, Immersal Oy.

Hexagon AB has created digital reality solutions (including sensors, software and autonomous technologies), and have been focused on applying these digital tools to work in industrial, infrastructure and other industries where safety and quality are paramount. 

AR applications can enhance real-world experiences by adding information to a user’s visual perception with the display of digital content in the physical world. AR’s ability to weave context-specific, 3D information into physical spaces provides opportunities to save time, improve performance and reduce costs across a wide range of industries and applications – from surveying, construction, public safety and manufacturing to maintenance, training and navigation applications. 

The Immersal SDK (software development kit) allows developers to merge and “anchor” digital content to real-world objects – with precise accuracy to their actual location in the physical space – by enabling a user’s mobile device to locate and orient itself in the surrounding physical world using machine-readable maps. The maps, which are used for visual positioning, are constructed from image data supported by various mapping devices (including mobile phones) and hosted in the Immersal Cloud Service.

After the acquisition, the Helsinki-based Immersal will operate under Hexagon’s Geosystems division. For Immersal users and developers, the company states that they intend to allow “all services to continue as usual” which includes their free developer licensing. 

For Hexagon, this may provide a fast track for the data and location-based information that they specialize in to get in front of users faster and in a more immersive way.

“Hexagon has long been a leader in delivering smart digital realities that combine inputs from reality capture sensors with advanced visualization software and tools to enable remote, location-based intelligence. This acquisition puts the power of these insights into the hands of those on-site, enhancing their field of view with superimposed digital information, meaning they can literally do more with what they see,” said Hexagon President and CEO Ola Rollén in a company press release. 

“Direct access to information about an asset – while working with that asset – including step-by-step instructions on how to repair it, can streamline maintenance tasks while reducing material waste and re-work.”

Immersal has years of experience developing AI and machine learning-based spatial anchor technology, which “anchors” virtual objects or models for viewing on different devices in the same position and orientation. This unlocks a wide variety of location-based solutions and services – from consumer-oriented augmented reality applications in gaming and media and entertainment to digital twin solutions on an enterprise scale. Immersal’s technology can map large spaces – both indoors and outdoors – and, unlike other solutions, works both offline on-device and online using the Cloud Service.

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