Remote AR Technical Assistance Platform Gets ARCore Support

Updated03/20/2018, 10:10am PT: Corrected spelling of Scott Montgomerie's name.

Scope AR continues to improve the Remote AR augmented reality technical assistance platform. The company today announced that it adopted Google ARCore 1.0 to extend the capabilities of Remote AR to a much wider range of devices, which means enterprise customers can now use Scope AR’s advanced tech support tools without deploying specialized hardware. 

Scope AR’s Remote AR application is a handy tool for live, on-site technical assistance. With a connected device such as a tablet, smartphone, smartglasses, or AR headset, service technicians can start a live video chat with an off-site expert who can then guide them through unfamiliar procedures or troubleshoot problems. Remote experts can also draw and add 3D content in real-time to give technicians more context to make educated repairs.

The Remote AR tool isn’t new. We first encountered it in June 2016, when Scope AR released an update that enabled live chat alongside the live video feed. At the time, Remote AR required fiducial markers to provide object tracking. Last summer, Scope AR updated the app again to include markerless tracking options. The company adopted Wikitude’s SLAM Instant Tracking SDK, which enabled spatial tracking on standard Android devices. Scope AR also adapted Google’s now-defunct Tango platform for true 3D spatial tracking support. 

Shortly after Scope AR finished implementing Tango support, Google canned the project in favor of its ARCore SDK. Now that Tango is out of the picture, Scope AR turned to Google’s ARCore platform to fill the void.The company discussed its move to ARCore in a press release:

“Augmented reality is continuing to gain interest within enterprise organizations across a variety of applications as a result of its unique ability to deliver on-demand knowledge sharing between a remote user and expert,” said Scott Montgomerie, CEO, and co-founder of Scope AR. “Our support for ARCore demonstrates our commitment to support the most advanced technology available for Remote AR, so our customers have the best experience possible on devices being deployed in the workforce today.”

Montgomerie told us that he was disappointed to see Tango die—especially after expending the resources needed to support the platform. The 3D camera hardware in Tango devices features impressive spatial tracking that is hard to match with software. However, ARCore (and Apple’s ARKit) offer the company new opportunities to improve the Remote AR platform and expand its reach even further.

Remote AR is now almost completely platform agnostic. The software runs on Android and iOS devices, still supports Tango devices, and runs on Windows Surface devices. Scope AR also introduced support for Microsoft HoloLens and ODG’s R7 Smartglasses. Montgomerie said he is also keeping a close eye on Magic Leap, but he doesn’t expect enterprise customers to adopt the Magic Leap One headset.

Now that Remote AR supports ARCore, which is compatible with more than 100 million Android devices, we were curious to know if Score AR has plans to bring the Remote AR platform to consumers. With the substantial install base, we suspected that might be a future play for the company. Montgomerie doesn’t agree, though. Scope AR isn’t a middleman that connects technicians with experts. The company provides a platform for its customers to connect in-house experts with in-house technicians. Montgomerie said that he doesn’t have plans to leave the B2B market, though he suggested that there would be nothing stopping one of his company’s clients from using the Remote AR platform to provide public access to product experts.

The ARCore-enabled version of Remote AR is available today, and all existing license holders should have access automatically. Montgomerie also told us that Scope AR would have more news to announce in the next couple months. He said that ARCore opened doors for the company to build something new, but he wouldn’t elaborate one what that could be.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.