Telefónica and UC3M’s augmented reality project for the home, selected for AVI 2022

The augmented reality project for the home, developed by Telefónica and the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), has been selected to be presented at the AVI 2022 (International Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces), an international conference which attracts leading Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) researchers and which will take place from the 6th to the 10th of June in Rome.

The project has been developed by the Immersive Technologies LabStudio, a team made up of the UC3M Interactive Systems research group and Telefónica’s Digital Home experts. LabStudio has developed a proof of concept with augmented reality (AR) which optimises people’s interaction with the digital home, allowing the user to understand how the Wi-Fi works in their home. In addition, the system recommends the Wi-Fi router’s optimal location.

AR experiences allow us to materialise and interact with all the senses and with a large amount of information which is invisible as it is embedded in the devices around us and in the different environments we inhabit. However, so far, graphical or textual information, provided by conventional network analysers or instructions from a remote operator, is complex for most people.

The Telefónica and UC3M team’s project takes key aspects into account, such as the inhabitants of each home being able to see a Wi-Fi signal coverage map and other contextual data that helps them better understand the infrastructure around them, perceiving the services that are available through intuitive visualisations.

"Augmented reality can improve many processes by making the invisible visible, but responsible innovation requires understanding how people perceive this technology and what expectations or fears they have. Working with the Telefónica team has allowed us to focus on a real use case but at the same time apply a research approach which puts people, in our case families, at the centre of the innovation. It has been a challenge for us to combine different ways of working in order to achieve results very quickly", says Paloma Díaz, professor and researcher in the UC3M IT Department.

"Our goal was to improve the user experience and augmented reality allows us to simplify processes, such as the one provided by this solution, compared to other currently available solutions which are more complex", says Antonio Guzmán, director of Digital Home at Telefónica. "As we always like to say, it’s about making technology more human and making people’s lives easier. We’re very satisfied with the results obtained and, what’s more, we believe that reducing the distance between companies and universities is crucial for growing in talent and impact on society".

University-company binomial The digital revolution is changing the way that new knowledge is created, developed and transferred and, therefore, how we innovate. Today, more than ever, connected spaces are needed to share knowledge and learning, that is why it is vital that companies and universities work together in order to generate impactful developments.

After many years of collaboration with the university and great results, Telefónica has gone a step further and has decided to explore new forms of cooperation and partnerships through its Open Innovation Campus area, whose mission is to be a two-way bridge between the academy and business. As a result of these synergies, in 2021 the Immersive Technologies LabStudio was created, made up of researchers from the UC3M IT Department and Telefónica experts for the development of projects.

UC3M maintains relationships with companies and institutions, with the aim of transferring its R&D and identifying the demands for solutions or challenges to accelerate business innovation. This collaboration between the university and the business sector is carried out through contracts, chairs, R&D&I centres, meetings and forums, or its own programmes such as Lab4pymes. LabStudio

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