Report from the Augmented Reality Skills Summit in Brussels

We at the AR-FOR-EU team have organized and conducted our first public event “Augmented Reality Skills Summit” in Brussels, Belgium on 24 May 2018.

Successful event

We aimed to discuss Augmented Reality as a subject in computer science education from the perspectives of Higher Education, Technology Industry and Educational Policy. Our well-prepared presentations, expert panelists, a professionally diverse and active audience, and a great local organization made the event a true success.

The program included three main sessions:

  • Presentation of our research on the teaching practices of Augmented Reality by Alexandra Klimova (ITMO University)
  • Presentation of the future market needs in the field of Augmented Reality by Andrey Karsakov (ITMO University) and Joanna Jesionkowska (Oxford Brookes University)
  • Panel Discussion with Experts chaired by Mikhail Fominykh (Molde University College)

Context and introduction

The event started with an introductory presentation by Judith Molka-Danielsen (Molde University College). Judith introduced the topic of the event as Augmented Reality skills for specialists and education of such specialists in formal Higher Education institutions. The topic should not be confused with using Augmented Reality technology for learning. This welcome session aimed also at introducing the AR-FOR-EU team who organized the event and acknowledging the funding for the AR-FOR-EU project provided by the European Commission under the Erasmus Plus program.

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Download slides of the Introductory presentation. Download slides of the Introductory presentation.

AR teaching practices

A report on the teaching practices of Augmented Reality was presented by Alexandra Klimova (ITMO University). Our research aimed to (a) identify and survey Higher Education institutions known to have Augmented Reality and related topics in their study programs and (b) to look at how Augmented Reality teaching is performed in these institutions. The presentation included the methodology we used to collect the data, inclusion and exclusion criteria, data analysis and the results. We identified 18 courses on Augmented Reality. For each relevant study program, we analyzed the academic level, number of credits, prerequisites, objectives, learning outcomes, teaching methodology and assessment criteria.

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Download slides of the Augmented Reality teaching practices presentation. Download slides of the Augmented Reality teaching practices presentation.

AR future marked needs

Our study on the future market needs in the field of Augmented Reality and the essential skills for Augmented Reality specialists was presented by Andrey Karsakov (ITMO University) and Joanna Jesionkowska (Oxford Brookes University).

Andrey presented the motivation for conducting this study and the methodology we applied to design the survey of the key skills for Augmented Reality specialists, including our analysis of job announcements that mention Augmented Reality and categorizing the skills required for these positions.

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Download slides of the Augmented Reality skills survey methodology. Download slides of the Augmented Reality skills survey methodology.

Joanna Jesionkowska (Oxford Brookes University) presented the survey itself and the results we collected up to the time of the summit. We collected 66 full responses from people representing 24 countries, including 18 European countries and Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Russian Federation, Taiwan and United States. Most of those who answered the survey represent organizations that employ Augmented Reality specialists: 80 % of the respondents stated that their organization have Augmented Reality specialists or it consider hiring such specialists, while 55% of respondents were involved in the process of recruitment of Augmented Reality specialists. The results demonstrate several interesting trends. For example, the bigger organization, the more often it has (or considers) hiring Augmented Reality specialists. Managers value the key skills more than professionals.

If the organization has or is hiring Augmented Reality specialists, they also think that there will be increased demand for the following skills:

  • AR/VR Development Skills
  • Advanced Computing Skills
  • Computer vision skills
  • Computer Graphics Skills
  • HCI Skills

The presentation slides contain a more detailed description of the results, including a graph for each of the 10 key skills for Augmented Reality specialists.

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Download slides of the Augmented Reality future market needs presentation. Download slides of the Augmented Reality future market needs presentation.

Demonstrations

During the lunch and networking session, an Augmented Reality artist Yann Deval demonstrated his ongoing project ATLAS. You can read more about this project at Vertigo Starts.

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Panel discussion

The panel discussion included short presentations by the experts and an open discussion with the audience. The panel was chaired by Mikhail Fominykh (Molde University College).

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Fridolin Wild from Oxford Brookes University made a short presentation on research, innovation and educational activities at his Performance Augmentation lab.

Ralf Klamma from RWTH Aachen University presented the work of his Mixed Reality research group (slides).

Sumathi Subramaniam from the European Commission provided an overview of the education policy at the European level. She focused on STEAM and Higher Education policies, reflecting her responsibility at DG Education and Culture at the European Commission. Sumathi highlighted the need for bridging the gap between Higher Education and the new rapidly developing areas of technology.

Natascha Rooda from Twnkls | Augmented Reality provided an industry perspective on the topic of the summit. She introduced the company and some examples of products, including Otolift Appstairs, Lamborghini Academy, and IKEA Place. Natascha concluded by discussing the challenges they have in hiring competent Augmented Reality developers, stressing the demand for such specialists that exists on the market (slides).

During the open discussion with the audience, the experts provided their opinions on a number of questions, including the context of Augmented Reality and if it is a key enabling technology, if Augmented Reality ecosystem is stable volatile, the European perspective to Augmented Reality skills –  where they are in the canon of digital skills, privacy, security and many more.

People and community

The biggest success of the event has been its active and engaged audience. This full-day event attracted 43 participants from Belgium, Check republic, Germany, France, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia and United Kingdom. Among them were teachers and researchers, university administrators and policy makers, representatives of technology companies and startups, and more. All sessions were followed with questions and debates and the breaks were full of discussions. So much interest proved the importance of topic in the community and the necessity of public discussion to advance Augmented Reality education.

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Local organization

The Augmented Reality Skills Summit was organized at DigitYser, the Brussels digital flagship where communities gather to learn, co-create and implement digital solutions focused on Data, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Virtual and Augmented Reality, DGPR and Blockchain. DigitYser provided their facilities, local support and logistics. Thanks to DigitYser, we had a spacious conference room and a lunch on a roof-terrace. All presentations have been filmed. AR-FOR-EU team felt at home at DigitYser.

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Materials

Codereality presentations

Download slides of the Augmented Reality teaching practices presentation.

Download slides of the Augmented Reality skills survey methodology.

Download slides of the Augmented Reality future market needs presentation.

Expert panel presentations

Ralf Klamma from RWTH Aachen University presented the work of his Mixed Reality research group (slides).

Natascha Rooda from Twnkls | Augmented Reality provided an industry perspective on the topic of the summit (slides).

Follow-up

The report on the teaching practices and the future market needs in the field of Augmented Reality will be published shortly. The video material from the event is being processed, and we will publish a video of each presentation as soon as they are ready.

Please, subscribe to our newsletter to receive these updates (bottom of this page). We will only share our major announcements, invitations to Augmented Reality events, courses, and materials as soon as they are released.

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