Published in April 2019
Xiuquan Qiao, Pei Ren, Schahram Dustdar, Ling Liu, Huadong Ma, and Junliang Chen
Mobile augmented reality (Mobile AR) is gaining increasing attention from both academia and industry. Hardware-based Mobile AR and App-based Mobile AR are the two dominant platforms for Mobile AR applications. However, hardware-based Mobile AR implementation is known to be costly and lacks flexibility, while the App-based one requires additional downloading and installation in advance and is inconvenient for cross-platform deployment. In comparison, Web-based AR (Web AR) implementation can provide a pervasive Mobile AR experience to users thanks to the many successful deployments of the Web as a lightweight and cross-platform service provisioning platform. Furthermore, the emergence of 5G mobile communication networks has the potential to enhance the communication efficiency of Mobile AR dense computing in the Web-based approach. We conjecture that Web AR will deliver an innovative technology to enrich our ways of interacting with the physical (and cyber) world around us. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art technology and existing implementations of Mobile AR, as well as enabling technologies and challenges when AR meets the Web. Furthermore, we elaborate on the different potential Web AR provisioning approaches, especially the adaptive and scalable collaborative distributed solution which adopts the osmotic computing paradigm to provide Web AR services. We conclude this paper with the discussions of open challenges and research directions under current 3G/4G networks and the future 5G networks. We hope that this paper will help researchers and developers to gain a better understanding of the state of the research and development in Web AR and at the same time stimulate more research interest and effort on delivering life-enriching Web AR experiences to the fast-growing mobile and wireless business and consumer industry of the 21st century.