he anticipated enormous growth of AR and MR applications and devices in consumer markets and enterprises, have raised several questions regarding the potential threats associated with the business and user privacy and security.
With an estimated 52 million smart glasses due to be in use by the year 2024, and hundreds of millions more smartphone devices used for AR content consumption, the exploitable market is sizeable. The significance of this potential exploitable market and related operating environments is more notable considering the expanding and vast use cases leveraging AR in healthcare, utilities, logistics, industrial and manufacturing.
The high value and quantity of data flowing through these broad markets has the potential to make new AR implementation a target. According to ABI Research, a global technology market advisory firm, revenue in areas relating to security, such as platforms and licensing systems integration, IT spend, and connectivity will exceed US$40 billion in 2024, with considerable efforts in privacy and security across these areas.
Research Analyst at ABI Research, Eleftheria Kouri stated:
"Ensuring trustworthiness and reliability of AR/MR applications and devices are essential to drive adoption and encourage scale deployment of AR/MR solutions in enterprise verticals. Network, application, or device weaknesses are not only risky due to the data leak or unauthorised access potential, but also due to the interruption that can happen in workflow and business efficiency. At the same time, attacks that target overlay content can mislead users, risk user safety, and data security through phishing and misdirection attempts."
The AR market can leverage security techniques and data protection policies which are applied in other connected devices, such as encryption and data anonymisation techniques to address some existing and well-understood privacy and security scenarios, but Kouri explains:
"However, existing regulations and security standards need to be adjusted to meet the unique needs of virtual environments and address risks associated with aspects like continuous space mapping, uncertain content ownership, confusing UI and UX and define under which circumstances and which users can access virtual content in public and private locations,"
AR headsets and smartphone devices will see significant growth in usage over the next 5 years. Kouri concluded by saying:
"Upcoming AR/MR headsets will be richer in terms of sensors and data capture capabilities, while smartphones and tablets will be equipped with dedicated sensors for more precise tracking. Greater adoption means more active and potentially vulnerable devices, which do not necessarily slot neatly into existing security infrastructure and implementations. Consequently, the need for dedicated AR/MR security standards, practices, and regulation will become more than essential in the coming years".