Augmented Reality Wearables - Next Big Thing or Fad?
12 Sep 2019
Augmented reality is experienced via a wearable glass device, head-mounted device, or smartphone applications. AR enhances the user experience by overlaying digital content on top of the real world.
Augmented reality is thought to have bigger potential for mass consumption compared to virtual reality and mixed reality. It has the backing of huge tech giants who are investing in both hardware and software developments.
It is likely that the adoption of AR technology will grow exponentially in the years to come. The potential for AR combined with wearables is huge. According to one report by new-gen apps, the number of AR glasses sold is expected to rise to 22.8 million units by 2022.
While the current use of AR is seen mostly in handled electronics such as smartphones and tablets, businesses attempt to enter the market with wearable solutions which include AR headsets, wristwear, and wearable robotics
Future generations of glasses are expected to offer wifi, stereo 3D graphics, and enhanced processing of images and audio. In line with the increasing development of AR wearables, developers will be launching innovative apps to grow both commercial and consumer markets.
Penetration of enterprise wearables
The hype around augmented reality and wearable devices is focused on consumer technology. As technologies mature, augmented reality will increase in value as an enterprise application and has already shown it's potential within 'smart' factories.
Enterprise wearables will also drive growth in the fields of retail, manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare. AR technologies make it possible for technicians, surgeons, and other skilled practitioners to access and interact hands-free with information that’s location-aware.
DHL and Ricoh in the Netherlands have successfully tested AR glasses and augmented reality in a warehouse. This pilot project used the technology to implement ‘vision picking’ in warehouse operations; workers were guided by graphics displayed in the smart glass.
The experiment proved that augmented reality can be used to add value to logistics and reduce errors in operations. The pilot resulted in a 25 percent efficiency increase during the picking process.
Augmented reality can’t live on handheld devices alone
Handheld devices like smartphones are a great stepping stone to allow consumers to familiarise themselves with augmented reality. But the biggest barrier to a fully-functional future AR is the idea that we cannot fully optimize our field of view on a handheld device.
In the long run, consumers will look for more out of augmented reality than any handheld device can offer. We can already see that people are embracing wearables and will continue to love them. It’s pretty clear that smart glasses will soon be mainstream.
Wearables will allow more consumers to enter worlds of infinite possibility, which can be utilised for gaming, videos, shopping, social media, and other
Smart wearables (augmented reality in particular) are still in the early stages of development, but the value and potential is clear. Its growth will still heavily depend on the way businesses and consumers apply and engage with this technology.
Who knows what the future holds for AR? The development of contact lenses and chip implants may even overtake that of wearables before we get to experience their true potential.