Were you surprised at the revival of Google's pioneering Google Glass this week? For those of us who’ve been working on Augmented Reality (AR) technology solutions for enterprise customers, the announcement of Glass Enterprise Edition was almost inevitable. It’s also very welcome news.
It’s good because it underscores the demand for the kinds of great AR solutions we’ve been working on for the last five years - and the hardware to support them. The commitment of an industry leader such as Alphabet Inc. (the parent company of Google behind X, the "moonshot" spinout that has rolled out Glass Enterprise Edition) also sends a signal to potential enterprise customers that AR is ready for prime time.
As a company committed to supporting our AR applications - including our flagship AiR Enterprise product - on all leading smart glasses, we view the unveiling of Glass Enterprise Edition as a truly positive development. It helps grow the market for AR solutions and we support it.
The launch of Glass Enterprise Edition follows on from last month's report by International Data Corporation (IDC), predicting that dedicated AR and virtual reality headsets together are expected to grow quickly - from less than 10 million units in 2016 to almost 100 million units in 2021, with a 5-year compound annual growth rate of 57.7%. That’s a lot of headsets - and they won’t all be used for zapping aliens or exploring user-created virtual worlds.
In fact, IDC said in its report that it believes that "AR in general will have a much bigger impact overall on the industry" than the more consumer-focused virtual reality technology. That makes a lot of sense, particularly when you think about the constructive things that industrial enterprises can get done with the right AR solution.
"The big opportunity for dedicated AR headsets exists in the commercial segment,” predicted IDC in last month’s report. “A huge level of interest and investment is happening as we speak around vertical markets such as healthcare, manufacturing, field service workers, and design,"
Meanwhile, Forrester Research vice-president and principal analyst Kate Leggett predicted last year that AR technologies will be vital for the field service operations of large enterprises. She talked about AR as a way to achieve "skills democratization", and she is right - it’s an issue we see with many industrial enterprise customers we talk to.
In her prescient post last year, Kate Leggett sketched out a scenario where a company might need to schedule a field technician with the appropriate skills to a job site to fix a problem.
"Typically, this expertise is gained only from years on the job. Augmented reality (AR), which overlays digital information on the physical world, helps companies spread that knowledge more broadly," she said. "Smart glasses can help offsite workers (like in a home office) to see exactly what onsite technicians or customers see and tutor them through a job. They can also use screen annotations or gestures to highlight parts of interest or better communicate complicated instructions."
In addition to all the predictions from market researchers and analysts, we’ve been seeing the need for AR technologies for more than five years - and we’ve helped walk many enterprise customers through the steps needed to understand how AR can help them. This work culminated in the release of Atheer's unique, powerful and award-winning Atheer AiR Enterprise AR solution.
But you don’t have to be content with just reading about how AR can benefit industrial enterprises. Just get in touch with us and we’ll set up a demonstration of Atheer AiR Enterprise that will make AR real for you.