Smart glasses: Vision of the future

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Smart glasses: Vision of the future

Smart glasses: Vision of the future

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By delivering unlimited amounts of data to a user’s line of vision, the proliferation of smart glasses provides enormous potential to society.
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      Quantumrun Foresight
    • January 21, 2022

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    Smart glasses are thought to be the next big breakthrough in wearable technology and may soon permeate the lives of millions of consumers. Until now, delivering beneficial integrated digital features inside a person’s eyewear has proven difficult; however, several major technology players have stepped up to try and make smart glasses not just a reality, but a commercial success.

    Smart glasses context

    "Smart glasses" refers to eyewear technology that layers information onto a user's field of sight. The display can be reflected or projected on the lens of the glasses, or it can be a separate component that projects visuals directly into the user's eyes—the goal in both cases is to allow the user to view their environment with minimal distraction. 

    Starting with basic front-end displays, the technology has evolved and can now execute complicated computer-powered activities. Smart glasses, as opposed to fully immersive virtual reality headsets, provide users with a sense of the physical and digital worlds simultaneously, while delivering a far more natural experience. This is achieved via Heads Up Display Glasses (HUD), Augmented Reality (AR), or an Optical Head-Mounted Display (OHMD).

    The latest smart glass systems can provide automatic information about a target in sight, such as a product in the user's hands, information about the surrounding environment, and even facial recognition of a person approaching the user. The user can also communicate with the system via voice, signals, or finger sweeps.

    Disruptive impact 

    The smart glasses market is anticipated to grow by approximately $69.10 USD million between 2021 and 2025. Together with the prosthetic knowledge they provide, smart glasses can deliver an advantage to any industry where data is a competitive factor. The technology is also regarded as a highly effective tool for collaboration since it can provide a direct link between coworkers who may be stationed in various locations worldwide. 

    For example, managers and experts at a central office—by using smart glasses—could view work environments in the field via a live feed collected from the smart glasses of field workers’, and could give said workers tips, troubleshooting, or precise instructions that could minimize error rates.

    Similarly, the adoption of smart glasses in such situations allows increased staff efficiency and, with the creation of more engaging training programs, may help improve workers’ soft skills. 

    Major technology corporations are working together to move the smart glasses market forward and lay the groundwork for a new digital future, possibly one without the need for a smartphone. Corporate executives may need to prepare for a new era of transformative change, one in which even the very perception of reality is called into question.

    Applications for smart glasses

    Applications for smart glasses may include the ability to:

    • Heighten collaboration through integrated audio and video capabilities. 
    • Deliver real-time solutions to factories by improving the speed, productivity, compliance, and quality control of manufacturing assembly lines.
    • Supply specific, patient-related data to help health professionals make quick diagnostic decisions.
    • Enhance experiences in museums, theaters and tourist attractions by providing visitors with subtitling and instant information in the form of projected navigation directions and reviews. 
    • Provide athletes with real-time, in-game speed, distance, power data, and other indications.
    • Ensure that construction workers experience a safer, more productive hands-free workflow, while structural inspections can be conducted via remote solutions offered in real-time.
    • Provide a more immersive e-commerce experience.

    Questions to comment on

    • Considering the privacy concerns around smart glasses and their “always-on” cameras and microphones, do you think these devices will eventually become a mainstream wearable?
    • Would you use a pair of smart glasses and, if so, how would they benefit you?

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