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Major Takeaways:

  • Analysts are forecasting Smart Glasses shipments will cross the 1 billion units mark around the end of this decade
  • Fortune 500 companies such as Walmart, Boeing, Raytheon, Verizon, SAP and many others have started to realize that hands-free see-through AR glasses are a technology that can take many of their business processes to the next level
    • It can help improve employee efficiency, enhance training and ongoing communication, reduce nonproductive time and rework, shrink decision time frames, minimize exposure to hazardous conditions, decrease travel time and more
  • Gartner analysts have estimated that smart glasses could save companies up to $1 billion per year by 2017, through displaying instruction guides, relaying photos and videos, and interacting with remotely located experts

From the Six15 Technologies article:

Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave somewhere for the last year or two, you have heard the news loud and clear. AR smart glasses are set to soar. In fact, almost all analysts are forecasting Smart Glasses shipments will cross the 1 billion units mark around the end of this decade. That’s just 54 months from the time of this writing, that’s not very far away.  So, let’s take a look at some of the AR smart glasses research and where it’s pointing us.

ENTERPRISE WILL LEAD THE WAY

The Enterprise market is leading the way In the past 18 months, the most significant trend in the Augmented Reality industry has been the huge interest in AR solutions for enterprises. Fortune 500 companies such as Walmart, Boeing, Raytheon, Verizon, SAP and many others have started to realize hands-free see-through AR glasses is a technology that can take many of their business processes to the next level. It can help improve employee efficiency, enhance training and ongoing communication, reduce nonproductive time and rework, shrink decision time frames, minimize exposure to hazardous conditions, decrease travel time and more. We’re seeing business cases that could help improve safety and work efficiency for an Oil and Gas company showing cost savings that could bring as much as $200 million in benefits. Gartner analysts have estimated that smart glasses could save companies up to $1 billion per year by 2017, through displaying instruction guides, relaying photos and videos, and interacting with remotely located experts.

Additionally, Fortune 500 companies are pouring investments into hardware and software for customized solutions in field services, operations maintenance, logistics management, manufacturing processes and more. That has driven many startups (hardware and software) to shift their focus to enterprise verticals.

 JUMPING IN GLASSES FIRST

When we look at venture activity across both consumer and enterprise markets of numerous companies in the wearable space we see nearly a 4x ratio of enterprise to consumer investments but also an increase in volume and size of deals in the enterprise investment market over the years .

Another reason for the current trend towards enterprise is that AR Glasses still need some time to scale production, and fine-tune the size, cost, and style of the product. Coincidently, the enterprise market is more forgiving to shape and style (below a certain threshold). If it improves productivity or safety of a desk-less worker’s performance – it’s easier for a corporation to make the case to use AR glasses. It takes much more to convince a consumer who is looking to use it for entertainment, recreation, or travel and is more concerned with lifestyle choices. This trend is reminiscent of the emergence of smartphones: Blackberry, the first mass market smartphone, was initially bulky and lacked style, and yet was very successful at capturing the enterprise market, before the iPhone changed everything. Focusing on blazing a trail in a niche enterprise market is a wise approach for any AR Glasses company

Augmented_Reality_Smart_Glasses_Market_2015__1__pdf

Interestingly, AR Glasses displays require significantly less cost and energy, which in the long run makes them a more sustainable product than Smartphones. Of course, any market can be disrupted at any time – but why wait when all the pieces are already on the table? Also, as the market matures, and early winners continue to emerge, the big shake up is expected to culminate by 2016 with a series of acquisitions and mergers. The next giant will be crowned then. Stay tuned, that’s just a few months away!