A confluence of technological advances and evolving business needs has resulted in a tipping point for smart glasses in the enterprise. Gartner’s projected spending of $81.5 billion for 2021 is an 18% increase from $69 billion in 2020. What’s driving this ramp up?
One theory is there’s always been interest—it’s just been a matter of time until augmented reality (AR) technology met or exceeded everyone’s lofty expectations. Today’s smart glasses are a form of AR that bridge the gap between physical and digital capabilities. They resemble normal glasses, except that they’re equipped with a projection screen and a webcam plus sensors and internet connectivity, enabling a hands-free experience.
As eyewear materials have become lighter and stronger, screens have become sharper, and networks have become faster, increasing numbers of organizations have begun to deploy smart glasses in new ways to make money, save money, and solve real-world problems in a fraction of the time.
While market analysts tend to focus on the future of AR and wearables, enterprises are far more concerned with what this technology can do for their bottom line now. Let’s explore how Epson Moverio smart glasses not only deliver on the promise of AR, they raise the bar for enterprise use.
The here and now
Perhaps the ultimate litmus test for smart glasses in the enterprise is do they make everyone who wears them more productive? When you look deeper into advancements in smart glasses adoption—beyond the eyewear itself—other factors help set the stage for wider enterprise use:
- Remote collaboration. Organizations are learning to bridge employee knowledge and experience gaps by connecting remote workers with in-house experts, which can help with increasing KPIs such as first-time fix rate, decreasing down-time and improving customer satisfaction and productivity.
- Higher productivity. The deployment of ultra-fast Wi-Fi, along with edge and cloud computing in industrial settings, enables a media-rich form of AR featuring recorded and live video streams plus two-way voice conversations.
- Resource savings. While travel has been restricted in the past year or so, providing on-site, in-person customer service has been difficult if not impossible for enterprises. As a result, companies leaned on remote assistance and collaboration more than ever before. Going forward, this trend may continue because it can enable companies to save on travel and other related expenses.
Smart glasses can also change and improve the way many technical tasks are performed. When a field engineer diagnoses or repairs a complex piece of equipment, he or she might be required to keep their eyes on the task at hand. But what if they simultaneously need to check with a specialist on their team or a supplier who can offer additional guidance? Without smart glasses that’s mostly a non-starter; even though a field or enterprise worker can connect with experts by phone, the expert can’t see what they see and much time can be wasted trying to explain what’s going on.
When an engineer on the scene wears Moverio smart glasses equipped with two-way communication including a high-resolution display and an autofocus HD camera, they can connect with a specialist, share their field of vision and obtain guidance and expertise as needed. Of course, it’s not just for engineers — anyone who wears Moverio smart glasses can easily integrate digital information with the world around them.
Similarly, smart glasses as second screen displays foster “just-in-time” learning, in which employees acquire new skills on the fly to help them meet immediate challenges. Workflow guidance solutions work with Moverio smart glasses to display learning materials in a variety of formats including documents, videos, and product instructions. This technology can improve employee learning curves and reduces the risk of costly errors in the field.
Coming into focus
Epson Moverio smart glasses are gaining traction in part because the technology is becoming increasingly more effective, efficient and affordable. With innovative Si-OLED technology and dual-binocular displays fashioned into a comfortable design, wearable, second-screen solutions are finally at hand.
Even as smart glasses gain steam in the enterprise, recent news suggests that consumer rollouts will also spark more interest in this technology. Together with VR, the market is projected to escalate significantly, according to IDC. And soon, a significant number of US workers will use smart glasses in their jobs, predicts Forrester.
Unlike the consumer tech space, where style trumps utility, the business case for enterprise adoption will turn on several key performance benchmarks including mean time to resolution, boosting operational efficiency, employee training, and reducing labor and travel costs.
Harder to quantify is the oft-cited idea that continuous learning is table stakes for sustained careers in today’s enterprise. The skills a worker is hired for aren’t necessarily the skills that will be required from them in five or 10 years. Whether a worker is a specialist or a generalist, odds are they’ll be asked by their employers to adopt new skills or try new tasks. If smart glasses can help accelerate employee learning curves, they will prove invaluable to enterprises.
A hands-free, see-what-I-see experience is a game changer particularly for service, support and training applications, one that can accelerate and elevate learning in the enterprise. Epson Moverio supplies a transparent display which is pivotal to workers who want to keep their eyes on their work even when they’re simultaneously viewing training videos, referencing product manuals or collaborating with specialists.
Moverio smart glasses empower workers to achieve breakthrough gains in knowledge and productivity. The AR technology enables workers to move out of classrooms and directly into real-world projects where they can make an immediate difference. Enterprises can save on travel expenses and simultaneously pair experienced and inexperienced workers to help bridge knowledge gaps and improve business workflows.
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