Ori Inbar is the Co-Founder and CEO of Augmented Reality.ORG, a global non-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing augmented reality (AR). He is also the producer of Augmented World Expo –going on now in Santa Clara, CA, where some enterprise focused companies like Epson will be unveiling their latest products in this space.
Epson is on its second-generation of the Moverio BT-200 AR smart glasses and will launch new apps for the device. The company is also sponsoring a wearable hackathon event at the conference for Android developers and designers who want to explore the most innovative and useful applications for cutting-edge augmented reality glasses.
“More and more augmented and virtual reality companies continue to use smart glasses to create enterprise applications that improve worker efficiency in a wide array of vertical markets,” said Anna Jen, director, New Ventures/New Products for Epson America.
Top 5 Trends
In fact, wearables are predicted to quickly change business and AR will play a significant role in advancing the value of these devices. To that end, Inbar laid out 5 trends where this is already starting to happen.
From Gimmick to Value: The first trend we noticed in the past year is that augmented reality has made a transformation from a gimmick to a valuable solution. From a girl jumping on a marker – to applications that help in retail, healthcare and sports, training, entertainment, and many other fields that are being revolutionized with AR and Wearables.
From Mobile to Wearable: The iPhone and Android smartphones enabled the masses to experience AR for the first time. And once we experienced it, we wanted more. For years we have been waiting for real AR glasses to arrive that will unleash AR experiences at an order of magnitude better—hands free, always on, making us better at anything we do…we have to remember these are 1.0 products (some would say beta), and mobile platforms will continue to serve the majority of AR experiences for another couple of years until glasses reach the inflection point.
From Consumer to Enterprise: This is the most significant trend I am seeing this year. The industry is clear eyed, and recognizes that until the masses adopt glasses in a few years—the big revenue drivers are currently in the enterprise. Enterprise AR is exploding with projects spanning from training, to warehouse picking, to the field service, to security, and many other areas which are driven by Fortune 1000 companies who must find new ways to improve business processes.
From GPS to 3D–fying the World: The first AR demo on a smartphone in 2008 showed a castle on a hill in Austria with an info bubble extracted from Wikipedia. That was based on GPS and it wowed the world. But when trying it in urban areas—or worse indoors—many realized GPS is not accurate enough and it significantly detracted from the experience and turned people away. With recent technological advances all of a sudden we can have in our hands the tools to map and sense the world in 3D. 3D depth cameras, miniature lasers, motion, sound, and signal sensors are tracking us and our surroundings and enable computers to see and understand the world more accurately than ever. This is a hugely important factor to make the world a more interactive place.
The New New Interface: All of the above trends are ushering the biggest change of all—computers are disappearing onto our bodies and into the environment and a new interface is emerging. Multi touch was heralded a few years ago as the new interface. But when you break away from the screen, beyond touching a limited 2D surface, there is a potential for a much more intuitive experience.