About 30 years ago, the first smartphone was invented. This technology quickly grew to take over the world of connectivity, and is now the most widely used digital tool across the globe. Now, augmented reality is expanding just as rapidly – and top tech leaders like Facebook, Google, and Apple are paving the way.
AR glasses are what comes after the smartphone, and we’re seeing these wearable devices across social media, advertising, gaming, retail, and more.
Just as the smartphone changed the way we handle the simplest daily tasks, AR glasses are becoming the next big thing in mobile connectivity. Read on to learn more about this explosive trend, and how you can use AR glasses in your daily life.
What are AR Glasses?
Remember the Google Glass boom in 2013? This was the first experience much of the public had with this now commonplace type of wearable equipment. Google’s flagship product is back on the market, but it isn’t the only option available for those who want to experience this immersive technology.
Augmented reality glasses are worn as standard eyeglasses, and the overlapping lenses allow the user to see digital information in their direct line of sight. By superimposing virtual information over the physical information in their view field, users can walk around and live daily life while also checking messages, posting on social media, viewing navigation directions, and more.
But, how does this technology truly augment our reality? These wearable tools include a wide variety of features that can stitch together a composite that accurately represents the wearer’s digital and physical worlds.
How do AR Glasses Work?
What if you could scroll through social media without taking your eyes off the menu at the coffee shop? Or, take a conference call while you’re on the treadmill? With the level of discrete and flexible options on the market, the expanse of functions and features are endless.
There are a variety of mobile apps on the market, like Pokemon Go, that give a fragmented augmented reality experience without the use of wearable tech. However, AR glasses provide a granular level of detail regarding movement, location tracking, visual elements, and more.
AR glasses capture a portion of the outside environment using a connected camera, or by linking to footage from your mobile phone. That information is then used to calibrate the user’s physical position in order to determine where overlay information can be displayed.
This focal point is also used to display dynamic content as the environment and digital data changes in real time. All of this information is then combined to create a full-picture view using real-world images and AR digital data.
Some common features that will be built into virtually every AR glasses product on the market include:
- Computer-generated content
- QR code scanner
By tracking and adapting to the user’s most delicate movements and actions, AR glasses are able to keep up with the wearer like no other connected mobile device.
Additionally, immersive technology is effectively creating a hybrid world for individuals to safely and efficiently perform a multitude of digital tasks and commands.
AR glasses are changing the way we can multitask with mobile devices, while enjoying other forms of media at the same time. Just like we might use our smartphone to research a movie we’re watching simultaneously, it’s possible to use AR glasses for the same reason – but with a higher level of discretion and presence in the current moment.
The average American has seven screens, and we’ve become conditioned to use multiple screens simultaneously to make the most out of every second we spend online. AR glasses are clearing some of the smoke by giving us a way to find new information while giving full attention to what’s actually happening in front of us.
Who is Leading the AR Glasses Industry?
The AR glasses industry isn’t just located in the American commercial market. The industry is expected to reach a 98.3% CAGR in China from 2020 to 2027. Japan and Canada markets are also growing rapidly, but American consumers and brands do make up about 31% of the current market share.
From 2012 to now, we’ve seen a huge influx of revolutionary wearable devices across virtually every price point. Now, full-time digital information overlays can be synced with your iOS or Android phone to process everything you need from both devices. Additionally, this level of compatibility can be extended to cloud-based accounts and secure file storage through local or saved networks.
Apple, Microsoft, and Google have their own wearable AR glasses on the market, but they aren’t the only brands in the forefront. Niantic, Zappar, Lucyd, Magic Leap, and more brands are playing a major role in the growth of wearable AR tech as an entire sphere.
Heading into Q2, we’re sure to see even more brands pop up across the 2021 technology market. The AR glasses industry also includes auxiliary devices and programs, such as mobile apps and tethered headsets. Additionally, VR devices are also being developed to include a hybrid of features ranging from augmented to mixed to virtual reality environments.
The expansion of this innovative sphere is facilitating more affordable pricing for the mainstream consumer, largely as a result of increased competition across the board. Now, it’s possible for users to find an interconnected headset or pair of AR glasses for less than $500.
For corporations or larger organizations that want to fully digitize their remote work environments, there are models that reach prices of more than $3,500 that come with high-resolution displays, long battery life, impressive refresh rates, and more.
How Can You Use AR on a Smartphone?
Have you ever used the filter features on Instagram or Snapchat? That is one example of augmented reality, and there are a few key ways to use your phone in this capacity. Any time you’re using your phone to project or display digital information over your real-life view, you’re utilizing augmented reality.
From mobile apps to hardwired program integration and cloud-based systems, there are a variety of ways for the standard consumer to use this AR smartphone technology on a daily basis.
Furniture and home staging is one of the ways augmented reality is being used in a practical setting. IKEA is a top brand that is leading the virtual furniture buying industry, but it is not the only resource available for those who want to try before they buy.
AR technology is also being used to help customers try out specific SKUs in the beauty, fashion, and even content creation spheres. Now, buying multiple versions of one product to decide between colors, sizes, materials, and more could be a thing of the past.
Using virtual AR apps to test out consumer products is effectively helping retail brands to reduce returns while boosting customer referrals and retention rates. Additionally, many shoppers are choosing the brands they shop with by using AR connectivity as a selected criterion.
Are AR Glasses Better than Other Gadgets?
The smartwatch changed the world and created a new level of seamless interconnectivity across the tech sphere. Then, biometrics trackers that analyze your screen time, sleep schedules, and even steps taken throughout the day have become a normal part of the daily American routine. AR glasses are shaping up to take the same stride toward mainstream acceptance across virtually every demographic.
While AR glasses are growing in the consumer sphere, they aren’t quite surpassing other wearables on the market. But, the growth of VR technology and augmented experiences across other devices is actually helping to push the AR glasses market to the top of the techy list.
As AR developers create stylish, minimal, and accessible glasses for the masses, many consumers are starting to prefer this form of wearable over the previously more popular watches, wristbands, and even standalone mobile apps.
The smaller and more powerful AR glasses become, the more people will be donning these futuristic wearables for standard everyday use.
Will AR Glasses Replace Smartphones?
Could you imagine a world where the computers we carry in our pockets could be replaced by VR glasses in the real world? As it stands today, many AR apps and programs are used in collaboration with mobile smartphones and external devices. However, there are a few key aspects of the process to keep in mind before making the permanent switch.
Experts expect this form of wearable tech to eventually surpass the use of the smartphone, in as little as 10 years. Infotainment is the new normal, and consumers are looking for more and more ways to integrate their favorite forms of media in the tasks they need to complete on a regular basis.
This type of hands-free content consumption frees up the users ability to manipulate digital images, and effectively multitask in real time. Rather than completing work, personal, or entertainment tasks with one hand, they can use wearables for a higher level of control and sensory information processing.
AR Smart Glasses and Remote Workers
In the current work-from-home boom, many employers are utilizing this technology to boost productivity levels, reduce costs, and facilitate favorable work conditions regardless of a worker’s home office environment.
By facilitating a streamlined digital hub for remote workers to collaborate and communicate on current and future processes, AR gear promotes peak productivity and profitability in a few ways.
Some of the most important AR functions for online workers include:
- Voice commands: Truly hands-free connectivity and device usage with synchronized instructions, commands, and AI-enabled tasks simplifying a wide range of project types.
- Training and onboarding: Carrying out HR functions is easier than ever, especially since the majority of the workforce is handling this process from their home computers. Throughout the entire employee lifecycle, this function is giving all levels of staff and management a new approach to professional growth and development across virtually every industry.
- Process improvement and reporting: One of the most important things to consider in any workplace is how teams continue to improve existing processes and innovate over time. Using VR glasses at work has been proven to improve the efficiency of all employees by providing 24/7 cloud-based access to any information, files, or communications needed on the job.
- Safety and security: Not only is data theft on the rise, but physical accidents and downtime caused by workplace incidents is still posing a threat to the livelihood of the entire workforce. Using digital modeling and virtual workspaces with AR glasses can significantly reduce workplace accidents, while giving field workers a secure way to keep workflows running smoothly from any location.
Digital workflows, increased transparency, and dynamic real-time reporting is giving remote employees a whole new look at the way work can be completely online. From enhanced data security using biometric scanning to improved resource distribution by digitizing the entire work environment, the possibilities are endless.
Smart AR glasses are finding their way into many spheres and industries, from automotive to retail to real estate. Improving the skills of the workforce while reducing redundancies and promoting peak innovation are certainly changing the way we interact with each other in a digital capacity.
Whether you’re using AR glasses to get around, communicate with your friends, or build a render from scratch – you’ll be seeing a lot more of this revolutionary technology in the upcoming years.
AR glasses are changing the way we stream, search, speak, and simulate work environments. Keep an eye out for this growing technological solution to see why AR glasses are what comes after the smartphone