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The near Future of Augmented Reality – IV

AR glasses are no longer an unusual sight in manufacturing plants. Image credit: AGCO

4.  AR powered solutions for the enterprise

Google Glass were aimed at the mass market but they were probably too soon too little (both in content and in battery power). Additionally, they generated a strong wave of potential privacy violation concerns that contribute in their marginal uptake.

However, several professionals, from surgeons to blue collars in manufacturing and repairing, found these glasses a significant improvement in their daily work.

The situation as of 2019 has not changed significantly. A few catchy games have been released and have been attracted some niches but no real mass market uptake. On the contrary the uptake by professional is growing faster and faster. According to Forrester, 14 million American workers will be using AR glasses every day at their workplace.

Volvo blue collar worker using AR on the assembly line using Microsoft’s HoloLens. Image credit: Microsoft.

AR in industry is used in various phases, from design to prototyping, from assembly to maintenance and repair. Thyssen has its 24,000+ technicians using AR glasses in elevators repair (watch the clip), so does Boeing (probably the forerunner in application of AR to maintenance), General Electric and Mitsubishi. There are actually plenty of industries using AR and there are compnies specialised in AR software for industry, like iAR.

A growing trend, with a corresponding growing market that is expected to reach 6B$ by 2022 is the training on the job using AR. Indeed, learning on the job is probably the most effective way of learning since you learn by … doing, in addition to seeing and hearing. Psychologists have shown that seeing has a 10% effectiveness in learning, hearing 20% and doing can reach 90% (based on what people remember after a training session).

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.