The opportunities and challenges for using AR glasses
COVID-19 has catalyzed the creative landing of AR, as the following shutdowns and contactless requirements transform AR applications from “innovative demand” to “rigid demand”.
On the other hand, the increasing effects of 5G commercialization and digital infrastructure have also enabled AR to reach more scenarios.
AR applications for businesses are more mature than those for consumers.
AR is born with the advantage of excellent interaction with the real world and is ready to help strengthen business production and operations.
Representative AR external collaboration platforms include Microsoft Dynamics 365, Scope AR WorkLink, VooX, ALVA Rainbow, etc.
As the most perceptible AR hardware products, AR glasses are currently mainly made for businesses and have been almost fully functional.
For example, Microsoft HoloLens, a popular AR product for businesses, can condense the office itself into a pair of glasses that people can wear anytime, anywhere. German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp is using HoloLens technology to design custom stairlifts.
Currently, military, security and industrial maintenance are the main applications of AR. AR has been used in many industrial segments such as steel, energy, food and beverage, automotive and engineering machinery, simplified staff training, digital quality inspection, after-sales support and so on.
In China, AR is expected to be widely used in professional services, education, healthcare and industrial design by 2026, accounting for approximately 30% of the total market size.
AR is driving the transformation of medical images from 2D to 3D and from 3D to interactive.
AR plays an important role in the intelligent development of the industrial Internet and the construction of digital factories.
AR can be used in various scenarios such as simulation training, military command, maintenance and combat decision support.
5G+AR will allow teachers and students from different regions to gather in virtual classrooms and make real-time interactions
Consumer AR applications have great potential for commercialization as they provide an immersive experience for users, which can interfere with various daily activities and scenarios.
However, people’s expectations of consumer AR glasses have yet to be met.
In addition to enterprise applications, the general public is expecting the arrival of mature consumer AR glasses, which can replace mobile phones to unlock the next trillion consumer electronics market. But the dream still seems out of reach due to high production costs and immature product forms.
Currently, the most popular consumer AR applications are AR gaming and AR social. In 2016, the AR game ‘Pokemon GO’ went viral globally, starting the trend of AR games. By 2020, the game will have generated over 6 billion USD in revenue. AR will account for the highest share of video game applications by 2025, at 28.1%.
In addition to the gaming industry, in the future AR will also be considered a major game changer in people’s experience of shopping, travel, exercise and entertainment.
AR is transforming people’s gaming experiences and will generate more blockbusters like “Pokemon Go”.
Compared to today’s online shopping experience, AR shopping offers better immersion, interactivity and other benefits.
AR for social has been explored for many years. Social apps like Meta, Instagram and Snapchat have rolled out AR cameras.
With the advancement of higher resolution display technology, AR will be widely used in film and television applications
For AR consumer glasses to achieve widespread use, several technological barriers remain in the way.
First, short battery life. With today’s battery storage technology, AR glasses mostly work for 2-4 hours at most, which is clearly far behind people’s expectations and daily demand.
Second, indeterminate display technologies. The imaging technology in question is the optical waveguide, which can be further divided into a variety of optical waveguides and diffractive optical waveguides and holographic optical waveguides.
Third, narrow fields of vision. Human eyes have a viewing angle of 120 degrees when looking straight ahead, and the current AR glasses can now only provide a viewing angle of 30-40 degrees.
Fourth, too heavy to wear. If we want AR glasses with more functions, the glasses will need stronger processing chips, which means greater power consumption, greater battery capacity, and a more powerful heatsink.
Fifth, too little to enjoy. Available AR content is too limited for users to feel the charm of AR. Even in gaming, few AR games can replicate the success of “Pokemon GO.” How to create more and better AR content is the core problem for the industry.
Covid-19 is a disaster that has changed people’s lifestyles. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the home economy has increased, making remote working a common way of working. AR technology is an effective way to help improve remote working, such as improving safety, time efficiency and cost effectiveness.
Many companies use AR smart glasses to record staff workflow, operation steps, tools, etc., from the first perspective. Through the intelligent analysis system, they can discover whether they comply with safety regulations and improve work standardization.
Therefore, the remote assistant system of AR glasses has become an important application for businesses. However, there is no widespread use of consumer-grade AR glasses due to the limitation of hardware and content: the industry needs high-quality hardware to enable consumers to wear the glasses for a long time, and high-quality content to improve user stickiness .