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From Apple and Microsoft to nReal and Niantic, Established Tech Giants and Risk-Taking New Comers are Pushing AR Innovation

“The past 12 months have brought about a quickening of announcements and improvements on existing products across the entire augmented reality market,” says Eric Abbruzzese, Research Director. “Activity among major technology firms like Apple and Microsoft is ongoing, as is grassroots innovation around new use cases, products, and experiences. Major hardware announcements have been joined by exciting new ventures in 5G, AI, retail, toys, gaming, and more, leading to a richer yet more complex ecosystem.”

Both consumer and enterprise ecosystems are seeing a progression. Enterprise-focused hardware players, such as RealWear and Microsoft, continue to carve out their potential value for corporate endeavors through high ROI use cases like remote expertise and training. These enterprise endeavors need backends to help manage devices and visualize collected data, which is where companies like Augmate and Virtualitics come in. New hardware entrants like North and nReal are chasing the ideal smart glasses form factor, which may not be specifically targeted at consumers, but does meet form factor expectations for the space. Others sit somewhere in between: Magic Leap is searching for their next headline with telecom partnerships, Mira is taking a mobile VR like approach to AR with a head-mounted phone housing, and Niantic (Pokemon Go developers) is expanding their IP into 5G-enabled location-based opportunities. Read more

The Exoskeleton Market Is Picking Up: US$5.8 Billion in Global Revenue Projected for 2028

The current Robotics limelight tends to focus on the ability of new innovations to automate tasks, but a less publicized development is taking place whereby passive exoskeletons have been slowly deployed and adopted to help augment the capability of human workers. Exoskeleton popularization through passive suits will provide a base for increased resources for powered suits, which will eventually provide significant augmentative capability to the industrial workforce. By 2028, global Exoskeleton revenues will reach US$5 billion with hundreds of thousands of active exoskeletons being deployed, according to ABI Research.

"We are only talking about thousands of units being deployed so far, and the majority of these are passive. The first challenge of getting exoskeletons deployed and mandated as part of protective equipment practices in high-wage OEMs has been achieved. The next challenge for powered suits to gain popularity is the effective deployment of IoT platforms that can aggregate sensory data from the exoskeletons and provide insights,” said Rian Whitton, Senior Analyst at ABI Research. “The next stage is to integrate the use of exoskeletons with robotic arms, collaborative robots, and mobile robots through advanced location technologies, haptics, and gesture control.” This is a long-term vision, and the industry should not expect the exoskeleton opportunity to exceed hundreds of thousands of units or billions in revenue within the next 2-3 years, with the global market to surpass US$ 1 billion in 2022. Read more

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