ABI Research forecasts augmented reality (AR) in enterprise to explode over the next five years, as the technology will add functionality to existing workforces that was not previously possible, with remote assistance to be the primary use case. This, combined with increased safety and efficiency, will drive investors and project managers to explore AR with smart glasses applications in the healthcare, industry, and government market segments forecast to hit 27 million shipments by 2021.
“Google Glass was just the beginning of a massive market shift for augmented reality,” says Eric Abbruzzese, Senior Analyst for ABI Research. “For 2016, initial tests and low-volume implementations will be expanded to higher volume investment and rollout, creating a more mature and disruptive marketplace for 2017. Devices with more powerful processing and hands-free input methods, such as ODG’s R7 and Daqri’s Smart Helmet, stand best suited for industrial and healthcare usage.”
Factors such as display quality, field of view, processing power, battery life, input options, and price all differentiate the devices currently on the market. Considering the market’s nascency, prior experience is a plus; both ODG and Vuzix have been developing AR technology for more than one decade. Players such as Vuzix and Optinvent are even pivoting around lower prices to help broaden appeal.
Early AR adopters, like Boeing and GE, highlight the interest surrounding this technology and encourage others to get involved. The market continues to see an influx of new competitors, including Daqri, Meta, ODG, and Vuzix, vying for a promising piece of the enterprise market share. Major hardware OEMs, such as Epson and Microsoft, will also strive to meet the demand in enterprise. Those with established manufacturing infrastructure and device experience will be better suited to meet this ramp-up.
“2017 is shaping up to be an important inflection point for AR,” concludes Abbruzzese. “While growth is already promising, true AR ubiquity will require large-scale implementations and an increase in supporting software and content. The timing is right for this to occur throughout next year, as devices mature and early adopters prove the efficacy of their initial AR investments to those who were more passive.”
These findings are from ABI Research’s Enterprise-Focused Augmented Reality Glasses. This report is part of the company’s Enterprise IT & OT Convergence sector, Video, OTT, AR & VR sector, and Transformative Technology sector, which include research, data, and analyst insights.
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