In 2020, the global market for virtual and augmented reality (VR-AR) goods and services should reach $ 18.8 billion (including $ 3.3 billion in Western Europe), an increase of 78.5% compared to last year. IDC anticipates an average annual increase in the market value of 77% through 2023.
Known through Snapchat filters or the Pokémon Go smartphone game, augmented reality continues to appeal to younger generations and developers. The market is really starting to develop in many sectors through smartphones and tablets. But one question remains open after the dismal failure of Google Glass, where are the smart glasses and augmented reality?
Augmented or virtual reality? A difference for two different sectors
Augmented reality glasses fascinate many companies that now want to make it their business. As their name suggests, they increase reality, unlike virtual reality which immerses the user in a virtual world. They only consist of superimposing virtual reality. Companies are well aware that users would be very interested in such an object. A real market should develop over the next few years, but for the moment augmented reality still appears to be lagging behind, unlike virtual reality.
If the two elements still remain close, a detail differentiates them. Virtual reality involves immersing yourself in a virtual world, usually through a helmet with a 3D screen. The user remains completely immersed and cannot see what is around him. Conversely, augmented reality consists of inserting virtual elements into everyday life. The user can see his surroundings through the lens of the glasses while seeing the parts made from scratch. Another difference must also be made in this area between augmented reality glasses, and those called intelligent. The first consists of inserting characters, elements in the landscape while the second are more intended to assist the user. With smart glasses, the user will be able to see his agenda, be guided by a live GPS. They give information directly on the lenses using a small screen, but in no way are they “to increase” reality.
Augmented reality glasses in different sectors
Unlike virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses still remain in the shadows. But companies have understood the excitement they could generate and are interested in it for many reasons. While smart glasses only assist the user, augmented reality has several advantages. Prototypes are starting to develop around different sectors such as art, education, and entertainment.
If such a prototype necessarily involves the creation of video games to make your living room a world in its own right, augmented reality glasses could well serve other purposes. Many prototypes attempt to develop unusual experiences around tourism or art. Epson for example with its Moverio BT-350 has developed an immersion experience to visit Barcelona. More efficient than an audio guide, they help the user to immerse themselves in the history of the Catalan city. They can walk around normally with these glasses while seeing the city in the past. This experience allows you to discover Barcelona from a different perspective and have easier access to culture. Augmented reality glasses can greatly contribute to education and culture for the younger generations. The projects appear to be relevant for many areas, but manufacturers are still in the prototype phase.
Google Glass, the failure of smart glasses
Whether it’s smart glasses or augmented reality, prototypes don’t always make a splash. The various companies in Silicon Valley have almost all developed a project for glasses but for the most part they are having difficulties. If the dismal failure of Google Glass speaks to everyone, it was the first glasses to hit the market. For a price of $ 1,500, they helped users in their daily lives. Designed specially to take photos and videos in the blink of an eye, they quickly created controversy. The American company, although well ahead of its time, has been criticized for the possibility of filming the lives of users without their knowledge. Then provoking controversy over respect for privacy and the storage of personal data, Google preferred to withdraw its glasses from the sale.
The promises of American companies
This bitter failure has chilled more than one manufacturer on the smart glasses or augmented reality project. Several companies have now announced the launch of their glasses. Microsoft had promised two years ago the launch of its Hololens, augmented reality glasses, Intel announced that it would make smart glasses with its IntelVaunt and Epson continues to develop its prototype of the Moverio BT-350. Other companies like Bose have kept the concept to make hearing smart glasses. They will identify the user’s environment and then assist him or her. All these companies keep announcing their different models, but commercialization is still not relevant. The announcement of projects coupled with the delay of the various releases of each product does not bode well. For some, the technology is not developed, others have a concept of little relevance to continue to develop their prototype causing questions in the Tech sector.
Smart glasses or augmented reality are still fascinating, but for the moment, virtual reality and its helmets remain in the foreground. Companies are not in a hurry, which portends difficulties within their technology. If some still announce that their glasses are accessible to developers, for the moment they remain unknown to consumers. The market is proving to be relatively interesting for companies which motivates them to create this type of technology. The backlog can be seen as worrying, but within the next few years one or two projects should see the light of day.
Connected glasses, always the wind in their sails
For Mark Zuckerberg, the future lies with smart glasses. The CEO of Facebook = believes that smart glasses are going to be the next technological revolution. Mark Zuckerberg “The technology platform of the 2010s was the mobile phone. The platform of the 2000s was the web, and the 1990s was [the] desktop computer. Each IT platform becomes more accessible and more natural for us. I expect phones to remain our primary devices for most of this decade, but at some point in the 2020s we will have groundbreaking augmented reality glasses that will redefine our relationship with technology.”
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