Once relegated to science fiction and cyberpunk, smart glasses will soon be the metaverse’s next great user interface, providing a seamless experience between the real and virtual worlds. Although smart glasses got off to a hazy start in 2013, with hardware being released somewhat preemptively, emerging use cases for augmented reality (AR) will ensure they will be the main user interface of the metaverse in the long run. .
A slow start but growing interest
In 2013, when Google started selling prototypes of its glass head-mounted devices (HMDs), the devices failed to impress consumers due to privacy concerns, high price, and low cost. a lack of content. Fast forward to today – with the continued launch of smart glasses and with tech giants such as Apple and Meta planning to enter the market in 2023 and 2024, respectively – it’s clear that technology has still potential.
Industry experts from several Big Tech companies such as Meta, Nokia and Microsoft believe that glasses will replace smartphones in the coming years. However, hardware, processing power, pricing, as well as privacy and data security issues must be taken into account for this to become a reality.
Adoption of smart glasses will be driven by businesses
Companies will drive the adoption of smart glasses over the next few years. Companies such as DHL are already using AR glasses for warehouse management. Similarly, Boeing’s research and technology division uses Google Glass in the construction of aircraft wiring harnesses, reducing processing time by 25% and errors by 50%. Manufacturing companies such as Airbus, GE, and AGCO also use smart glasses in their regular operations.
GlobalData estimates that the AR smart glasses market will reach $21 billion in 2030, with enterprise AR smart glasses accounting for a 57% share (or $12 billion) and consumer AR smart glasses accounting for the remaining share. As technology evolves, processing power improves, and use cases increase, this adoption is likely to increase.
Their ease of use, light weight, and seamless integration of digital content into the user’s real view make smart glasses a key device for the metaverse. The metaverse is a virtual world where users share experiences and interact in real time in simulated scenarios. The metaverse could transform the way people work, buy, interact and consume content.
As technology evolves, glasses will become more immersive and can provide easy access to these digital worlds without having to carry a device. An obvious advantage is that they fill the user’s entire vision with the information displayed, unlike smartphones which have a very limited screen size in comparison.
The market is currently led by Alphabet (Google), Rokid and Seiko Epson, which are primarily focused on enterprise customers. Apple is expected to be a potential leader in the consumer AR smart glasses market, due to its experience in designing compelling wearables and its ability to create ecosystems around these devices. Additionally, Meta’s second edition smart glasses, most likely AR-equipped, are expected to arrive by 2024. Meta is working on electromyography, a technology that will enable pulse-based control.
Such developments by tech giants suggest that technology is evolving and is poised to become the next big interface for the growing metaverse.