Vuzix CEO Paul Travers on Remote Assistance, COVID-19, and the Future of Computing
AREA member Vuzix spoke to ARPost in late 2020 about the pandemic and how their technology has helped medical workers. Paul Travers, President and CEO of Vuzix, said that last year was “incredible” for Augmented Reality growth.
Vuzix develops AR displays in the form of smart glasses (e.g. the Vuzix M400), some of which are regular glasses, and some of which attach to safety glasses and hardhats. Most of their current use cases are with the enterprise and medical industry, but Travers expects that adoption will soon increase in logistics and warehousing as well.
With remote assistance having become increasingly valuable in the medical industry, Vuzix’s smart glasses have been used by medical professionals to get expert advice from another hospital and to film operations. Throughout the pandemic, the technology has also been used for “virtual rounds”, allowing an individual practitioner to receive real-time feedback from a remote support team while making rounds. Soon, Vuzix will also be collaborating with Verizon to bring 5G-enables smart glasses to EMTs, allowing for emergency care to be provided before a patient has reached the hospital.
Storing and transporting the COVID vaccine is another complicated and specific medical task. Envirotainer, a company involved in this, now uses Vuzix headsets to allow for safe and correct handling of vaccines as cargo. This is a particularly vital use case. Travers acknowledges that XR is important for tradespeople and maintenance staff, since they’re not allowed into hospitals anymore.
As the article points out, COVID-19 didn’t create a demand for XR products and service, it only served to accelerate existing trends. Travers believes that AR smart glasses are the future of computing and will replace the phone.
Vuzix will be a part of this paradigm shift. Their next-generation model is anticipated for release later this year, and is a result of user feedback and improving technology.