New EPRI Report Offers Insights for Wearable AR Display Customers

Innovation in wearable technology continues to accelerate. Smart watch vendors are making so many announcements there are portals dedicated to helping customers sort through the details. There is also a portal to help customers compare the features of wearable displays for AR.

And new wearable segments are being defined. For example, Snap recently introduced its $130 Spectacles

Is this all good?

Thinly veiled behind the shiny new products is a vicious cycle.

The continual stream of announcements confirms for readers of this blog that the wearable AR display segment is still immature. This means that those customers with limited budgets seeking to select the best hands-free AR display for their projects in 2016 are likely to be disappointed when an update or new model appears, making the model they just brought in-house out of date. Risk-averse organizations may put their resources in another product category.

On the other side of this conceptual coin, the companies developing components and building integrated solutions for wearable AR must continue to invest heavily in new platforms. These investments are producing results — but without clear customer requirements, the “sweet spot” for which the products should aim is elusive. And when customers lack clear requirements, differentiating the latest offerings while avoiding hype is a continual challenge.

Breaking the cycle with specific requirements

When customers are able to prioritize their needs and provide specific product requirements and budgets, there’s hope of breaking this cycle.

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and PEREY Research & Consulting, both AREA Founding Sponsor members, have collaborated on the preparation of a new report entitled Program on Technology Innovation: State of the Art of Wearable Enterprise Augmented Reality Displays.

Targeting the buyers of wearable technology for use when performing AR-assisted tasks in utilities (and by extension, in other enterprise and industrial environments), the report seeks to demystify the key product features that can become differentiators for wearable AR solutions.

Based on these differentiators, the first multi-feature wearable AR display classification system emerges.


Source: Program on Technology Innovation: State of the Art of Wearable Enterprise Augmented Reality Displays. EPRI, Palo Alto, CA: 2016. 3002009258.

The report also discusses challenges to widespread wearable AR display adoption in technology, user experience, financial, and regulatory/policy domains.

Descriptions of a few “lighthouse” projects in utilities companies, logistics, manufacturing, and field service provide readers valuable insight into how early adopters are making the best of what is currently available.

This report is available for download at no charge as part of the EPRI Program on Technology Innovation.

If you have comments or feedback on the report, please do not hesitate to address them to the authors, Christine Perey and John Simmins.

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