Since their initial consumer-focused introduction, smart glasses are now quickly finding a home within the business world as well. Here, augmented reality (AR) can be used to create simple, efficient solutions for the enterprise. Sony’s SmartEyeglass is a good example of how Industry 4.0 technology can quickly create business value and competitive advantages in the market.
The ongoing digitalization of industry has created a torrent of valuable business data, but this has also created the need to control and process this data as it is created. Different from traditional display-fixed visualization, smart glasses provide the opportunity to portray data in a natural way within the everyday work environment.
Sony’s SmartEyeglass: demonstrating AR use cases
Sony’s SmartEyeglass are monochrome binocular AR glasses. The glasses contain a holographic display that allows the wearer to obtain information in their natural field of view. This display technology, coupled with a camera and other built-in sensors, enables the wearer to receive direct instructions or useful information about their surroundings to assist with tasks in the workplace.
Sony showcases several possible use cases for the SmartEyeglass on Developer World. Examples range from showing fire fighters important information when they enter burning buildings to providing opera guests with easy-to-view subtitles and translations. One solution where Sony’s SmartEyeglass has great potential is that of remote guidance.
Joakim Elvander, Partner Engineer, and Developer Advocate at Sony, explains the basics of the remote guidance. “One of the main benefits of the SmartEyeglass is the ability to enable a two-way communication. By using the built-in camera to stream the wearer’s view at another location, the viewer can send back situation-based instructions to the wearer visualized on his or her field-of-view through the SmartEyeglass.”
So how can remote guidance improve the everyday workplace? “Remote guidance has a potentially high return on investment for several types of companies,” says Joakim. “These range from smaller maintenance businesses that want to leverage expertise in a back-office, to large worldwide companies that stand to save millions of dollars by providing remote solution solving instead of needing experts to travel around the world.”
In order to showcase the SmartEyeglass, Elvander has created a remote guidance demo.
“The demo highlights new ways to use the augmented technology,” according to Joakim. “Furthermore, it shows future partners smarter use cases and functionality. It incorporates much of the functionality of the glasses but has a main focus on the interaction between the two participants. The enhanced communication via its smart visualization and functionality is a small part of the future possibilities, but it still demonstrates what the type of solutions can add to the era of Industry 4.0.”
In addition to showcasing the video stream, the demo also displays how the person receiving the stream can interact with the wearer. This can be done through text or graphics, but also by using mouse-click instructions, meaning the instructor can highlight objects in the streamed video that are then translated into augmented markers in the wearer’s field-of-view. It is also possible to add instructions outside the field-of-view. This allows the instructor to indicate to the wearer where to look, visualized with an arrow and text—a feature that can be especially useful in a noisy environment.
Sony is showcasing the demo at events to help businesses see for themselves what can be achieved with the technology.
The future of smart glasses: Augmenting the workplace
AR glasses may still be perceived by some as purely futuristic, but it should not be underestimated. An increasing number of businesses are catching on and it is just a matter of time before products like SmartEyeglass are an everyday occurrence for certain fields. Workplaces such as factory floors and noisy construction sites are only a few examples of achievable industrial implementations; the possibilities are only limited by the imagination of those developing.
If you want to know more about the SmartEyeglass and AR in the workplace, take a look at the Sony SmartEyeglass website. There you can find more information about potential partnerships as well as develop your own solutions for the product. You can also check out the SmartEyeglass product video which helps demonstrate some handy use cases.
This article was produced in partnership with Sony.