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2023 will be the year of AR glasses – here’s what to expect

Augmented Reality (AR) has promised some pretty big things, like, you know, a total disruption to how we live and work. Superimposing a virtual world over our IRL opens up endless possibilities in the way we communicate with each other, take in information, and see the world.

But AR falls short of expectations. While many of us have used dog filters on social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, and played games like Pokemon Go!, we can’t really say it’s really disrupted our daily lives just yet.

One of the most cited reasons for AR’s lack of widespread adoption is that the hardware just isn’t there to support it. How many people do you know who regularly wear smart glasses? Still, adoption is on the riseand the global AR/VR smart glasses market set to grow with $7297.59 million between 2023 and 2027.

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2023 is about to be the year of AR glasses, but why exactly? In this video, AR/VR expert and tech journalist Boy Visser dissects the recent technological developments that have led to this ‘perfect storm’ for smart glasses, and what’s next for AR.

And with bustling new sectors like the metaverse and 5G flying around, it’s only a matter of time before we see an AR boom. So where is it now? And where is it going?

The current state of AR

AR-enabled smart glasses may not have taken over yet, but there are still plenty of areas where AR is already being deployed.

Today’s applications often take the form of HUDs or Head-Up Displays, a transparent display that displays data without distracting the view – a kind of annotation window. Except that the notes are data that changes and adapts to the viewed environment.

HUDs were originally developed for military aviation. This year, the US military rolled out a $22 billion program to develop a mixed reality combat goggle called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS). The new goggles allow soldiers in combat to see and share data, such as maps or enemy positions, with each other in real time.

But now HUDs are being used in other industries such as automobiles and commercial aircraft. With cars in particular, HUDs are seen as the next step in taking the driving experience into the future, as they can display important information on a driver’s windshield, such as directions, without taking the driver’s eyes off the road. This type of AR HUD is already being implemented by automakers like Kia, which has the HUD in models like the Kia EV6, Kia Niroand more.

Another iteration of AR being deployed across industries is assisted reality, which is similar to Augmented Reality in that it displays data on a screen about the user’s environment, but it’s less immersive. RealWear is a company that develops augmented reality wearables such as smart glasses for frontline professionals in fields such as healthcare, energy, manufacturing, automotive and more.

Jon Arnold, RealWear’s VP of EMEA, tells TNW that the current use cases for XR (or extended reality, which includes both augmented reality and assisted reality) are primarily focused on industry and security:

“The goals of assisted reality are to keep the user’s attention and situational awareness in the real world, with direct line of sight,” he says.

Arnold gives the example of RealWear glasses used in production environments, where they are used to support engineers remotely. “These wearables enable a local engineer in an extremely austere and perhaps dangerous environment – ​​in the rain, at high altitudes or at sea – to send real-time data to a remote expert on the other side of the world. That remote expert can then clearly see the problem through the employee’s eyes, help identify and diagnose the problem, and help the local technician fix the problem safely and in real time,” explains Arnold.

What’s next for AR and smart glasses?

As tech giants like to do GoogleAs Apple and Magic Leap get closer to launching new smart glasses models, the possibilities grow for how these glasses will transform our user experience — and lives.

Take the metaverse, for example. XR hardware isn’t ready for the metaverse (they’re too expensive, too bulky, or just not very good), but headsets like The Magic Leap 2 make for a fully immersive experience. Back in March, we wrote about how The Magic Leap 2 blurs the line between AR and VR, with its huge and dimmable field of view. If users are going to spend real time in the metaverse, they’ll need smart glasses and goggles like these to get them there.

But hardware aside, AR’s next steps seem to rest largely on one thing: 5G.

“In the past four years, 5G has been one of the most publicized technologies in the AR industry, with the technology expected to unlock the true value of AR, among other things,” says Arnold.

5G should provide a new network on which AR can operate with ultra-low latency and high bandwidth, meaning it will be much faster. This is crucial to enable use cases such as being able to train someone remotely or enabling guided maintenance and repairs such as a remote repairman be able to leave notes on broken parts for employees to read on site and repair accordingly.

Let’s wear smart glasses in 2023

For everyday workers, faster networking for AR means they can better collaborate in real time with their global teams. What exactly does this look like? 5G-enabled AR would enable everyone involved in a virtual meeting or presentation to get the same information at the same time and collaborate with digital content in real time.

But, says Arnold, today’s 5G is still a long way from full AR and VR support: “We are following the market closely, but the reality is that this vision will take a long time to become a reality, as 5G Today’s public network currently offers no uplink bandwidth improvement.

In the meantime, we will likely continue to see innovative smart glasses applications rolled out, such as The Japanese customs office uses them to tackle smuggling, as customs officers can share real-time images of cargo with experienced officials elsewhere.

And while we wait for 5G to reach its full potential, Arnold says we should now start getting used to actually wearing the smart glasses: “The most important thing companies should do more in 2023 is work on people… to improve wearable adoption now and get people used to it.”


Shreya has been with australiabusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider australiabusinessblog.com, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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