April 23, 2016
Written by Special Guest Blogger Jonathan Melnick, Senior Analyst, Lux Research
Amongst much fanfare and hype, Microsoft has begun shipping $3,000 development kits for its augmented reality smart glasses “Hololens.” The 579g Hololens comes with 2 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage space and users can expect 2 to 3 hours of battery life although details on the battery specs are currently unavailable. Perhaps the most exciting pieces of the Hololens are the display, which are waveguide-enabled 3D stereoscopic displays with a field of view of approximately 35 degrees, and device inputs, which include four microphones, four cameras, and speech, head movement, and gesture controls.
Hololens’ capabilities make it one of the top smart glasses on the market or in development today. The primary market for smart glasses has shifted from consumer, when Google originally launched the Google Glass, to industrial today. While there have been a lot of industrial pilot programs, there are only three major functions that smart glasses perform – accessing information, real-time communication, and documentation (for more information see the report “Better than Google Glass: Finding the Right Smart Glasses for Enterprise“). All 11 industrial applications make use of one, two, or all three of these core functions.
Lux Research analyzed the device inputs and information outputs for all smart glasses on the market or that were shipping development kits and Microsoft’s Hololens stacks up very favorably as being only one of six devices suitable for all three functions (see figure below). While Sony and ODG remain the only two devices actually on the market capable of addressing all industrial use cases, Microsoft’s Hololens is poised to compete directly with them. Google, on the other hand, only has components capable of addressing real-time communication, severely limiting its reach within industrial applications.
Jonathan Melnick is a Senior Analyst who oversees Lux Research’s Wearable Electronics, Electronic User Interfaces, Sensors, and Digital Health and Wellness Intelligence services. Lux Research provides strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on Lux to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through their unique research approach focused on primary research and their extensive global network, they deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to their clients.