As technology continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, we’re preparing to see the second greatest convergence of our lifetime.
The first was the introduction of Smartphones: pocket devices that brought together hardware and saw items like phones, digital cameras, mp3 players, portable DVD players, and address books become obsolete. A singular device that became so useful the human species became willing to spend money on it, carry it around and charge it every night.
Never did we think we would see such a radical change again so soon.
Cue AR glasses.
Thanks to these nifty wearables, we are predicting a second convergence when smart glasses reach their tipping point – as they evolve from a nice-to-have, to a must-have. When that happens, much of the other hardware in our lives, which exists solely to present images to our eyes and sounds to our ears, will be made obsolete by glasses which are perfectly positioned on our heads to do both (and which around half of people wear anyway!). Goodbye smartphones, TVs, laptops, smart speakers, earpods, fitness trackers, VR headsets, etc. And it goes even further because it makes possible a fully-personalised perspective, all for a lot less power consumption.
So in this blog, we will explore the compelling vision of AR glasses replacing mobile phones, reshaping our digital interactions and redefining the future of mobile technology, and look at narratives being told by tech leaders. But before we jump head first into the idea that mobile phones will be a thing of the past, first let’s take a look at who’s leading the way on AR smart glass technology, and what industry experts have to say about the technology as a whole.
AR Tech & Those Leading The Way
The AR smart glasses market is rapidly evolving, with several companies making significant advancements in the field. While the landscape may change over time, these ten companies are currently at the forefront of AR glasses development:
These companies are actively driving innovation in AR glasses technology and are investing in research and development to create immersive, user-friendly, and commercially viable products. The AR glasses industry is dynamic and anything but stable, so we do expect to see new players emerge or gain prominence in the future.
Augmented Reality (AR) is poised to revolutionise the future, as echoed by tech leaders from some of the world’s most influential companies. Apple’s Tim Cook is excited to use AR’s ability to improve the world we live in rather than shutting it out like Virtual Reality. Zuckerberg emphasises the importance of AR in people’s jobs and everyday lives, underscoring its potential impact on a wide range of industries. Satya Nadella envisions AR changing how we perceive the world, creating a new reality that blends seamlessly with our physical environment. Sundar Pichai acknowledges AR as a foundational technology for the future, reflecting its growing importance in shaping how we interact with information. And Tony Fadell highlights how AR will go beyond mere use of technology, as we integrate the digital world into our own lives, guided by our choices.
With the convergence of these visionary perspectives, AR is set to reshape education, healthcare, entertainment, manufacturing, and various other sectors, ultimately empowering individuals with new tools to navigate and interact with the world in unprecedented ways. Whether it’s augmenting productivity, enhancing social interactions, or unlocking new dimensions of creativity, AR’s impact is bound to be transformative, redefining the human experience and charting a course towards a more enriched and interconnected future.
With such overwhelming support from experts, it’s evident that AR smart glasses are bound to become an integral part of our daily routines, revolutionising how we perceive and interact with the world around us.
Take a look at Circus Director Jay Scott-Nicholls trying out the brand new Vuzix Blade 2 Smart Glasses, designed for desk-less workforces. This is just one example of the type of glasses available today:
So now we know AR glasses are here to stay, how do they cross over with other devices, and can they really replace the use of a mobile phone? What do the experts say?
The Convergence of Mobile and Wearable
The seamless convergence of AR glasses and mobile technology is bringing us closer to a transformative future where wearables could potentially replace traditional mobile phones. As Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, points out, AR glasses offer a more immersive and intuitive user experience, hinting at their potential as primary computing and communication devices. Mark Zuckerberg, further emphasises that AR glasses can disrupt the mobile phone market by providing a hands-free, always-on computing experience that seamlessly integrates with our daily lives.
As AR glasses advance and gain wider adoption, Andrew Bosworth, VP of Augmented and Virtual Reality at Facebook, envisions them replacing mobile phones, offering a more efficient way to interact with digital information. With the merging of mobile devices and the immersive power of AR glasses, Brian Chen, a Technology Journalist, foresees the potential to eliminate the need for traditional mobile phones, creating a more fluid and integrated digital experience.
According to TechCrunch, AR glasses hold the potential to redefine how we interact with our mobile devices by seamlessly blending the virtual and physical worlds. Forbes highlights that integrating AR glasses with mobile phones will unlock new levels of convenience, productivity, and immersive experiences for users. VentureBeat predicts that AR glasses are poised to revolutionise industries such as healthcare, education, and gaming, offering innovative solutions that transform the way we work, learn, and play.
AR Insider emphasises that the fusion of AR glasses and mobile devices will enable users to experience virtual environments in a more intuitive and immersive manner, opening up endless possibilities for creativity and social interaction. VRScout foresees a future where AR glasses reshape our mobile phone use, ushering in a new era of virtual technology that seamlessly integrates into our everyday lives.
In this promising future, AR glasses, as highlighted by AR/VR Consultant and Investor Tom Emrich, become a hands-free, always-available computing platform that seamlessly integrates digital information into our physical surroundings. As technology advances and user preferences evolve, the landscape of mobile technology may be forever transformed, with AR glasses leading the way into a new era of integrated and immersive experiences.
So what areas could AR glasses advance in? How would they be most useful?
1. AR Glasses as the New Communication Hub
AR glasses have the potential to revolutionise how we communicate. With built-in cameras, microphones, and advanced AR capabilities, these wearables can serve as our primary communication hub. Imagine making calls, sending messages, and participating in video conferences all through your AR glasses. With gesture recognition and voice commands, interacting with the digital world becomes effortless, enabling a more natural and intuitive communication experience.
2. Enhanced AR Experiences
While mobile phones have introduced us to AR, AR glasses take the experience to a whole new level. By seamlessly overlaying digital information onto our real-world environment, AR glasses provide immersive and interactive experiences that surpass the limitations of a mobile phone screen. From virtual object interactions to lifelike simulations, AR glasses will unlock unparalleled possibilities, transforming the way we learn, work, play, and navigate the world around us.
3. Redefining User Experience
AR glasses have the potential to redefine the user experience by freeing us from the constraints of a physical device. By removing the need to constantly hold or look down at a mobile phone screen, AR glasses enable a more natural and ergonomic user interface. The integration of advanced sensors, haptic feedback, and eye-tracking technology further enhances the user experience, making interactions more intuitive and personalised.
4. Overcoming Challenges and Embracing the Future
While the vision of AR glasses replacing mobile phones is promising, several challenges must be addressed. The miniaturisation of components, optimisation of battery life, and ensuring user comfort are key areas of focus. Additionally, privacy concerns, social acceptance, and the need for robust connectivity pose significant hurdles. However, with ongoing technological advancements and the collective efforts of innovators, these challenges can be overcome, paving the way for a future where AR glasses seamlessly replace mobile phones.
What could the development of AR glasses mean for brands and agencies?
If Augmented Reality (AR) glasses continue to evolve how we expect, we could visualise them having a positive impact on brands and agencies. Here are 11 suggestions to give you a flavour.
1. Enhanced Employee Productivity
Training and Onboarding: Smart glasses could provide real-time guidance and information to employees during training and onboarding processes, reducing the learning curve and improving their efficiency.
Remote Assistance: Employees could receive remote assistance from experts through AR glasses, allowing for quick problem-solving and reducing downtime.
2. Improved Maintenance and Repairs
Field technicians and maintenance personnel could use smart glasses to access repair manuals, schematics, and diagnostic tools, making equipment maintenance more efficient and accurate.
3. Enhanced Customer Experiences
Retail businesses could offer customers interactive shopping experiences, allowing them to try on virtual clothing or accessories or receive product information by scanning items with their glasses.
In the hospitality industry, AR glasses could provide guests with immersive and personalised experiences, such as virtual tours or translations of foreign-language menus.
4. Healthcare and Medical Applications
Surgeons and healthcare professionals could use smart glasses for surgeries, with overlays of patient data, 3D scans, and real-time guidance, leading to improved precision and patient outcomes.
5. Logistics and Supply Chain
Warehouse workers could benefit from AR glasses for order picking, navigation, and inventory management, reducing errors and increasing efficiency.
Delivery drivers could receive route information and real-time updates, improving delivery times and customer satisfaction.
6. Remote Collaboration
Businesses could facilitate remote collaboration among teams, partners, and clients by sharing live AR experiences. This can be particularly useful for design reviews, remote inspections, and project management.
7. Data Visualisation
AR glasses could display data visualisations and analytics in real time, helping professionals in fields like finance and analytics make more informed decisions.
8. Advertising and Marketing
Smart glasses could enable location-based augmented reality advertising and marketing campaigns, providing businesses with innovative ways to engage with customers.
9. Safety and Training
In high-risk industries like manufacturing and construction, AR glasses could provide safety instructions and warnings, reducing accidents and injuries.
First responders could use AR glasses to access critical information in emergency situations, improving response times.
10. Competitive Advantage
Businesses that adopt AR glasses early may gain a competitive advantage by offering unique and innovative services or products, attracting tech-savvy customers.
11. Data Collection and Analysis
AR glasses could be used to collect data from the user’s environment, providing valuable insights for brands and agencies in areas such as market research and consumer behaviour analysis.
5 Predictions for AR Smart Glasses
Over the next five years, and we move towards an AR glasses takeover, we also expect the following which will be key factors in the story:
1. Improved Hardware and Form Factor: AR smart glasses are likely to become more lightweight, sleek, and comfortable to wear. Advancements in materials and miniaturisation of components will enable manufacturers to create glasses that resemble regular eyewear more closely, making them less conspicuous and more socially acceptable.
2. Enhanced Display Technology: AR smart glasses will feature more advanced display technologies, such as waveguide displays and diffractive optics, allowing for larger, clearer, and more immersive virtual elements to be overlaid onto the user’s field of view. This will lead to a more natural and seamless AR experience.
3. Increased Performance and Processing Power: With the progression of mobile and wearable technology, AR glasses will become more powerful and capable of handling complex AR applications and graphics. This will result in smoother and more responsive user interactions and experiences.
4. Extended Battery Life: One of the significant challenges with AR smart glasses is providing sufficient battery life for all-day use. Over the next five years, advancements in battery technology and energy efficiency will likely lead to longer-lasting batteries or innovative charging solutions, reducing the need for frequent recharging.
5. Expanding AR Ecosystem and Applications: As the technology matures, the AR ecosystem will expand, leading to a broader range of applications and use cases. AR smart glasses will likely find applications in various industries, such as healthcare, education, manufacturing, and entertainment. Additionally, third-party developers will create a multitude of AR applications, games, and utilities to enrich the user experience.
The emergence of AR glasses as a potential replacement for mobile phones represents an exciting vision of the future of mobile technology and could have a huge impact on brands and agencies as well as daily life. With their immersive capabilities, seamless integration, and transformative user experiences, AR glasses have the potential to revolutionise how we communicate, interact, and experience the digital world. While challenges lie ahead, the prospect of a future where AR glasses become our primary mobile device is tantalising, and it’s a future we should embrace with anticipation and open minds.
A little note about us
Hi, we’re CIRCUS! Virtual content creators working with the world’s most exciting brands to tell their stories through immersive virtual experiences. We create content to showcase locations and products, streamline recruitment and training, amplify launches and events and drive action in education. We’re front runners in innovation and virtual tech, and love exploring new technology like these AR smart glasses.
If you’d like to find out more, get in touch.