Smart glasses are not as widely adopted as some other gadgets, like smart speakers. However, a range of well-known and emerging brands have new high-tech eyewear options to entice consumers.
If larger portions of the market embrace smart speakers, how might that trend affect data centers?
Smart glasses have an augmented reality (AR) component. It allows people to interact with the real world while enjoying some virtual aspects. For example, IKEA made an AR app that allowed people to choose a piece of furniture and virtually see how it would look in their homes.
Some brands also have AR makeup mirrors or apps. They let users experiment with different shades without physically putting the cosmetics on their skin.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the foundation that powers AR technologies. As a person moves around and interacts with the environment, the things they experience dynamically change.
AI facilitates that process concerning the perspectives smart glasses give their users. It requires a substantial amount of content transmission. Huge collections of relevant information help AI work. Plus, AI applications generally get more intelligent as they process more data.
One advantage of smart glasses that people often bring up is that they enable doing things seamlessly that wouldn't be possible or as straightforward without the technology. For example, a company called Aira offers a service for visually impaired people. Glasses stream details about a wearer's location to remote assistants, who can see the transmitted information and use it to give real-time directions.
In other instances, people who need assistance from experts while doing installations or other work in the field can instantly send details about the issue from their perspective. If they encounter flaws or repairs for other team members to tackle, they can use smart glasses to tag the problematic things. This makes it easier for responsible parties to find them later.
Smart glasses help wearers get immersed in their environments. However, people would not become so engrossed if they frequently dealt with delays while wearing the gadgets. The computing power and reliability that data centers offer make smart glasses functional.
Since smart glasses can give people the immediate information they need, some entities believe the technology could be a game-changer. For example, Microsoft won a $480 million contract that could lead to the brand producing up to 100,000 pairs of AR smart glasses for the U.S. Army. That branch of the Armed Forces indicates soldiers will wear them during training and combat missions to improve their decision-making capabilities.
The fact that service members regularly deal with life-or-death situations is another reason why the data centers processing the information must have the robust infrastructure needed for dependable performance.
Cardiologists also use smart glasses to make more-informed choices while carrying out surgical interventions on heart patients. Doing so allows them to visualize the organ's condition, including showing the location of myocardial scarring that can occur due to heart attacks or congenital cardiac problems.
Besides the scenarios already described regarding how companies could use smart glasses, some may decide to implement them to boost productivity. For example, a warehouse worker tasked with picking items to get them ready for shipment might use a pair to receive guidance to the correct shelf or aisle locations.
Moreover, Google recently retooled its smart glasses to appeal to the enterprise sector. The company confirms that wearers could use the gadgets to access checklists, collaborate with others, send media files or refer to instructions. The hands-free aspect of smart glasses is particularly helpful for people who want to retrieve stored information quickly while focusing on manual work.
Numerous companies also announced smart glasses for everyday users. Snap, the company associated with social media platform Snapchat, released the third generation of its eyewear. The spectacles reportedly have two high-definition cameras on each side of the frame.
Similarly, Huawei wants to emphasize fashion with its forthcoming model. It partnered with Gentle Monster, an upscale Korean fashion brand, to produce them. All the styles are sunglasses that charge wirelessly in a special case.
People can also play tunes and automatically pause the music by taking the glasses off. They work best when people use them with Huawei smartphones, but some functions still work with other brands. They're available at all Gentle Monster retail stores as of September 2019. The gadgets cost 1,999 yuan, which is about $283.
Rumors also persist about smart glasses from Apple. The company has various related patent filings. Some analysts say Apple formed a secret team of engineers to explore the possibilities of using AR technology in its products.
This overview shows how smart glasses are more widely available for business users and curious consumers alike. Most won't think about the data centers operating in the background to make everything work as it should.
However, it's evident that smart glasses — like other information-rich technologies — wouldn't perform properly without the resources data centers provide.
Kayla Matthews writes about data centers and big data for several industry publications, including The Data Center Journal, Data Center Frontier and insideBIGDATA. To read more posts from Kayla, you can follower her personal tech blog at ProductivityBytes.com.