Across the last few decades, developments in technology have subtly been weaving new devices into our everyday life. First came the laptop which, despite various designers claiming to have created the first laptop, allowed work and leisure to be done on the move; then arrived the ‘Simon’, IBM’s phone-PDA hybrid that mapped out the classic design of smartphones we see and use today; and in recent memory, the ‘Kindle’, which gave birth to the electronic library in our pockets.
Whilst these quirky toys have made our lives that much easier, they’ve also brought with them a whole range of superfluous gadgets. Tablets, phablets, even a smartphone on your wrist are just some of the emerging culprits in recent years. Have our lives become too saturated with tech? Are these so called “innovations” of any use, particularly for businesses? A new emerging technology seems to think so – augmented reality.
You may have heard of a recently released contraption known as ‘Google Glass’. You may be aware of its hefty £1000 price tag. You may even be inclined to call it ‘ugly’, ‘stupid’ or ‘a failure’, as Google’s predictive search does. Despite the above, its appeal can’t be denied, considering the device sold out in its first day.
It’s not just consumers who can reap its benefits, – businesses can, too. A recent blog on Salesforce documented ten potential uses of Google Glass for companies, such as the option of applications to help streamline business operations and the chance to develop custom apps through the ‘Glass for Work’ program.
Of course, it’s important to remember that, despite there being several alternatives to the device, Google Glass holds something of a monopoly on augmented reality. Particularly when the company’s recent deal with the owner of Ray-Ban sunglasses is concerned, the market may appear to be inaccessible to the public and corporate sector.
But it’s showing signs of becoming a contested market.
Recently, Toshiba debuted their version of the Glass model, suitably titled ‘Toshiba Glass’, at Ceatec 2014 in Japan; Microsoft redeemed the burnout of their ‘Kinect’ product with the presentation of ‘Room Alive’, a “proof-of-concept prototype that transforms any room into an immersive, augmented entertainment experience”; and Samsung and Oculus now have a new competitor in the virtual reality headset market, Archos.
So, what do these new developments in the industry present for businesses? Well, if Salesforce’s article is anything to go by, opportunities. A chance to take advantage of the various providers in the market and make augmented reality a part of their product range; or even an opportunity for solution providers, such as Trustmarque, to assist third parties if they were to use virtual reality in their business plan.
Whatever the uses of this new type of technology may be, or the current state of the market and its products, it’s no doubt an expanding market which should have a close eye kept on it.