Use of smartglasses like Google Glass has the potential to improve work efficiency in verticals like manufacturing, field service, retail and healthcare and could help them increase profits substantially, research firm Gartner said on Wednesday.
In the next 3-5 years, the industry that is likely to experience the greatest benefit from smartglasses is field service, potentially increasing profits by $1 billion annually, Gartner Research Director Angela McIntyre said.
Smartglasses are causing CIOs to take a fresh look at the impact wearable electronics will have on the enterprise, Gartner said in a statement.
"Smartglasses with augmented reality and head-mounted cameras can increase the efficiency of technicians, engineers and other workers in field service, maintenance, healthcare and manufacturing roles," she said.
"The greatest savings in field service will come from diagnosing and fixing problems more quickly and without needing to bring additional experts to remote sites," McIntyre said.
Gartner expects some of the basic functions of smart glasses to help bring added efficiency to the enterprise.
How-to instructions and illustrations on the smartglass displays enable workers to perform tasks even if they do not remember all the procedures.
Smartglasses are still an emerging technology in the enterprise and less than one per cent of companies in the US have implemented smartglasses, it said.
Gartner expects this to increase to 10 per cent during the next five years for companies with offsite workers like field service personnel and inspectors.
The introduction of lower-priced, consumer versions of smartglasses will further help adoption, it added.
However, adoption of smartglasses is expected to be slow because the benefits they provide depend heavily on the apps and services targeted at smartglasses.
During the next five years, the ecosystem will evolve to include more apps that do specific tasks with smartglasses, which may cause IT organisations to provide them for a wider range of employees, Gartner said.
Smartglasses are expected to have the maximum impact on heavy industry, such as manufacturing, and oil and gas, because the AR glasses enable on-the-job training of workers in how to fix equipment and perform manufacturing tasks, it said.
The impact is likely to be medium for mixed industries like retail, consumer packaged goods and healthcare, where the benefits may mostly be for information via a visual search.
Image: Google founder Sergey Brin wears Google Glass in New York; Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters