More companies are discovering the advantages of using smart glasses and augmented reality. But the crucial first step is choosing the right model of smart glasses. Here’s how.
More companies are turning to augmented reality to digitalize processes and workflows for their frontline workers in manufacturing, logistics, and service. Wearable technology is key for keeping such workers connected and productive, but the crucial first step is choosing the right smart glasses for your use case. Here are four questions to consider that can help you choose the right smart glasses.
1. Where Will the Smart Glasses Be Used?
One of the most important factors is the working conditions of the workers in need of support. Companies should consider:
- Light conditions that can influence the filming and scanning possibilities of the camera and the quality of AR elements
- Noise pollution that can be critical for voice control and speech-to-text features
- Dust, dirt, and moisture exposure that may require different safety classifications, such as IP67
- Ambient temperature (e.g., in cold storage or steel production) demands a corresponding temperature range of the smart glasses
- Settings with explosion risks (e.g., in paint shops or gas production) require ATX-certified smart glasses
Critically, the smart glasses should not limit the movements of workers. After all, the goal of wearable technology is to provide information as people move.
2. What Features Do You Need?
Smart glasses differ in capabilities. Companies need to identify their requirements and what is important for their workers’ efficiency. The following criteria can help you figure out which features are needed:
- Durability – Robust enough to withstand accidental drops, inclement weather, or hazardous environments
- Weight – Light enough to wear for an entire shift
- Field of view – Unrestricted views for users, suitable for hazardous situations or dangerous environments
- Camera resolution for reading barcodes and QR codes, as well as capturing high-res images
- Microphone quality for accurate voice recognition
- Wi-Fi module performance that maintains connectivity and battery life
- Battery capacity – Battery duration and options for charging (i.e., built-in rechargeable battery or replaceable battery)
- Operating system – Android, Windows, and Linux smart glasses are available
3. How Much Support Is Available?
Next to technical features, support features are a key factor in deciding which smart glasses are suitable for your deployment, such as:
- Remote support to minimize the need for on-site service visits
- Responsive software vendors, preferably with experience in your particular hardware
- Worldwide hardware swap service in the event of a failure
- Scalability guidance during periods of growth
In all of these cases, a holistic approach can ease a lot of headaches down the road, rather than having multiple calls to make when something goes wrong.
4. What Software Are We Trying to Run – and Do We Even Know What’s Possible?
Most of the time, smart glasses come with only basic software solutions from manufacturers. To get the most out of the technology, you should look for software solutions that are:
- Device-independent, so different departments or locations may use different hardware
- Easily administered through drag-and-drop, no-code interfaces
- Scalable, with easy ways to add new workflows and processes
- Integrated with other technology, like IoT sensors
Every pair of smart glasses is only as good as the local software that supports the use case best. It is always important to consider the holistic system that you want to implement, not just the individual smart glasses.