Augmented reality may soon become a real possibility now that consumer printer maker Epson has released its Moverio BT-200, a new and enhanced version of its smart glasses. The smart glasses market has been focused on Google Glass but unlike Glass, the Moverio provides a platform suitable for business applications. Glass doesn't add a high-tech digital overlay to reality so it is not great for businesses, but that is not the case with Moverio.
At $700, Epson's glasses are also cheaper than the current version of Glass, which is being sold for $1,500. Although Google is expected to cut the price of Glass once it is made available for retail sales, Google's smart glasses have far functionality than Epson's Moverio.
True Augmented Reality
During demos of the device and in press releases, Epson has continued to aim the Moverio at businesses rather than individual consumers. Early Google Glass testers have been criticized just for wearing the polished consumer-oriented product, so consumers might not want to walk around wearing the Moverio.
When looking through Epson's glasses, which include displays covering both eyes, unlike the current version of Glass, a variety of augmentations can be applied. If you are a technician, for example, you can use Moverio to see the insides of an appliance using pre-loaded schematics.
Notifications can be received and examined on Google Glass with ease, but that sort of functionality doesn't truly help people in the workplace. With an augmented reality device, digital information can be applied to the real world so that workers can act on that information and complete a task more efficiently.
Great for Businesses
Compared to the first-generation Moverio, the BT-200 is brighter and larger but not nearly as heavy, making it more comfortable to wear without compromising on functionality. Anyone who would like to purchase the glasses is able to do so, but Epson is only focusing on how augmented reality can benefit the enterprise market.
During Mobile World Congress 2014 in February, multiple software companies showed off potential applications for the augmented reality experience that Moverio provides. One application, from Wipro, was shown off during a separate demo.
Wipro's application allows a salesperson to see exactly where products are supposed to be placed on store shelves. Major companies, like Walmart and Target, could implement this sort of technology to reduce their workforces while making the workers' jobs easier.
Skylight, an app that was developed by APX Labs, takes advantage of Moverio's augmented reality as well as its motion sensors. Using the device's front-facing camera, Skylight streams live video feeds so that workers can receive expert help while on the job.
Epson is marketing Moverio as a platform for developers in any industry to build applications to help workers in their day-to-day jobs. We have yet to see if Glass will be adopted by the mainstream, but at least on the enterprise level, it appears that Moverio can succeed.