5G to be key to success of industrial smart glasses

Networks Asia staff
29 Jan 2018

The manufacturing sector will have an installed base of 25 million connected smart glasses worldwide by 2026, ABI Research has predicted. Such a growth rate would represent a CAGR of 95% from 2017-2026.

Many of these smart glasses augmented reality (AR) headsets will require reliable, high-bandwidth, low-latency connections. In this report, ABI Research forecasts the growth of eleven connectivity technologies that will be pivotal not only for industrial smart glasses but also for robotics and equipment monitoring.

"Wired technologies and protocols have traditionally dominated industrial applications, especially on the factory floor, and they won't go away," ABI Research principal analyst Pierce Owen said.

"In fact, the number of fixed-line connections will continue to grow, but new, mobile, dynamic IIoT applications will demand wireless technologies as well. We already see this with increased adoption of LPWA and Bluetooth in the IIoT, and 5G with network slicing. All will empower manufacturers to deploy more high-bandwidth, low-latency, mission-critical wireless applications.”

Over 2.7 million of the 25 million connected Industrial Smart Glasses will connect over a 5G connection by 2026, the research firm predicts.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will account for more of the connections due to the desire to minimize connectivity costs, but glasses with Bluetooth will face bandwidth and latency limitations. Wi-Fi will have the bandwidth, but not the reliability necessary for mission-critical applications.

"As connectivity becomes more streamlined, smart glasses will ultimately provide real value in manufacturing, reducing training time on the assembly line, allowing for more custom orders and improving quality control, repair and maintenance with vision machine learning," concluded Owen.

First published in Networks Asia

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