5G is here, can AR glasses be far behind?

- Jan 08, 2020-

The smartphone market has entered a stage of stagnant growth. What's next for the mobile sector? Companies are also looking for the next mainstream computing platform. With the arrival of 5G, device connectivity will be further strengthened, which is a good opportunity for AR products to re-energize. Since the birth of AR glasses, it is for human beings to understand the world more intuitively.

We walk on the streets of the city, what buildings are at the next intersection, how to reach the destination accurately, and if there are any vehicles at the intersection that are safe and dangerous, they can be displayed visually in front of us through AR glasses. In the era of smart phones, Apple can be said to be the biggest winner, but countless people are waiting for the opportunity to come back. Are AR glasses expected to become the next mainstream computing platform? No one is blindly confident, but no one dares to relax.


Giants have a strong layout, but the actual application is not as optimistic


Recently, the frequent movement of technology giants about AR glasses has also made the AR circle a bit hilarious. Last October, Mike Rockwell, Apple ’s vice president of Apple ’s AR / VR project, shared Apple ’s AR product roadmap with employees. It is expected that in 2022, Apple will launch the first headset, and by 2023, Apple will introduce smaller AR smart glasses that can be worn for a long time. In addition to Apple, Facebook and Ray-Ban's parent company are also developing AR glasses that can be independent of mobile phones, which are planned to be launched in 2023-2025; Snap is also developing a fourth-generation AR glasses codenamed Hermosa.


Domestic IT giants are not to be outdone, and vivo and Huawei also have related layouts. At the OPPO Future Technology Conference held in December, OPPO stated that it will be involved in the CPE and AR glasses categories, and showed its first AR glasses, which will be released in the first quarter of next year. From this perspective, the AR glasses industry seems to be moving in a good direction. However, on the other side of this boom, some companies have also revealed the difficulties of the industry. Daqri, which has been established for 10 years, announced its failure, and old AR startups such as ODG and Meta have also closed down or went bankrupt ...


In terms of hardware, Microsoft's HoloLens, as a star product in AR glasses, has a high price because it is positioned as a development kit, and it is difficult to adapt to most scenarios and easy wearing requirements in the application market. MagicLeap's first product after seven years of development also jumped the ticket. The experience is not subversive, and the appearance of being too "punk" is obviously not suitable for daily use. And in addition to aesthetic issues, high costs and high prices also shut out C-end users.


Therefore, the current practical application of AR is very limited, and it is mostly used on the B side. Industrial manufacturing, education and training, and intelligent security have become the mainstream direction. As a mobile device, AR glasses still need to obtain the processing power required for network connection, data storage, and AR applications through the collaboration of PC and mobile phone. And compared to mobile phones, the experience and interactivity have not significantly improved. Similar to simple interactions such as typing and games, mobile phone touch screen experience is still better than AR glasses. It will take some time for AR glasses to become a mass consumer product.


AR glasses really go on track, what efforts are needed?


From the perspective of some floor applications, the convenience and efficiency brought by AR glasses have been recognized. However, there are many reasons why there is no mass spread, which leads to the current situation. AR glasses really need to work hard to step into formality.


1) Break through technical difficulties in large-scale applications


AR glasses technology is still in its early stages as a whole. For example, in the 4G era, because the transmission data rate is not enough to solve the problem of signal delay, people will occasionally experience symptoms such as nausea and dizziness after wearing AR glasses. With the launch of 5G, the high-bandwidth, high-rate features of video transmission can bring a smooth, unblocked content experience. But with it, the power optimization problem accompanying 5G transmission is difficult. In addition, AR glasses have various problems in appearance, initial spatial positioning, tracking accuracy and robustness, display device weight and wearing comfort, batteries, and application development. There is still a long way to go before large-scale applications.


2) Market education is urgently needed for phenomenon-level products


The emergence of IPhone brought the general public's attention to the smart phone product. Apple's innovative launch of wireless smart Bluetooth headsets. After that, the successive entry of Google, Amazon, Huawei and other manufacturers also fueled this market ... The hotness of a product market will definitely require These phenomenal products are market-educated to gain consumer attention and open the consumer market.


3) Improve the industrial chain


According to the industry chain, the current upstream of AR is chips, sensors, optical software, display and other components, the midstream is headsets, glasses, mobile phones, car terminals and other hardware devices, and the downstream is video, games, industrial applications Content and platforms. Therefore, companies that are related to each other in the industry chain need to be developed in order to help the establishment of AR glasses ecology.


Future development of AR glasses


Relevant data shows that from 2015 to 2018, China's AR smart glasses industry market size (by sales) increased from 80 million yuan to 5.56 billion yuan, with a compound annual growth rate of 331.1%. In the next five years, the scale of China's AR smart glasses industry will continue to grow at an annual compound rate of 53.4% and reach 47.27 billion yuan in 2023. The development of technology does not happen overnight, and market education cannot be achieved overnight. Recently, we can see a lot of market education and application of AR glasses. For example, at Happy Halloween, Shenzhen Happy Valley hosted an AR tide play festival; Daxing International Airport applied AR glasses for passenger identification and guidance. The rapid development of AR technology requires the joint efforts of the entire society.


With the implementation of 5G commercial and artificial intelligence, the Internet of Everything is close at hand. Video, the new entrance to the mobile Internet as the core information and function carrier, the video network, has also bred the next trillion-level industry ecology. The accelerated development of the video network will help the maturity and upgrade of the AR glasses industry. With the continuous upgrade of intelligent hardware, the vigorous development of application ecology, and the continuous improvement of public awareness, I believe that the AR smart glasses industry will usher in a day of rapid explosion.