Successful implementations of industrial augmented reality happen when organizations have a winning combination of domain expertise, hardware, and the right enterprise AR software. From optimizing complicated manufacturing workflows to supercharging sales and marketing collateral, there are a range of applicable AR devices on the market that can help differentiate your brand.
Augmented Reality Device Considerations
Use Cases and Applications
Different use cases call for different device requirements, so your first step should be to understand where AR can deliver the most value for your organization. Is it in manufacturing? Field service? Sales and marketing? The cost, usability, product roadmap, and ubiquity vary for each AR device, so it’s important think about your organization’s budget, safety requirements, and future AR aspirations before making a hardware decision.
Head-mounted vs. Hand-held
Head-mounted displays (HMDs) like the Microsoft HoloLens provide workers with an immersive hands-free experience, but a wearable device may not necessarily be the best option for solving your specific business challenge. You should first consider the type of environment your intended users will be in.
- Will they be in a hazardous live work environment where their vision and safety are compromised by 3D overlays obstructing their field of view?
- Will they be wearing a hard hat or protective glasses when viewing the AR experience?
- Or will they be in a more controlled environment like a trade show or an off-site training facility, where the safety risk is minimized?
On the flip side, tablets and mobile phones are a quick and cost-effective way to get started with AR, but handheld devices can limit a users’ ability to simultaneously perform the task at hand.
- Would your intended users benefit from seamless voice-controlled access to step-by-step work instructions?
- Or is overlaying supplemental product content onto a physical object or space enough to get the job done?
The answers to these questions depend on what your business challenge is and how you plan to solve it with AR.
Compatibility with AR Software
Smart glasses and other AR devices can upskill your workforce and enhance your physical products with digital content, but more importantly, you need an enterprise AR platform that enables your subject matter experts to quickly create effective AR content. Choosing a device that’s compatible with your AR platform lets you take advantage of unique hardware features, such as voice command and eye tracking capabilities, that have been built into the software.
Hardware agnostic platforms like PTC Vuforia give content developers the flexibility to use devices they already have, or experiment with new devices of their choice, while still leveraging exclusive device attributes. This means that if you want to pivot from your initial hardware investment, you won’t have to completely start over when creating content.
AR Devices that Pair with PTC Vuforia
ABI Research named PTC Vuforia a decisive leader in a recent competitive assessment of enterprise AR platforms due to its “breadth and depth of support for multiple form factors (monocular smart glasses, binocular smart glasses, mobile, etc.) and Operating Systems (e.g., Android, iOS, Windows, etc.)”
Discover why PTC Vuforia pairs well with devices like the Microsoft HoloLens, RealWear HMT-1, and Vuzix M300 Smart Glasses.