Can Smartglasses Save $1B on Electronic Security Field Service?

Security Sales & Integration columnist Bob Dolph discusses how smartglasses can benefit security systems integrators.

I think there are some very exciting things that will be available for technicians in the next two to five years. Foremost, the Gartner research and analysis group recently reported that in 2017, smartglasses may begin to save the field service industry $1 billion per year globally.

We have seen the hype about Google Glass and how we can directly integrate what we are actually seeing with online activity. Until now to many of us this has looked like something that was possible, but with much cost and future development. I’m sure many said the same thing years ago when the smartphone was in its infancy. 

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Yes, it is true that Google recently shut down the initial beta Google Glasses program. But it appears that is only to restructure and become more competitive. Other companies such as Sony, Epson, Samsung and Microsoft are hot on Google’s trail. Gartner also estimates that in the next eight to 10 years lower-priced consumer versions of smartglasses will spur adoption or real-world employee testing of them by at least half the companies the research firm thinks will benefit from the wearable technology. After witnessing the rapid expansion and thirst today’s tech-savvy public have for the smartphone, I see the Gartner estimate to be somewhat conservative.

It is the technology of augmented reality that makes the application of smartglasses in tech support and training truly exciting. Many may not be aware that we are already experiencing augmented reality in our daily lives. If you watch football you’ve undoubtedly noticed the animated superimposed first-down markers – this is an example of augmented reality.

In the near future a technician or project manager could verbally call up on his smartglasses display CAD drawings of a fire alarm system. He could reference his view in the building to get a bearing of where he is on the drawings. The size of the view of the drawings will only be limited by the resolution of the drawings and glasses lens. This might seem futuristic, but Google Glass has a program in which a person’s vision is married with Google maps to give the wearer a reference of where they are located in the view of the glasses. This is now, not tomorrow.

Some smartglasses other than Google that are presently being developed and released are:

Moverio by Epson – The BT-200 is in development. Each lens has its own display, works with Bluetooth and Android apps. It has a front-facing camera and motion tracker for handsfree operation.

SmartEyeglasses by Sony – The developer edition SED-E1 is now ready for preorder. These feature unique hologram optics technology that projects images and text using a micro display, and a holographic waveguide transparent plate of just 1mm.

HoloLens by Microsoft – Think of this as the Star Trek holodeck on your head. Your digital content will be as real as the physical objects in the room. It’s designed to start working with the newly released Windows 10. The gamers will pick up on this product first, but it is my hope that training and real-world tech support applications are not far behind.

M100 Smart Glasses by Vuzix – How long do you have to wait to order these glasses? How about today on Amazon. They have an embedded complete Android system and come in a prosumer and enterprise versions. Control can be through smartphone software interface, voice navigation or gesture controls.

About the Author

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Bob is currently a Security Sales & Integration "Tech Talk" columnist and a contributing technical writer. Bob installed his first DIY home intercom system at the age of 13, and formally started his technology career as a Navy communication electronics technician during the Vietnam War. He then attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and went on to complete a Security Management program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Since 1976, Bob has served in a variety of technical, training and project management positions with organizations such ADT, Rollins, National Guardian, Lockheed Martin, American Alarm Supply, Sonitrol and Ingersoll Rand. Early in his career, Bob started and operated his own alarm dealership. He has also served as treasurer of the Wisconsin Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and on Security Industry Association (SIA) standards committees. Bob also provides media and training consulting to the security industry.

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