Improved worker efficiency through wearing smart glasses, such as Google Glass, could save the field service industry $1 billion a year by 2017, according to Gartner.
“Smart glasses with augmented reality and head-mounted cameras can increase the efficiency of technicians, engineers and other workers in field service, maintenance, healthcare and manufacturing roles,” said Angela McIntyre, research director at the research firm. “In the next three to five years, the industry that is likely to experience the greatest benefit from smart glasses is field service, potentially increasing profits by $1 billion annually.”
The greatest savings in field service, says McIntyre, will come from diagnosing and fixing problems more quickly and without needing to bring additional experts to remote sites.
Smart glasses are still in their infancy. Less than 1 per cent of US companies have implemented them, although Gartner predicts that may increase to 10 per cent during the next five years among companies with offsite workers.
Gartner says adoption of smart glasses will be slow because the benefits they provide depend heavily on plenty of targeted apps and services – which won’t happen quickly
The research firm reckons smart glasses will have the most impact on heavy industry, such as manufacturing, and oil and gas, since augmented reality glasses enable on-the-job training of workers in how to fix equipment and perform manufacturing tasks.
Moreover, Gartner expects some of the basic functions of smart glasses to improve enterprise efficiency by giving instruction displays that can enable workers to perform tasks even if they don’t remember all the procedures.
The virtual assistant on smart glasses could serve as an interactive, hands-free “how-to” manual, says Gartner.
Video collaboration with experts in remote locations could also result in faster repairs and save the expense of flying an expert to the site to help.
“Given these advances, the goals of corporate training may evolve away from memorising procedural steps to knowing how to use smart glasses and access key information using voice commands,” said Tuong Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner.