Intel has designed a pair of smart glasses that won’t make you look like a hopeless geek.
Called “Vaunt,” the peepers, which are still in the prototype phase, look like ordinary glasses, save for a faint, red glimmer that occasionally appears on the right lens.
Information sent to the glasses appear to be displayed on a screen but in reality is beamed to the retina of a wearer’s eye.
“The prototypes I wore in December also felt virtually indistinguishable from regular glasses,” Dieter Bohn wrote in a hands-on review published Monday in The Verge.
“They come in several styles, work with prescriptions, and can be worn comfortably all day,” he added.
Always in Focus
Vaunt uses Bluetooth and is designed to work with a smartphone, much as smartwatches do.
A very low-powered laser (VCSEL) shines a red monochrome image at around 400 x 150 pixels onto a holographic reflector on the right lens of the glasses. That image is sent to the back of the eyeball, directly to the retina.
Because the image is sent directly to the retina, it’s always in focus, which is why the system works on both prescription and non-prescription glasses.
Intel Vaunt street view
With retinal projection, the image is ‘painted’ to the back of the wearer’s retina.
The Intel prototype did not have a microphone, noted Verge’s Bohn, but he speculated that future models may have one that would enable them to interact with artificial intelligence software like Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant or Apple’s Siri.
Intel will be launching an early access program for developers later this year, he noted, so they can start experimenting with things the glasses might be able to do.
Low Geek Factor, Low Power
While you may not stick out in a crowd wearing Vaunt, you’re not going to overwhelm anyone with its power, either.
“Vaunt is purposefully stripped down hardware-wise — no camera, touchpad, microphone,” said Eric Abbruzzese, a senior analyst at ABI Research.
“That means these are only going to serve the most simple applications, mainly around heads-up notifications — navigation, step-by-step instruction, personal notifications,” he told TechNewsWorld.
Vaunt smart glasses
The Vaunt electronics are incredibly compact.
“It’s a pretty light-touch device,” said Kristen Hanich, an analyst at Parks Assocates.
“It mostly allows users to see contextual information such as notifications from phones, map directions, recipes, shopping lists and such,” she told TechNewsWorld.
Augmented reality devices like Vaunt have been used in settings such as manufacturing, logistics and healthcare, Hanich noted. However, “a lot of those applications are being driven by more powerful devices — such as Google Glass and Microsoft’s HoloLens — that have the ability to see what’s directly in front of the user.”
Tough Sell for Consumers
Vaunt has some benefits that could attract enterprise interest, said ABI’s Abbruzzese.
“Enterprises will be interested in these thanks to the user-friendly form factor — better for worker safety and all-day use cases,” he pointed out.
Also, “some of the possible applications — primarily step by step instructions — can be a quick value-add for customers,” Abbruzzese said.
Attracting consumer interest may be a harder sell, however.
“Vaunt hasn’t solved one of Google Glass’ primary downfalls, which was lack of valuable use cases for consumers,” Abbruzzese observed.
Consumers will have to be sold on the value of Vaunt, but that sell will be easier if the price is right, said Parks’ Hanich. “If it’s priced similar to a premium smart watch, then there’ll be some potential there.”
Not Much for Gamers
Gaming is one area that’s attracted consumer interest in virtual reality and augmented reality devices, but Vaunt isn’t likely to make much headway in that market.
“The device is too simplistic for any visually intensive applications,” Abbruzzese said.
Power is an issue for Vaunt.
“The glasses don’t have cameras, or a lot of processing ability, or the ability to display data in any color besides red,” noted Hanich.
“Something like Pokémon Go may work on them,” she said, “but developers will have to sacrifice graphics and the ability to display an object in sync with the terrain.”
There are some advantages of not having a camera, however.
“Part of the backlash against Google Glass was that the glasses were so conspicuous, including a visible camera,” Hanich recalled. “Without a camera, Vaunt has few problems in terms of privacy.”
Bridge to Realistic Market
Although devices like Vaunt are creating a buzz now, it likely will be a year or two before AR glasses make it to the mass market.
The inflection point for consumer AR headgear likely will be in the late 2019-early 2020 time frame, ABI predicted.
“It really requires strong brands and marketing to push AR glasses to the masses,” Abbruzzese said.
Apple has such a brand, and it is rumored to have a pair of AR specs in the works.
When those hit the market, Abbruzzese noted, there will be millions of shipments, which hasn’t yet occurred anywhere in the AR space.
“Vaunt isn’t likely to have that sort of impact,” he explained, “but they can be an important bridge between the consumer-side disappointment of Google Glass to a more realistic consumer AR market.”
Vaunt is a clear sign that wearable display technology is quickly advancing, said Brian Blau, a research director at Gartner.
“Vaunt represents a form factor that any technology provider would see as a great next step, as it’s one that isn’t that different from a typical pair of eyeglasses,” he told TechNewsWorld.
“It will be some years before smart glasses like Vaunt arrive in consumers hands,” Blau said, “but it’s great to see these early prototypes as they get brands and businesses interested in smart glasses, even at this early stage of their development.”
Convertible Tablets/Laptops. Simple tablets and laptops with finger touch technology are giving way to more convertible devices with robust capabilities and more traditional interfaces. An example is the Lenova X1 Yoga, a convertible with a keyboard that folds behind the device (not detaches) when it operates in tablet mode and unfolds when users want the experience of the keyboard. The bottom line here? Convertibles offer a higher degree of functionality than tablets alone, so look for that tech to continue to boom this year.
Up close with the new Dell XPS at CES 2018
Smart Home Devices. When you think of the smart home device market, you probably think of Amazon’s Alexa—and for good reason. In 2018, though, look for the competition to increase, especially from products that can connect to the big three—Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit .
Augmented Reality. I’ve long agreed that augmented reality would outpace virtual reality, and this year’s CES reinforced that for me. Don’t get me wrong—VR is still growing, and I’ll touch on that in a minute. For now, though, know that AR is likely to explode this year, providing experiences that immerse users while keeping them connected—many of which will be available on mobile, another plus.
Companion Robots. In 2018, robots won’t just be for housework—they can also provide entertainment and companionship. Somnox, for example, created a companion robot to help you fall and stay asleep. Honda made waves at the convention, too, showcasing robotic concepts that hinge on AI assisting humans, some of which even show compassion through facial expressions.
Chip Wars. The laptop chip war is gathering steam, as we’re seeing combo chips that combine high computing power, longer battery life, more memory, and major graphics capabilities. To that last point, Intel, in fact, released a new chip that incorporates AMD graphics, a move sure to make gamers happy (and competitor Nvidia raise an eyebrow, according to the WSJ).
Artificial Intelligence—in Everything. AI, unsurprisingly, was everywhere at CES, and many trends on this list fall into that vein. This will be the year of “smarter” everything—smarter products, smarter vehicles, smarter processes, smarter consumer goods, smarter tech solutions, and even smarter cities.
Health Sensors. Just like AI is rushing 2018, so is the IoT. That is especially evident in the healthcare industry. While there are certainly factors to consider when it comes to HIPAA compliance and personal data, the value of sensors to help people improve their health and well-being is undisputed. Sleep sensors were an especially hot item at this year’s conference, so keep your eyes on those.
5G Technology. With blazing fast speeds and high computing power, 5G tech is poised to change the world—and I don’t say that lightly. Why? The IoT wouldn’t be where it is without the support and speed of 5G, which promise multigigabit download speeds. And that’s just the beginning.
Qualcomm shares its 5G vision for this year and beyond.
Smarter Cars. Digital transformation touches the automotive industry, too. And no, I’m not just talking about self-driving cars—although those are worth discussing, too. This year, look for tech advances that improve the driving experience—everything from pricey add-on dashboard companions that include mobile app integration and internal/external cameras to less-expensive options that integrate Alexa into vehicles and allow users to quickly schedule, shop, and hear music upon command.
Facial Recognition. Facial recognition software is another tech that’s not new but is making great strides. This might be one of the only cool features on the iPhone X—and that helped push this more mainstream. Look for this and other biometric solutions to improve security in the coming year on everything from standard video systems to mobile device access.
Virtual Reality. Although not as hot as AR, VR is still a key trend to watch in 2018 as companies look to add more utility at a variety of price points. For example, you can snag Facebook’s new Oculus Go for only a couple hundred dollars, and other brands are competing at that price point, too.
Smart Cities. More municipalities are beginning to integrate sensor technology into infrastructure in ways that impact public health and safety. The implications here are huge. (Can you imagine, for example, not having to search for a parking space because you know where all the open spots are thanks to sensors?) As I’ve written about before—I believe smart cities will make us smarter, allowing us to be more efficient with our time and resources.
Connected Devices Everywhere. Thanks to the IoT and its sensor technology, connected devices are everywhere. I’ve discussed how the IoT will impact the supply chain, but let’s get more micro for a minute—ironic because, of course, sensors are pretty micro themselves. A key theme from CES is the expansion of sensors in both their numbers and their capabilities. Debuted at CES, for example, L’Oreal’s UV Sense is battery-less and sticks to your thumbnail, monitoring your level of exposure in the sun, among other variables. This is proof you can look for 2018 to usher in a new class of wearables.
Wireless Charging. Power cords are like leashes for adults. We live in a digital world but are still often tethered by charging cords—for now, anyway. Wireless charging is on the horizon, with brands like Powercast and Energous unveiling chargers that send power to multiple devices over the air.
LAS VEGAS, NV – JANUARY 10: Samsung’s The Wall, a 146-inch MicroLED television is displayed at the Samsung booth during CES 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 10, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world’s largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 12 and features about 3,900 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to more than 170,000 attendees. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LED TVs. No, LED TV’s aren’t new, but what about micro LEDs? In these devices, LEDs are tiny—thinner, in fact, than a strand of human hair. They also produce their own light, an important factor when it comes to contrast. A bonus? They consume less power, too.
3D Printers for More than Just Plastic. Advancements in 3D printers mean big things for many industries, changing the way we ideate, engineer, develop, and manufacture. Printers themselves are now available in space and cost-saving models, bringing a level of accessibility to enterprises large and small. In the past, though, there was one key limitation: Plastic was the main material most printers could work with. A new solution from Desktop Metal makes printing with—you guessed it, metal—possible. What’s next? The winner of an CES emerging tech award from Digital Trends, this is definitely an area worth watching.
Boosted Performance Analysis in Sports Tech. This year’s CES featured a major sports tech theme. For example, ESPN is now using video in their first down markers, AI is being integrated into drone races to boost performance, and golf clubs are now equipped with a technology that helps improve your swing—and much more!
Drones always make an appearance at CES. Why? They’re feature-packed crowd pleasers and can be pack a ton of functionality into an increasingly small gadget. For example, the Oori drone is a palm-sized racing model built for speed but user-friendly enough for recreational flying. If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s that UX always wins—something you should keep in mind every year, not just in 2018.
From a budging standpoint to simply knowing what’s around the corner in your industry, keeping up with enterprise tech trends is a key to staying competitive in the digital world. Just as it was an eventful CES, it will be an eventful 2018 in the world of tech. Be ready.
Daniel Newman is CEO of Broadsuite Media Group, principal analyst at Futurum and author of Futureproof.
Trend 1: The increasing datafication of our lives
From chatting to friends in a messaging app or buying a coffee, to tapping in and out with an Oyster card or streaming music, today almost everything we do leaves a trail of data breadcrumbs. And this increasing datafication of our world has led to an unprecedented explosion in data.
Just in the average minute, Facebook receives 900,000 logins, more than 450,000 Tweets are posted, and 156 million emails and 15 million texts are sent.With numbers like that, it’s no wonder we’re essentially doubling the amount of data created in the world roughly every two years.
Trend 2: The Internet of Things (IoT) and how everyday devices are becoming more ‘smart’
The IoT – which encompasses smart, connected products like smart phones and smart watches –is a major contributing factor in this exponential increase in data. That’s because all these smart devices are constantly gathering data, connecting to other devices and sharing that data – all without human intervention (your Fitbit synching data to your phone, for instance).
Pretty much anything can be made smart these days. Our cars are becoming increasingly connected; by 2020, a quarter of a billion cars will be hooked up to the Internet. For our homes, there are obvious smart products like TVs,and less obvious ones, like yoga mats that trackyour Downward Dog. And, of course, many of us have voice-enabled personal assistants like Alexa – another example of an IoT device.
That’s already a lot of devices, but the IoT is just getting started. IHS has predicted there’ll be 75 billion connected devices by 2020.
Trend 3: Exponential growth in computing power is fueling massive tech advances
None of this incredible growth in data, nor the billions of IoT devices available,would be possible without the enormous leaps in computing power that we’ve made. Between 1975 and 2015, computing power doubled at a rate of every two years, before slowing to the current rate of approximately every two and a half years.
But we’re reaching the limits of what traditional computing power can handle. Thankfully, on the horizon, we have quantum computing. Probably the most significant transformation of computing power ever, quantum computing will see computers become millions of times faster than they are right now.Tech leaders are in a race to launch the first commercially viable quantum computer, capable of solving problems that today’s computers can’t handle. Capable, even, of solving problems that we can’t even imagine yet.
Trend 4: The incredible rise of artificial intelligence (AI)
Computers are now able to learn in much the same way as we humans do, and this leap in AI capabilities has been made possible by the massive increases in data and computing power. It’s the incredible explosion in data that has allowed AI to advance so quickly over the last couple of years; the more data an AI system has, the quicker it can learn and the more accurate it becomes.
This huge step forward in AI mean computers can now undertake more and more human tasks. In fact, it’s AI that allows computers to see (e.g. facial recognition software), read (e.g. analyzing social media messages), listen (e.g. Alexa standing by to answer your every command), speak (e.g. Alexa being able to answer you) and gauge our emotions (e.g. affective computing).
Trend 5: The unstoppable freight train that is automation
The more intelligent machines become, the more they can do for us. That means even more processes, decisions, functions and systems can be automated and carried out by algorithms or robots.
Eventually, a wide range of industries and jobs will be impacted by automation. However, for now, the first wave of jobs that machines are taking can be categorized using the four Ds: dull, dirty, dangerous and dear. This means humans will no longer be needed to do the jobs that machines can do faster, safer, cheaper and more accurately.
Beyond the four Ds, machines, robots and algorithms will replace – oraugment – many human jobs, including professional jobs in fields like law or accounting. From truck drivers to bricklayers to doctors, the list of jobs that are likely to be affected by automation is surprising. One estimate reckons that 47 percent of US jobs are at risk of automation.
6 Technology trends for 2018: Innovation focused on your digital journey
The next wave of disruption and productivity improvements is upon us, and that means opportunity for the digital enterprise — if you are following the right roadmap. Our six technology trends are critical guideposts for innovation on your digital transformation journey.
What are your #ITpredictions for 2018?
Journey-focused Innovation: 6 IT Trends for 2018
Watch: 6 IT Trends for 2018
1. Re-platforming the enterprise
In 2018, we’ll see an aggressive move to common IT platforms so companies can respond to market changes faster, be more productive and make better-informed decisions. These common platforms are rich in analytics, follow the information flow of the business and are simple enough that users can constantly change the business without writing (much) code. Moreover, they bring an operational and evergreen scale to traditionally bespoke enterprise IT.
These common platforms — from Amazon, Microsoft, Google and others — provide very suitable if not substantially improved replacements for what used to be custom builds.
“This is about the technology you need, not the technology you make,” emphasizes Dan Hushon, CTO of DXC Technology.
Common platforms enable companies to shift their customization efforts from infrastructure to applications and the user experience, which is where the action is.
Another bonus: Moving to common platforms frees up talent and working capital for differentiated services — where differentiation comes from the information you provide in context to customers, partners and employees for new and better outcomes and experiences.
Platforms will provide not only a foundation to improve processes, but also telemetry and insights. For smart adopters, we may see twofold to fivefold business acceleration.
2. The war for digital talent is vigorous and creative
Re-platforming the enterprise portends a major shift in talent, from operating computers to using multiple skills for information integration, analytics and governance.
These digital skills are incredibly scarce and demand is high. Companies will be fighting for people with digital skills to make the transition to common platforms and to drive disruptive change. So how can we get increased scale from a finite talent pool? And how do we maximize the productivity of the talent we already have?
The quick answer? We’ll use common platforms and a concentrated partner strategy to source experienced talent.
In 2018, companies will leverage team-based, distributed workplace platforms that use machine learning, intelligent automation, natural language processing and other technologies to drive productivity.
In addition, expect to see a rise in creative ways to access talent, described in Unleashing Digital Talent for Fun and Profit, by DXC Technology’s Leading Edge Forum:
Crowdsourcing — tapping talent outside your company to engage just-in-time talent
Bring your own teams (BYOT) — hiring entire teams at once
Incubators — creating or sponsoring organizations or spaces that support startups
Strategic acquihires — buying entire companies for their talent
Talent will decide who wins and loses in the next decade.
3. Quantified enterprise: Stop guessing and start measuring
Last year we predicted the rise of intelligent machines. We got that right; today business decision makers say artificial intelligence (AI) is pivotal to their organization’s future success. In 2018, companies will harness the “data exhaust” from their digital systems to quantify the business and become even more productive. This quantification will emerge as a primary driver of digital transformation.
Forced to rethink big data, companies will use advanced machine learning to make better decisions with less data. Call it: “The rise of intelligent decision making.”
The best companies are over 40 percent more productive than their peers — leading to operating margins 30 to 50 percent higher. So the potential benefits are huge. When it comes to determining what affects productivity, companies will stop guessing and start measuring. They’ll start shifting from making decisions based mostly on stories and gut feelings, to making decisions based on experiments and measured results.
The first opportunities will be the often-dysfunctional business processes that bring so much friction to productivity and revenue realization.
4. Businesses get stronger through cyber resilience
In the past, companies tried to create perfect security, but today security is viewed not as binary but as a continuum. In 2018, enterprises will focus on getting their resilience as high as possible to withstand attacks and threats. That means planning and practicing for such threats, because they will happen. The common practice will be continuous evaluation and improvement of risk posture.
Added to resiliency is the notion of antifragility, which means getting stronger when attacks happen — not just surviving the attack. You get stronger from practicing and responding. You use what you’ve learned to make yourself stronger the next time around.
With the many destabilizers facing enterprises today — cyber attacks, natural disasters, vendor failures, human error, mergers and acquisitions — enterprises must work to become ever-more resilient by applying continuous improvement to productivity, differentiation and the resiliency of the business itself.
5. Companies grow through digital business extensions
The digital core will provide enterprises with an information-rich, scalable foundation. In 2018, companies will grow by leveraging that information and scale, extending their digital capabilities into every facet of the organization — as well as into new markets and new businesses — through digital business extensions.
Amazon’s journey – from online bookseller to online-everything marketplace, to cloud platform, to online- and offline-everything platform, including groceries – is not about a company being irrationally greedy and trying to put a finger in every pie. It is a story of smart digital extensions. In other words, Amazon can run some of those businesses better because of its digital capabilities.
GE’s big plans for the industrial internet of things and its Predix platform can also be seen as a digital business extension.
To make the right digital extensions, companies need a “strategic backflow” from digital capabilities to corporate strategy. This backflow must be embedded in strategic planning rather than based on heroic behaviors, water cooler conversations and special relationships.
That means ensuring that corporate strategy and, ideally, all functional strategies (e.g., marketing, manufacturing, logistics) have mechanisms to consider digital extensions. Ask: “What can I do now?” and “What should I do next?”
Let’s let the digital tail wag the corporate dog, at least a little, in 2018 and beyond.
6. Artificial intelligence gets smarter and more practical
For all of these technology trends, artificial intelligence (AI) will determine the long-term winners and losers. In the past, people were not building AI with the right goals in mind, but that will change in 2018 as companies become more information-driven and use neural networks for continuous learning and productivity.
A big bastion of AI deployment is IoT, because it generates so much information. Other rich areas for AI advances include employee information systems and processes, clinical health advisement systems and IT service management (managing millions of computers is untenable for humans).
Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs), a class of artificial neural networks, will evolve and trigger an explosion of opportunities:
Very Deep CNNs will push computer vision and natural language processing (NLP) to achieve emotional intelligence with end-to-end conversation capabilities.
CNNs will open new opportunities in fields such as system-driven drug synthesis models, leading to cost-effective drug discovery.
Improvements in NLP will lead to automated content generation.
AI will continue to redefine what is sci-fi and what is reality. AI is here to help people do better. But rest assured, AI will not be self-aware anytime soon.
With the right roadmap and these guideposts, companies can succeed on their digital transformation journeys in 2018 and beyond.
DAN HUSHON is chief technology officer at DXC. Connect with Dan on Twitter @DanHushon
Thanks to DXC’s Leading Edge Forum, ResearchNetwork and CTO Office for input.