by John Hitch
Astory about wearables, particularly smart glasses, doesn’t have to begin with talking in detail about Google Glass. We’ll assume you know the Hindenburg
and Titanic had longer periods of public adoration than the
over-priced, headache-inducing eyewear.
Instead of that usual behemoth’s fall from grace tale, we’d
like to introduce some plucky startups: Recon Instruments,
now owned by Intel and maker of the Recon Jet Pro smart
glasses, and Upskill, formerly APX Labs and developer of the
Skylight enterprise wearable software solution.
These two companies quietly entered the fourth industrial
revolution through the side door and are on the verge of
becoming the rock stars of the industrial wearable market.
And that wearable market is soon to be huge. It’s expected
that 8% of all American workers will use smart glasses on
the job by 2025, according to Forrester Research. And the
workers will need them to keep up with an increasingly
automated world—Forrester also predicts a net job loss of
7% in that same time because of AI and robotics.
Our flesh and grey matter alone can’t match the might of
semiconductors and servos. By allowing workers to seamlessly interface with machines, big data, and other people,
industrial wearables turn them into the best Io T device in
the plant, and make it so employing humans can still be a
better value proposition than bringing in robots.
In that way, you can look at industrial wearables as the
most important tool you’ll use in the coming decade. Or, if
you equate job security to freedom, you may even consider
these weapons in some epic fight for humanity. Either way
you look at it, it will take the combined forces of hardware
and software working together. This is the solution the biggest companies in the world are using, including Boeing and
General Electric, so you might want to get familiar.
Hardware: The Recon Jet Pro
We begin on the snow-capped summits of the North Shore Mountains peering over Vancouver, B.C. The year is 2008, and a group of MBA students
at the University of British Columbia have decided to commercialize a heads-up display for skiers and snowboarders.
The newly incorporated company, Recon Instruments,
STYLE & SUBSTANCE:
THE NEW WAVE OF WEARABLES
Fashion was never a concern on the factory floor, but Intel’s Jet Recon Pro smart glasses, paired
with Upkskill’s Skylight, are the perfect combo for more efficiency this spring.
FROM THE COVER