Augmented World Expo 2018: Go XR or Go Extinct
“Now is the time to go XR or go extinct.” – Ori Inbar, Co-Founder of AWE and Super Ventures
Last week’s Augmented World Expo (AWE) USA in Santa Clara, California was AWEsome! With nearly 6,000 attendees and hundreds of breakout sessions and exhibitors, the event was full of new technologies and insights surrounding augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and virtual reality (VR).
This year, we saw the introduction of ‘XR’, a new buzzword being used as an umbrella term for AR, MR, VR, and everything in-between. In years past, AWE has been more focused on selling the productivity, efficiency, quality, and safety benefits of XR. This year, with top companies like Boeing, General Electric, Johnson and Johnson, and The Coca-Cola Company, already successfully utilizing XR technology, sessions were more focused on how to embrace this emerging technology and not fall behind. We saw a lot of emphases placed on strategy, getting executive buy-in, and coordination across the business, as well as mapping to your specific use case to maximize ROI.
Several of our XR partners, including Vuzix, RealWear, Atheer, and ODG, also made some exciting announcements. Vuzix announced a partnership with Plessey Semiconductor and a shipping date of June 1 for their new Blade AR smart glasses. The Vuzix blade features advanced waveguide optics and, as a bonus, actually look like normal glasses and are comfortable. RealWear introduced attendees to the HMT-1Z1, the first ruggedized head-mounted wearable for use in potentially explosive work environments, which will ship on June 15. Atheer announced the latest version of its AR platform, and ODG demoed their new Smoke Assured Vision Enhanced Display (SAVED) emergency oxygen mask. SAVED masks allow pilots to see critical flight information in a smoke-filled cockpit and are currently being piloted by FedEx Express, with ODG planning on making them available for commercial and military pilots soon.
VMware Workspace ONE Unified Endpoint Management (UEM), powered by AirWatch technology, enables enterprises to securely manage any XR technology, as well as other workplace IoT endpoints (like peripherals and kiosks), with low-touch enrollment and configuration and complete app lifecycle management. For more information, visit airwatch.com.