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Smartglasses to take over enterprise within 5 years, says research

Google Glass and other smartglasses will become a common feature of workplaces in certain industries within the next three to five years, according to research firm Gartner.

The research published today predicts that smartglasses could improve training abilities and worker efficiency, helping to save the service industry up to $1 billion (£621 million) per year by 2017.

Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner, said that smartglasses have the most potential of improving worker efficiency in vertical markets such as manufacturing, field service, retail and healthcare.

"Smartglasses with augmented reality (AR) and head-mounted cameras can increase the efficiency of technicians, engineers and other workers," McIntyre said.

"In the next three to five years, the industry that is likely to experience the greatest benefit from smartglasses is field service, potentially increasing profits by $1 billion annually. The greatest savings in field service will come from diagnosing and fixing problems more quickly and without needing to bring additional experts to remote sites."

Less than one per cent of companies in the US have so far implemented this emerging technology, although in the next five years Gartner predicts this figure will rise to around 10 per cent.

AR glasses could help with on-the-job training for workers in heavy industry, such as manufacturing, oil and gas, while workers in mixed industries, such as retail, might benefit from the visual search abilities of smartglasses.

It is predicted that workers in other industries like media, banking and insurance, could also use smart glasses to deliver alerts with up-to-the-minute information.

Tuong Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner, said, "Given these advances, the goals of corporate training may evolve away from memorizing procedural steps to knowing how to use smartglasses and access key information using voice commands."

Google Glass 2 was recently announced, with the second semi-public release kicking off over in the US.