Lenovo’s Commercial Augmented Reality Vision
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Two weeks ago, while I was at Lenovo Transform in New York City, there was a lot of focus on enterprise and business customers when it came to updated datacenter hardware portfolios and a new PC as a Service offering.
However, an interesting side session I attended that afternoon following the AM keynote was about Lenovo's vision to provide augmented reality (AR) service to their customers.
This is an area that Lenovo is taking seriously enough that they are one of the investors in MetaVision, an augmented reality startup. Note: I got to check out the Meta2 AR headset prior to the side session.
During this presentation by Lenovo's Mattney Beck, the Worldwide Product Manager for the Accessories Business Unit and PC Business Group, the company covered what they see as the market trends in AR, the value in Immersive Computing, and their plan to offer turn-key solutions to commercial customers.
After clarifying the differences in Augmented (AR), Merged (Mixed) (MR), and Virtual Reality (VR), Beck went on to talk about the benefits of immersive computing over the traditional methods we use today:
— Unrestricted viewing (360 display)
— Interactions using hands, gestures, and voice
— Full body tracking with six dimensions of freedom
— Environment reconstruction and interaction
One very interesting stat that was provided showed the growth of AR/VR by 2020 would result in a $150 billion dollar opportunity for companies with AR carrying nearly $120 billion dollars of that business. In 2017 the share between AR and VR is pretty evenly split with a projected business opportunity of approximately $19 billion dollars and it more than doubling each year thereafter.
The projected number of AR hardware units that will ship by 2021 is 27 million for a market value of $49 billion dollars and stand alone hardware will make up 61% of that market with commercial use accounting for 79%. The two largest areas of AR use is expected to be in North American, Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
Other practical benefits noted by Beck with a move to immersive computing include:
— Space saving
— Virtual Desktops
— Easy Upgrades
Of course, all of those benefits will result in some level of cost savings for companies as well.
The use cases shared will sound very familiar if you have been following along with the entire AR/MR/VR wave over the last few years and include medical, education, retail, design, remote assistance, 3D Visualization, and information overlay.
Lenovo wants to get into this business by offering commercial companies a one-stop shop for their AR needs by providing the hardware, software, and partnering with multiple companies to create and sell these solutions.
It will be interesting to see how this evolves not only for Lenovo, but other companies that are already out front working with these types of technologies and how they plan to implement them for end users. I believe they must produce productivity otherwise they are just a distraction layer from the real work.