4Q 2021

Extended Reality for Industrial Environments

Extended reality (XR) wearables are rapidly maturing from novel entertainment devices to serious operational tools. Innovative hardware improvements and progressive software applications mixed with decreasing costs have accelerated this change, even for jobs performed in harsh environments. XR is an umbrella term that refers to any technology that alters a user’s perception of their environment. These technologies include more widely known subcategories, such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), assisted reality (ASR), and mixed reality (MR).

Historically, AR and VR teetered on the edge of practicality, with limited perceived benefits and functionality, prohibitive costs, developmental roadblocks, and disruptive vendor attrition. More recently, however, their effective use in operational applications has contributed to an uptick in industrial interest and the expansion of vendor offerings.

This report discusses the latest market trends in XR for utilities, energy, emergency response, construction, manufacturing, and other industrial environments. It also provides detailed and actionable recommendations for how customers and vendors can address this fast-changing market.

Pages 14
Tables | Charts | Figures 9
  • What are the primary applications of XR in industrial environments?
  • Which use cases present compelling cases for adopting XR wearables?
  • What are the pros and cons of each technology?
  • What factors are driving adoption of these technologies?
  • What challenges must the XR wearables market overcome to drive widespread adoption in industry?
  • Manufacturing and warehousing providers
  • Utilities and energy providers
  • Emergency response and frontline healthcare providers
  • XR wearables manufacturers
  • XR systems developers
  • Government bodies
  • Investor community




Extended Reality Modernizes Work in Industrial Environments

Smart Glasses Are Not XR Wearables

ASR Technology Supports Workers with Task-Relevant Information

AR and MR Technologies Integrate Digital and Real Environments

VR Technology Offers Immersive Training Applications

XR Accelerates Training and Amplifies Capabilities

VR Assists with Asset Inspection, Training, and Walkthroughs

AR Provides Remote Assistance Capabilities and Operational Support

Remote Assistance and Knowledge Capture Preserve Institutional Knowledge

Costs, Usability, and Device Availability Delay Adoption

Costs Influence Device Selection

AR Developers Must Prove the Technology’s Usability

Device Availability Restricts Adoption

Funding and Acceptance Are Key to Accelerating XR Adoption

XR System Vendors Must Leverage Creative Funding Structure

Device Manufacturers Must Continue Innovating and Should Pursue Partnerships

Companies Must Identify Impactful Use Cases and Start Pilot Projects

  • The XR Continuum
  • Vuzix Blade and Ray-Ban Stories: Similar, but Not the Same
  • ASR Wearables
  • AR Wearables
  • VR Wearables
  • AR/MR for Construction and Manufacturing
  • First Responders Access Patient Information with AR Wearables
  • Spatialized Work Instructions in AR
  • Key XR Wearable Devices for Industrial Environments
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