Within the last decade, Osterhout Design Group (ODG) has seen a considerable shift from its original military market focus in 1984. Recent advancements, including its own $58 million Series A investment in 2016, have set a primed environment for ODG to expand its market to different areas within the enterprise sector.
With its new R-7HL (Hazardous Location), ODG has further expanded its clientele, as well as taken steps to reclassify the image of enterprise AR from corporate tech toy to hardened piece of industrial equipment.
The R-7HL is the first smartglass from ODG made specifically for the industrial workforce. The design starts with typical R-7 hardware (Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, 3GB RAM, 64 GB storage) and strengthens it, adding layers of protection (given a Military Standard 810G). The new R-7HL is water resistant, able to withstand extreme temperatures, and resistant to dirt/mist and other environmental hazards. The device has also been built with intrinsic safety (IS), a specification to protect against wire sparking – crucial in areas where an explosion can occur.
This new set of smartglasses represents ODG’s response to consumer demand. Roughly half of original R-7 purchasers were unable to use the device properly all the time, given its inability to handle the extremes of industrial work. ODG is confident that the R-7HL can now provide at least 80% coverage on all oil and gas plants, greatly increasing the device’s usefulness within the workplace.
To some, ODG’s announcement may seem strange. The creation of a HL version of the R-7 at the same time as the R-8 and R-9 are being prepped for release appears odd. ODG has explained that the R-7 was chosen due to its increased brightness over the two newer models. Brightness was a factor sacrificed to improve FOV on the R-8 and R-9. Given how vital reading the layout could be on an R-7HL, this appears like a wise trade-off.
Going forward, ODG is positioned to grow its customer base. This move is significant as AR builds within the enterprise environment. Greenlight Insights expects to see more specialized smartglasses in the future as ODG and its competitors continue to diversify their offerings to meet demand. The R-7HL will be a mid-market device for enterprise AR, offering more safety and interactivity than Google Glass but not as protective as the Daqri Smart Helmet.
The R-7HL is available for pre-order now at $3,500 (regular R-7 costs $2,750). The device is expected to ship in Q2 of this year.
Greenlight Insights' analysts produce an advanced research service designed to provide a complete, comparative view of the future outlook for the augmented reality-enabled business models. Enterprise AR will continue to grow in 2017 as more enterprise firms, investors, hardware vendors, and content developers enter the sector.