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Xiaomi Enters the World of Smart Glasses, and It Can Potentially Be Good for Businesses
September 24, 2021 News


Written by: Martin Dale Bolima, Tech Journalist, AOPG.

It’s been an interesting month for smart glasses. Facebook, in collaboration with eyewear leader Ray-Ban, and leading smartphone maker Xiaomi released smart glasses a week apart, with the former first unveiling Ray-Ban Stories and the latter announcing the Xiaomi Smart Glasses thereafter.

Ray-Ban Stories are aesthetically pleasing, as is the norm with Ray-Ban eyewear. They are, however, short on both useful features and technological innovation to get excited about. Put bluntly, Ray-Ban Stories are a rehashed version of the now-retired Google Glass for consumers but only better looking. Moreover, the 5MP built-in cameras, music playback feature and a small LED on the right camera lens do not at all justify a pair’s hefty USD $300 price tag.

The Xiaomi Smart Glasses, in contrast, look like a pair of run-of-the-mill shades, especially when juxtaposed with Ray-Ban Stories. But what the former lacks in aesthetic appeal, they more than makeup for in innovation that may very well recalibrate how smart glasses are viewed today. Like most other smart glasses, Xiaomi’s can take pictures and videos and also play music.  A pair of these, though, can do much more.

Among other things, Xiaomi Smart Glasses can also display messages and notifications, make hand-free calls, provide navigation and even translate text in real-time. These devices run on Android, are powered by a quad-core ARM processor and feature MicroLED imaging technology, which is comparatively better than OLED due to its longer lifespan and higher brightness.

Interestingly, Xiaomi is positioning Smart Glasses not as a secondary smartphone display but as an independent smart wearable that “functions as a new smart terminal with independent operating capability.” Xiaomi also highlighted how Smart Glasses incorporate key interaction logic “to minimise interruptions at inconvenient times and display important information timely when critical.”

A Potential Game-Changer in the World of Work

The innovations introduced in the Xiaomi Smart Glasses can, theoretically, lead to renewed interest among common-day consumers and potentially push smart glasses closer to the mainstream. Critically, though, the advanced features of Xiaomi’s latest product may have enterprise- or work-related implications.

To date, among the more notable use cases of utilising smart glasses at the enterprise level are Deutsche Post DHL Group deploying some 400 Google Glass units in its warehouse and Israeli company Plataine developing a Google Glass-specific virtual assistant using Google’s Dialogflow augmented by image recognition Artificial Intelligence. In both use cases, staff of DHL and Plataine are provided information directly via Google Glass, enabling them to reference given data immediately, communicate seamlessly and, more importantly, peruse information hands-free so that they can use both hands for doing the actual manual work.

These use cases, however, have been for the most part few and far between, in part because of the inherent limitations so far of the smart glasses available in the market. Most notable among these limitations is the fact that smart glasses are, at the core, just an extension or second screen of a larger device, whether it be a computer or a smartphone. Smart glasses are also costly, with the units themselves ranging in the hundreds of dollars, plus all the software purchases and customisation costs required to make each unit function as intended.

The Xiaomi Smart Glasses can potentially address these issues, especially if they stay true to Xiaomi’s previous proclamation that these hi-tech glasses are independent devices. At the very least, Xiaomi Smart Glasses might serve as the blueprint for more advanced and more powerful smart glasses that can be used by organisations to enhance aspects of their business, by improving communication, enhancing inventory practices and more.

Xiaomi, however, has clarified that the Xiaomi Smart Glasses are still just concept wearables, and are still without either a release date or a price range. Even so, these glasses are looking like potential game-changers in the world of work, and they might just pave the way for smart glasses being used more at the enterprise or business level.