Facebook enters the market for smart glasses

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Facebook is making a foray into the world of smart eyewear. Last week, the social media behemoth announced a partnership with Ray-Ban to create Ray-Ban Stories.

The $299 glasses are capable of recording and storing images and video, as well as playing music and making phone calls. The new glasses do not support virtual or augmented reality and are primarily intended to enhance the wearer’s social media profile and experience, but they could have beneficial consequences for worksite work as well.

Ray-Ban Stories have two 5-megapixel cameras on the front, one next to each lens, on-temple speakers that double as open-air headphones, a touchpad, and three microphones. The glasses save the photographs and movies until the wearer transfers them to a companion smartphone app, from which they may be shared.

The implications for construction professionals are unclear at the moment, even more so given that Facebook is not the first social media or internet behemoth to introduce smart eyewear. Google made an attempt in 2013, and Snapchat made an attempt in 2016, but both failed to gain widespread adoption. The third iteration of Snapchat’s Spectacles allows users to capture and upload films to the image-sharing app. Google Glass is no longer commercially available, and the product’s most recent update was released in 2019.

Nonetheless, the glasses’ image-capture capabilities may find use in the construction business. Throughout the epidemic, project owners and contractors did not always have direct access to their job sites, which were frequently located on the opposite coast.

As a result, firms such as Clark Construction have resorted to simple videoconferencing to obtain a view of the jobsite as-built. Stakeholders might get a decent view of the jobsite with enough illumination, a strong signal, and a robust video platform.

Simultaneously, BIM technology have advanced, enabling the stitching of several, precisely shot pictures to create a virtual tour of a place.

Meanwhile, several governments, notably New York City, have embraced virtual inspections as a way to keep jobsites operational while also safeguarding workers and inspectors from COVID-19 exposure.

Equipping a foreman with the tools necessary to capture those images or videos via a wearable device might make a significant difference. The question is whether they are sufficiently cost effective and simple to use to entice building professionals to give them a try.

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