- Microsoft has announced the expansion of its mixed reality headset HoloLens to 29 new countries, in addition to plans for launching a HoloLens hardhat accessory next year, according to GeekWire.
- The existing device recently gained certification as protective eyewear, allowing Microsoft to expand its reach to an estimated more than 2 billion "firstline" workers in factories and fields who require such protection.
- Office workers, too, can benefit from HoloLens by allowing remote employees to work in virtual meetings and through 3-D collaboration.
The wearables market for the construction industry is still largely untapped, but it has much potential.
Though its popularity may have begun with fitness tracker giant Fitbit, construction professionals are seeing how the technology could help fill a need in the industry. With the potential to track statistics like heart rate, body temperature, geophysical location, and even EEG brain waves, wearable construction technology, especially, can have significant implications for monitoring worker safety.
Richmond, VA-based Hourigan Construction is looking at potential high-impact areas for wearable technology. One device, according to the company's virtual construction manager, would use a proximity sensor safety vest to identify when workers may be entering hazardous situations and keep track of employees in the event of an emergency.
While connected wearable technology promises to sense when workers may or may not be in safe conditions, other wearables developers are seeing potential in devices that keep warmers warm or cool in extreme environments. Others, still, are examining ways to monitor workers' fatigue levels, which could have a notable impact on worker safety and the quality of a project's work.
Though the technology is still in its nascent stages, the market segment is expected to grow by a CAGR of more than 24% from 2016 to 2023, exceeding $12 billion by the end of that period. And while the market faces challenges, from limited battery life to protecting those devices from the wear and tear of a construction site, the payoff from wearable technologies could prevent thousands of job site injuries and save construction companies thousands of dollars from insurance payouts and lost work.