James Heppelmann from last week's conference call
There's been a lot of buzz about augmented reality [AR] generated recently by Facebook and Snapchat. That technology is fun for consumers, but it'll be transformational for enterprises.
You may not have thought of it this way yet, but if IoT [internet of things] brings data from the physical world into the digital world where it can be analyzed and understood, then augmented reality takes the resulting information from the digital world and overlays it back on the physical world to put it in context. Because AR is not very interesting without a source of real-time digital content about the physical world, IoT and AR make a great combination together.
As I've highlighted over the past few quarters, we're really excited about the new [PTC] ThingWorx Studio offering, which allows authors to use drag-and-drop techniques to create dynamic AR experiences driven by live IoT content. This closed loop happens in real time so that by simply looking at a connected product through a smart device, you see everything you need to know about it. Essentially, we can put a heads-up display on anything using your phone, tablet or HoloLens or other smart glasses.
With the addition of studio into ThingWorx, you can think of ThingWorx as being in IoT system with an AR front end or you can think of ThingWorx as an AR system with a dynamic IoT content pipeline.
There's a definition of augmented reality that, in most people's minds, doesn't include IoT. Personally, in the enterprise business, I think they belong together. I think that, generally speaking, most forecasts for the AR market have even higher growth rates than the IoT market. So if nothing else, this should accelerate either the market or our opportunity relative to the market. I think there's a huge amount of interest.
Now I think this is a much earlier market, AR is not quite as far along as IoT. And in particular, one thing that would break the dam open would be better wearable smart glasses.
What PTC Thinks About HoloLens
The HoloLens from Microsoft is a huge step forward, but I could think of a couple ways to improve them further. It's rumored, and Mr. Zuckerberg's fueled that rumor a little bit more yesterday, that there are much better glasses coming.
And so for me, we want to be ready because we think that the glasses are uninteresting without content to show in them. And getting the content ready and the engine to feed content in the glasses is its own project. And we want to make sure that by the time the glasses are ready, that we have an unbelievable engine to feed content into them.
So that's why we're pushing on it so hard. And the day that you find a pair of glasses that looks like the ones Zuckerberg was showing yesterday, I'm going to be pretty excited. But I think, if nothing else, it's a tailwind to say as this IoT business gets bigger and bigger, are we confident PTC can sustain our growth rate, and this is something that ought to be helping us.
- - -