(Image Credit: Microsoft)
A new study by market research specialists Juniper Research points towards over 12 million consumer smart glasses shipping in 2020, with the market reinvigorated from 2017 by Microsoft’s impressive HoloLens wearable.
HoloLens uses Augmented Reality (AR) to manipulate the world around the wearer. In demonstrations, we’ve seen the HoloLens being used for lifestyle reasons, productivity, and even for gaming with an incredible Minecraft demo showed during the E3 conference last year.
Excitement for HoloLens is high, arguably beyond that of Google Glass which – although technically still a work in progress – Google has scaled-back on and many consumers have lost the interest which the device once held. The market needs to be reinvigorated for any smart glasses to be a success, and Microsoft is set to achieve this if Juniper’s analysts are correct.
Juniper’s projections in Consumer & Enterprise Smart Glasses: Opportunities & Forecasts 2016-2020, detail how smart glasses already provide a range of niche consumer use cases, like the Recon Jet’s cyclist and athletics focus, as well as providing strong benefits across many workplaces. However, uncertainty around how the devices would be used by consumers has stunted the market’s development.
Also explored in Juniper’s research is why the Google Glass didn’t catch-on with general consumers, and what lessons can be learned from the project going forward. The primary reason highlighted for Glass’ failure was the focus on taking your smart glasses everywhere, which is far too big of a lifestyle change for many people. Instead, manufacturers should focus on home-based use cases when it comes to boosting consumer adoption.
Where the use of smart glasses is already beginning to blossom is the workplace, in which vendors like Vuzix, Atheer and even Google are beginning to see more usage as businesses realise their advantages to offer more information to a wearer than what the naked eye can see. “Hands-free computing and video transmission can be a huge productivity booster in many workplaces now, while it’s not a huge draw for consumers,” remarked research author James Moar. “It will take the development of devices that give unique vision-based capabilities, that can’t be replicated by a smartphone, for a truly worthwhile consumer use case for smart glasses to emerge.”
The whitepaper, Smart Glasses ~ Seeing Through the Hype, is available to download from the Juniper Research website together with further details of the new research.
Do you think HoloLens will help to revitalise the market? Share your thoughts in the comments.