The research study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global smart glasses market for 2016-2020. The report presents the major vendors that manufacture AR smart glasses in regions such as the Americas, Asia-Pacific (APAC), and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).
In 2015, the enterprises segment was the largest contributor both in terms of revenue and unit shipment. This segment accounted for over 97% of the global smart glasses shipment compared to the individual consumers’ segment, which contributed merely 2.77%.
Major vendors such as Atheer, Epson, ODG, Microsoft, Sony, and Vuzix are focusing on the enterprises segment. This is because they have wider application areas for the use of smart glasses in this segment. In 2015, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo held in Los Angeles, California, Microsoft advertised their HoloLens AR smart glasses with a focus on gaming applications for consumer segment.
Technavio hardware and semiconductor analysts highlight the following four factors that are contributing to the growth of the global smart glasses market:
- Growing awareness of augmented reality (AR) technology
- Increasing adoption of crowdfunding strategy
- Increased developer interest
- Incorporation of SLAM technology in AR
Growing awareness of augmented reality (AR) technology
Number of market players implementing AR technology has grown during 2013-2015. Multiple consumer brands such as Nike, Pepsi, Maybelline, and Converse have undertaken AR campaigning and released numerous gaming and navigation apps on iOS and Android platforms. In 2014, Walgreens, one of the largest drug retailers in the US, launched an innovative AR app to help customers navigate through stores. This app will also notify customers on sales and discounts and help them score loyalty points. The company uses technology developed by Aisle411 in association with Google's Project Tango, which uses a specially designed tablet with depth-sensing cameras to identify customers' exact location.
Navin Rajendra, an industry expert, specializing in human machine interface at Technavio, says, “Microsoft's AR smart glass HoloLens is expected increase the popularity of AR technology during the forecast period. Technavio expects that rising awareness and interest will prompt end-users to AR smart glasses.”
Increasing adoption of crowdfunding strategy
Vendors in the global smart glasses market are adopting crowdfunding route for raising funds for their projects. This have benefited the market in many ways. It has increased awareness among potential customers and provided enormous opportunities for small vendors to innovate and succeed in stiff competition. Crowdfunding allows vendors to anticipate customer interest for their products. It enables direct interaction with potential buyers, involving them in the product development stage. This helps vendors build suitable products for the market.
Increased developer interest
“Individual developers play a vital role in the market in developing apps for AR technology. Several individual developers have shown interest in buying developer kits of smart glasses and create unique apps. It is estimated that more than 10,000 developers have Google Glass and are experimenting by developing apps,” adds Navin. On Kickstarter, AR company Meta launched its Meta 1 Developer Kit with a target to raise USD 100,000 and overachieved it with USD 194,444 within 30 days. This indicates the heightened interest among users in AR technology and in the development of apps for it, which will help the growth of the market.
Incorporation of SLAM technology in AR
Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) is a popular and important autonomous mapping and navigation technique in mobile robotics. Originally used as eyes for NASA robots, SLAM is a technology used for creating maps of unknown environments and positioning devices with extreme accuracy. The world's first SLAM implementation in consumer devices is brought by 13th Lab and continues to be the unchallenged leader in this field. This company was acquired by Oculus, which is a US-based VR company. Technavio expects the US to be the prominent market for SLAM technology in the initial stages. SLAM is an ideal technology for AR as it gives a markerless experience compared to marker-based AR in which images need to be printed out.
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