Despite the fact that bemusement overrides excitement when it comes to wearable technology in 2013, analysts continue to predict a major groundswell in the market once more devices start to hit shelves. Juniper Research believes that by 2018, smart glasses such as Google Glass will reach 10 million annual shipments, compared to around just 87,000 this year. In order for smart glasses to reach this critical mass, the report’s author Nitin Bhas believes that the wearable devices “would need to incorporate intuitive and user-friendly functionalities and capture the imagination of the general public making the technology seamless within their daily routine.”
Consumer adoption will lead the way, but businesses have a lot to gain from the augmented reality features of smart glasses as well, Juniper argues. Before any of this growth can happen, vendors will need to find a way to make wearable tech more attractive, because as it stands, the Galaxy Gear isn’t changing our minds. The full press release follows below.
Wearable Smart Glasses Shipments to Reach 10 Million Globally by 2018, finds Juniper Research
Hampshire, UK – 12th November 2013: New findings from leading hi-tech analysts, Juniper Research, has revealed that global wearable ‘Smart Glasses’ shipments will reach 10 million per annum by 2018, compared to an estimated 87,000 this year.
Juniper Research notes that as the retail price for Smart Glasses decline towards the end of the forecast period, the adoption level amongst consumers will significantly increase.
The Need to Achieve Critical Mass
Juniper’s latest report, ‘Smart Glasses: Market Prospects 2013-2018’ argues that in order for wearable devices such as smart glasses to achieve critical mass, they need to be much more than complementary devices or secondary screens. Report author Nitin Bhas added: “These devices would need to incorporate intuitive and user-friendly functionalities and capture the imagination of the general public making the technology seamless within their daily routine”.
While the industry acknowledges the future for wearable computing, it is however divided on the form factor for such devices. While some consider smart watches to be more socially and naturally accepted, others promote the potential use cases for smart glasses. However, a number of hurdles such as privacy exists for smart wearable devices to overcome for mass acceptance.
Consumer Adoption to Lead, Followed by Enterprise & Healthcare
The new report found that shipments of smart glasses will be driven primarily by the consumer sector, followed by the enterprise and healthcare sectors.
First generation applications such as video documentation and communication will be initially used in the healthcare sector, but the true potential of smart glasses will begin to be realised when diagnostic reference, surgical assistance and monitoring can be applied. Long term growth will be achievable but regulatory approval and field trials will potentially impact timescales.
In the enterprise sector, a number of use cases for smart glasses exists, ranging from engineering to logistics applications. App developers are currently figuring out custom enterprise use cases for developing apps for smart glasses.
However, the largest opportunity will be in the consumer sector with the rate of adoption largely dependent on the market availability of attractive hardware and apps.