A new report by Juniper Research has found that a combination of lengthy time-to-market and lack of a key consumer use case has resulted in low levels of shipments and adoption in the smart glasses space. The report, Smart Glasses: Consumer, Enterprise and Healthcare Strategies and Forecasts 2014-2019, estimated that shipments were unlikely to exceed 10 million per annum until 2018.
Juniper Research expects sales to be buoyed slightly by fresh releases by several key play
ers in 2015-2016, including Samsung, Recon Instruments and the Microsoft-owned Osterhout Design Group. At this point, the report argues that greater utility within the enterprise and healthcare segments is likely to spur development until the devices catch on outside these markets.
The Slow Path to Social Acceptance
The report also found that smart glasses continue to raise privacy and safety concerns from many consumers and government bodies. It argued that these need to be addressed or assuaged before the devices become accepted, although prices and their status as supplementary devices mean that smart glasses will remain niche for the medium-term.
According to the report, smart glasses development is at a comparable stage to smartphones in the early 2000s, primarily focused on the enterprise sector. As workplaces are likely to share devices between users, rather than purchase devices in bulk for all their employees, this will result in high investment but low shipment volumes to the enterprise for the next five years.
Other Key Findings Include:
Android will remain the dominant smart glasses OS (operating system), although the anticipated release of the Samsung Gear Blink in 2015 will bring Tizen into the space.
Most current smart glasses software is supplied on a bespoke basis to enterprise users. Visible software progress across the industry will remain low outside a few showcased achievements until software-sharing spaces emerge.