Smart glasses are set to make a comeback next year, recovering from a brief setback after Google Glass was withdrawn from sale in 2015.
In a new study, Consumer & Enterprise Smart Glasses: Opportunities & Forecasts 2016- 2020, Juniper Research forecasts that consumer smart glasses shipments will increase from less than a million in 2016 to 12 million in 2020.
Growth will happen as Microsoft’s HoloLens becomes generally available and glasses from vendors like ODG, Sony, Meta and (potentially) Magic Leap move from developer-only devices to general availability.
Juniper believes the key to growth in the consumer smart glasses segment lies in homebased applications rather than the Google Glass approach of taking smart glasses everywhere. In this respect, they have more in common with consumer tablets, which are primarily used indoors.
Juniper Research points out that while an appealing consumer smart glasses product has yet to be launched, the benefis of smart glasses are already being realised in the workplace, with vendors like Vuzix, Atheer and even Google focussing on enterprise use.
Research author James Moar said: “Handsfree computing and video transmission can be a huge productivity booster in many workplaces now, but it’s not a huge draw for consumers. 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.”