Vuzix Corp (NASDAQ: VUZI) announced June 13th that it one of its leading lines of Smart Glasses, M300, is now available for general orders. Although the company had been accepting pre-orders for the glasses for some time, it’s only now that the “pre-order” restriction is being lifted and the glasses going into regular production. Vuzix is a leading supplier of Smart Glasses and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies for the consumer and enterprise markets.
The announcement comes at a time when AR and Smart Glasses are seeing considerable growth. Although the market is still in its infancy, it has considerable room to grow. Some estimates see the industry growing to $14 billion, up from $2.34 billion in 2015. Sales rose from 50,000 units in 2012 to over a million in 2016. Vuzix management estimates that eventually, up to 14.4 million U.S.workers will use smart glasses.
In short, the smart glasses market is growing rapidly and shows no signs of slowing down. Indeed, there are many signs that the market may grow even faster in the years ahead. As a Vuzix report noted, manufacturing is quickly moving from the United States to China, resulting in lower manufacturing costs. Eventually, these savings will be passed on to consumers and result in smart glasses becoming more affordable for them. These are all strong signs that the smart glasses market will continue to grow in the years ahead.
The recent move by Vuzix indicates a major move in the smart glasses industry. While the company has been developing smart glasses and AR headsets for years, it has yet to make its M300 product widely available to consumer and enterprise users. By lifting the ‘pre-order’ restriction on M300 smart glasses, the company signals its intent to do just that. The company has been developing smart glasses for decades, in partnership with leading companies like Intel and Nokia, but it’s only recently that they have made their more high-end products widely available to buyers. It’s a vote of confidence in the marketability of smart glasses, in both the consumer and enterprise markets.
A Company Driving Innovation
Vuzix is a company with a long history. Founded in 1997, it has been making headsets and video eyewear since the early 2000s, and has consistently won Consumer Electronics Show (CES) awards from 2005 to 2017.
Vuzix got into the smart glasses industry early. It is frequently mentioned alongside the leading companies in the space, such as Google, Sony and Samsung. The company holds 49 existing patents, has 43 patents pending, and a owns a number of other IP licenses in the video eyewear field.
Originally, the company was focused on developing video headsets and other basic AR technology. But when the smart glasses revolution got underway, Vuzix was quick to adopt, and rose to become one of the main players in the industry.
Today, Vuzix is an established player in the smart glasses and AR industries. The company had approximately $1,211,012 in revenue in the quarter ending March 31, making it a relatively small but growing company in the space.
Vuziz manufactures and sells a wide variety of eyewear, audio and headset products. Among its leading products are the M300 smart glasses, M100 smart glasses, IWear Video Headphones(r), and more. The company has further plans to develop even more products, including the AR3000, M3000 and Blade smart glasses. It’s all part of a long term strategy to capture market share in the smart glasses market–particularly the enterprise segment.
An Eye on Enterprise
A core element of Vuzix’s market strategy is an emphasis on the enterprise segment of that market. Until now, smart glasses have mostly been seen as a speculative consumer product for ‘early adopters’ and tech savvy people. In actual fact, the most important use of smart glasses may be in enterprise settings, particularly manufacturing.
So far, smart glasses are showing considerable promise in this sector. They are not yet being widely used in enterprise, although early adoption has begun to take place, with solid results. Vuzix management estimates that up to 14.4 million U.S. workers may be using smart glasses in the coming years.
As evidence of the effectiveness of smart glasses in enterprise settings, Accenture recently published a report titled “Airbus Soars with Wearables.” The report details a several months long partnership between Airbus and Accenture, with the aim of developing a smart glasses solution for airplane cabin manufacturing.
According to the report, Airbus saw ROI-positive results from the partnership. In particular, the company report improved ergonomics, an error rate reduced to 0, and a 500% increase in productivity. These results point to the power of wearable tech to deliver ROI-positive results in enterprise settings.
About Vuzix’s M300 Smart Glasses
Vuzix’s website touts the M300 Smart Glasses as being “perfect for enterprise.” The glasses are advertised as providing true hands-free computing, as well as unprecedented access to information and data collection. The company says that they can be used to “improve existing workflows and open new opportunities in industrial, medical, retail, supply chain, remote help desk, and other aspects of your business.”
The M300 is based on a common core platform that uses the Intel Atom processor, one of the most advanced mobile processors in the business. The glasses run on the Android operating system. Among the features that come with the glasses, the Vuzix website lists “a monocular display and onboard processor, expandable memory, recording features and wireless connectivity capabilities.”
Vuzix says that the M300 Smart Glasses have been designed for enterprise, professional and semi-professional users. It comes with pre-installed apps for tracking timed events, managing calendars, and phone linking, as well as an HD video camera for recording content. It has Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, integrated head-tracking and on-board GPS. The glasses were designed to be “rugged,” with a durable construction made from resilient materials. This allows for extensive outdoor use, a helpful feature in many industries.
By opening M300 to regular orders, Vuzix demonstrates its faith in the future of smart glasses in the enterprise sector. M300 Smart Glasses may be ordered on the company’s website, on Amazon, and many other places on the web.