With Google preparing to launch a consumer version of Google Glass sometime next year and Samsung already working on a competing device, the computing eyewear industry is about to either take off or flop in a big way.
This week, market research Juniper Research released a report predicting that the smart glasses industry will hit 10 million yearly shipments by the year 2018. This is compared to the paltry 87,000 units that shipped this year.
The report states that by 2018 the prices for smart glasses will fall to levels acceptable for general tech consumers, increasing adoption rates substantially. However, the report also cautions that the technology will never take hold unless some issues are resolved.
One is obviously the privacy concerns that come along with devices such as Google Glass. Fears about surreptitious video recording and facial recognition technologies have already been voiced. At least one designer has already created a "privacy cover" for Google Glass' camera.
In addition to privacy concerns, the Juniper report believes that the devices will have to do more than display information. True smart technologies such as prediction and autonomous functions will be needed to make the smart glasses truly useful.
“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”
Juniper believes that the enterprise sector will also drive smart glasses sales once the devices realize their potential. The healthcare industry in particular could find them useful for monitoring and diagnostic purposes.