The latest report from NanoMarkets, an industry analyst company, suggests that the market for optical sensors for smart glasses could reach $3.2 billion by 2019.
NanoMarkets, with its "Smart Glasses: Component and Technology Markets—2014" report, takes a look at manufacturers of sensors, lightguides, microdisplays, and micromirrors, which are the components that comprise a working optical sensor. Although the companies it studied may have an established presence in other fields, such as Apple (News - Alert), Lenovo, and Texas Instruments, the market of creating optical sensors for smart glasses is relatively young and therefore has a lot of room to grow.
There are two distinct markets for smart glasses, NanoMarkets says. The glasses can both allow people to see better or enhance their worlds with augmented reality. The brand that many people are familiar with is Google (News - Alert), and the Google Glass platform has been adopted in a variety of settings. Notably, this includes operating rooms, as some surgeons have taken a liking to the smart technology because it helps complete tasks such as video recording and document retrieval without the use of their hands.
Although for many, Google acts as the face of the market, NanoMarkets asserts there may be as many as 30 different companies currently developing smart glasses technology. Some of these companies are large entities that are able to manufacture many of their own components, but other, smaller enterprises may need to outsource needs and purchase sensors and other components from specialized manufacturers. Some companies such as Tobii Technology actively work on optical tracking that can follow a person's gaze, and that technology is reflected in the company's Tobii Glasses 2 that were released this year.
At the Wearable Tech Conference & Expo that took place this past July, many companies presented wearable technology. One smart glasses developer, Vuzix, spoke about how the technology behind smart glasses will "forever change" how people interact with one another. It is certainly a far gone conclusion that the market will reward those who perform better in the future while weeding out those companies which do not deliver. The NanoMarkets report discusses the possibility that some companies will simply not survive the competition that is to come, but it suggests that, out of the flame, an enhanced wearables market will arrive and may further influence markets for other electronic components and semiconductor chips. It is certainly possible that the development of voice command, activity tracking, and camera-enhancement software will also have far-reaching implications beyond just the wearables on which they are included.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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