Enterprises will be initial targets of smartglass vendors, predicts ABI
Enterprises will be the initial targets of smartglass vendors, because high prices, low battery life and style issues will inhibit smartglass adoption in the consumer market, judges ABI Research.
ABI's prediction contradicts the view of many analysts who have questioned the viability of smartglasses, particularly Google Glass, in the enterprise. They point out that Google Glass poses privacy, safety and legal risks that would prevent widespread adoption by companies.
A development last week that could accelerate acceptability of Google Glass in the consumer market was an agreement between Google and vision care insurance VSP under which Google Glass frames and prescription lenses would be covered by the insurer, The New York Times reports.
ABI forecast that only 2 million smartglasses will be shipped this year, but the research firm expects the smartglass market to grow rapidly from 2015 onwards.
In 2014, only wearable computing devices with a clear use case, such as healthcare and sports and activity trackers, will succeed, the research firm says.
"The next twelve months will be a critical period for the acceptance and adoption of wearable devices. Healthcare and sports and activity trackers are rapidly becoming mass-market products. On the flipside, wearable devices like smartwatches need to overcome some critical obstacles. Aesthetic design, more compelling use cases, battery life and lower price points are the main inhibitors. How vendors approach these challenges and their respective solutions will affect the wearable market far in the future," says senior analyst Joshua Flood.
Despite these reservations, ABI forecasts that 90 million wearable devices will be shipped this year.