Smartglasses are only a few years from geeky, uncomfortable near-ubiquity.
Thanks to declining prices and improving feature sets, smartglasses shipments could reach 10 million a year by 2018, says Juniper Research. That’s a big increase over the 87,000 that smartglasses manufacturers– whoever they are — are expected to ship this year.
Core to this growth is pricing. As the cost of making — and buying — smartglasses comes down, adoption will increase. Likewise, before the tech takes off, manufacturers will need to design devices that can not only stand on their own, but also offer new, seamless experiences.
While most interest these days is focused on Google Glass and the consumer market, the really interesting applications are going to come from the enterprise and healthcare sectors, where wearables will be used for diagnostic research, and, eventually, assisting surgeries.
Some of this is already reality. Back in August, doctors at Ohio State University performed knee ligament surgery while wearing Glass and streamed it to people miles away. Likewise, companies like Scope Technologies are already experimenting with using augmented reality to create custom training and maintenance software.
In other words, much of what Juniper Research is speculating is very much underway.