You might wonder if you’ve accidentally stumbled across an old article. Back in 2014, Google Glass was all the rage for a few short months before the reality-altering fad faded away. Was Google Glass ahead of its time or simply a misfire? With a new generation of smart glasses — also called augmented reality or AR glasses — hitting the market, we may find out.
Back in December, the Wall Street Journal mused that smart glasses could be Apple’s successor for the iPhone. Just as smartphones put computers in our pockets and ushered in a new age of GPS navigation, localized search results and all the rest, smart glasses may immerse us in a metaverse that breaks down the gap between virtual reality and real reality.
Research firm Facts and Factors estimates that the smart glasses market was worth about $5.8 billion in 2018, but will rise to $123 billion in 2027.
So what makes AR glasses interesting? Smart glasses want to put the web right in front of your eyes. Need directions? Instead of glancing down at your phone and then up at the road or sidewalk, smart glasses could simply overlay directions in your field of vision, showing you where to turn or whatever else.
Smart glasses aim to augment our reality. Rather than replacing what’s in front of us like virtual reality, they aim to improve real-world interactions. For example, walking past a restaurant? Smart glasses could automatically pull up reviews or perhaps coupon codes.
So are AR glasses the next hot gadget? Many think so, but doubters persist. And ultimately, it’s us end-users who typically decide the fate of gadgets. But if AR glasses do stick, businesses should pay close attention. Just as the internet, social media, and smartphones changed markets, smart glasses could as well.