Facebook tests the water with its first-gen smart glasses
By Rupantar Guha, associate project manager for thematic research at GlobalDataElectronics Embedded Systems Engineering Software Optoelectronics Engineering Wearable Technology glasses smart wearable
Move made before rivals such as Apple enter the market says GlobalData
Facebook’s first-generation smart glasses are a cautious move to test the waters before rivals such as Apple enter the market. While Facebook’s product will likely be similar to Snap’s Spectacles 3, the company must deliver compelling audio and video experiences if it is to make waves in the consumer smart glasses market, which GlobalData estimates will be worth $565-million by 2030, up from $70M in 2020.
Widespread adoption will depend on the device’s usability and price. Presumably, the lack of augmented reality (AR) capabilities will help keep prices down. However, while the artificial intelligence (AI) based voice assistant, spatial audio and a built-in camera will go a long way, they should really be adding in audio experiences such as fitness coaching, navigation, news, language translation and music streaming to the fray if they want to appeal to the broader consumer base that do not use Facebook’s social media services.
Smart glasses are still a niche market as there are currently only a few things the devices can do better than smartphones. Many also perceive smart glasses as a threat to privacy due to built-in cameras and microphones that can record video and audio.
Facebook ranks ninth out of 48 companies in GlobalData’s consumer electronics thematic sector scorecard. The scorecard considers which companies are leading in various themes, taking into account how we predict the company will perform in the coming years. Facebook scores four out of five in the wearable tech theme thanks to its Quest VR headsets. Its new smart glasses could improve its position in this theme, but Facebook will be under regulatory scrutiny to prevent any misuse of user data.
The success of its smart glasses is vital for Facebook’s growing wearable tech ambitions. Facebook’s plans for AR smart glasses and smartwatches will hinge on whether it can develop a variety of experiences for potential users and its handling of data privacy issues.