Taiwanese Technology Firms are Reviving Smart Glasses

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Last month, Taipei hosted a tech show in which they displays various upcoming technologies to be released. One device in particular, created by Jorjin Technologies, was showcased by displaying a simulation of a surgery through two lenses. Jorjin Technologies’ smart glasses caught the attention of many at Computex Taipei.

Jorjin, along with 16 other companies situated within the country are reviving the wearables that are reminiscent of the Google Glass, which launched back in 2013. The issue with the Glass, however, was the broad general demographic that Google was trying to target, which led to the inability to reach their sales targets.

This past May, Google has focused its sights on the business world with their new Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, which is directed mainly towards business clients. The aforementioned Taiwanese companies predicted this shift years back and started tailoring their spectacle designs to business clients. Secretary general of the Taiwan Smart Glasses Industry Association Cheng Yu-Jung stated, ““we expect the industry growth rate to be better and better over time.” This statement was regarding Google Glass’ first attempt at release.

While, at the moment, the smart-glasses sector is relatively small in Taiwan, it has been growing. From ReportLinker forecasts, the market is projected to increase to about $20 billion by 2022, a significant increase from $340 million in 2017.

Taiwan is not the first country to attempt a redo of the Google Glass. North and Vuzix, both American firms, have made their own versions with costs upwards of $1,000. These companies decided not to focus solely on the business market. Epson, a Japanese company, is also selling glasses for a general demographic. However, Epson performs a significant amount of their research and development in Taiwan. “Because Taiwan is a major location for the IT industry, upstream and downstream companies form a complete hardware supply chain and it’s a good place for integrating that with software,” local sales representative Hsieh Hsiu-ju said at the Taipei tech show.

Taiwan has an existing domestic supply chain for consuming electronics, allowing the smart glass industry to grow rapidly. Smart glasses work similarly to mobile phones and tablets since they utilize voice and touch commands. This makes it easier for some Taiwanese manufacturers and suppliers to expand into smart glasses. “The whole supply chain in Taiwan is actually quite similar to other devices, and that means it’s a chain we’re familiar with,” Cheng says.

The glasses tailored towards business customers are preferred to include lightweight holographic lenses that support augmented reality. These uses of smart glasses in Taiwan eventually can be “copied over” to other places such as the U.S., Cheng says.

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