(The following is a reformatted version of a press release
issued by IHS Media Relations and received via electronic mail.
The release was confirmed by the sender.) 
Spurred by Google Glass, IHS Forecasts Nearly 10 Million Smart
Glasses to Ship from 2012 to 2016 
London (April 24, 2013)--Initiated by the arrival of Google
Glass and magnified by Google’s efforts to promote application
development for the product, the global market for smart glasses
could amount to almost 10 million units from 2012 through 2016. 
Shipments of smart glasses may rise to as high 6.6 million units
in 2016, up from just 50,000 in 2012, for a total of 9.4 million
units for the five-year period, according to an upside forecast
from IMS Research, now part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS). Growth this
year will climb 150 percent to 124,000 shipments, mostly driven
by sales to developers, as presented in the high-end outlook in
the attached figure. Expansion will really begin to accelerate
in 2014 with the initial public availability of Google Glass, as
shipment growth powers up to 250 percent, based on the
optimistic forecast. 
Smart glass products like Google Glass are wearable computers
with a head-mounted display. 
Google Glass this month began shipping to application developers
who registered as early backers and paid the $1,500 price tag.
This is expected to spur innovations in applications that should
take Glass from early adopters to the mass market. As the
developers get to work and Google encourages venture capitalists
to back them, shipments will begin to surge to high volumes,
according to the upside forecast. 
However, the success of Google Glass will depend primarily on
the applications developed for it. If developers fail to produce
compelling software and uses for the devices, shipments could be
significantly lower during the next several years. 
“The applications are far more critical than the hardware when
it comes to the success of Google Glass,” said Theo Ahadome,
senior analyst at IHS. “In fact, the hardware is much less
relevant to the growth of Google Glass than for any other
personal communications device in recent history. This is
because the utility of Google Glass is not readily apparent, so
everything will depend on the appeal of the apps. This is why
the smart glass market makes sense for a software-oriented
organization like Google, despite the company’s limited previous
success in developing hardware. Google is betting the house that
developers will produce some compelling applications for Glass.” 
The glass is half full 
According to the optimistic scenario, developers will succeed in
producing augmented reality applications for smart glasses that
provide the user with information that can be safely and
conveniently be integrated into casual use. Such applications
typically are known as augmented reality, which involves adding
a layer of computer-generated data to real-world people, places
and things. 
“The true success of Glass will be when it can provide some
information to users not apparent when viewing people, places or
things,” Ahadome said. “This information may include live
updates for travel, location reviews and recommendations,
nutritional information and matching personal preferences, and
previous encounters to aid decision making. The upside for smart
glasses will arise when they become a powerful information
platform. In many ways, this is exactly what Google already does
via other mediums, and also is why the upside scenario seems
more likely.” 
Broken glass 
Under a more pessimistic scenario, IHS forecasts that only about
1 million smart glasses will be shipped through 2016. 
According to this outlook, applications for smart glasses will
be limited to some of those already displayed by Google in its
Glass marketing. These include scenarios where smart glasses
become more of a wearable camera device than a true augmented
reality system. In this case, smart glasses will be mainly used
for recording sports and other non-casual events, like jumping
out of a plane, as demonstrated at the Google I/O developer
conference in 2012. 
However, Glass will face competition from alternative wearable
camera devices already in the market, such as GoPro Hero or
Recon MOD Live. 
While the wearable camera market was worth more than $200
million in 2012, it is not the multibillion-dollar market that
smart glasses can achieve with wider applicability. 
“The less frequently consumers interact with any personal
communications device, the less valuable it becomes,” Ahadome
observed. “If smart glasses become devices that are used only
occasionally, rather than all the time, they become less
attractive and desirable to consumers.” 
For more information, please contact: 
Jonathan Cassell
Senior Manager, Editorial
Direct: + 1 408 654 1714
Mobile: + 408 921 3754 
IHS Media Relations
+1 303 305 8021 
About IHS (www.ihs.com) 
IHS (NYSE: IHS) is the leading source of information, insight
and analytics in critical areas that shape today’s business
landscape. Businesses and governments in more than 165 countries
around the globe rely on the comprehensive content, expert
independent analysis and flexible delivery methods of IHS to
make high-impact decisions and develop strategies with speed and
confidence. IHS has been in business since 1959 and became a
publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005.
Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, USA, IHS is committed to
sustainable, profitable growth and employs 6,700 people in 31
countries around the world. 
IHS is a registered trademark of IHS Inc. All other company and
product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Copyright © 2013 IHS Inc. All rights reserved. 
(bjh) NY 
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