The blog TechBitzz has an interesting write-up from Wednesday on electronics giant Lenovo’s partnership with a 35 person New York City based start-up, Vuzix to create an enterprise-ready equivalent to Google Glass.
Vuzix was known as a maker of mounted video eyewear and launched its own smart glasses in December 2013. Earlier in 2014, the two companies struck a deal to have Lenovo sell Vuzix’s M100 as a co-brand.
The glasses will run Google’s Android operating system – nothing new there. But what is different is Lenovo and Vuzix’ plans for marketing the device. Rather than target the (small) fan boy and early adopter consumer market, the two companies are focusing on business customers as a natural home for connected wearables like ‘smart’ glasses.
|Read more Security Ledger coverage of wearables here.
Lenovo, it seems, is taking a decidedly less utopian view of wearables – seeing them as a natural replacement for its bulky laptops, rather than a fashion accessory.
“We know the average guy walking down the street is not going to wear something that will make him look like he has a problem or came off the Starship enterprise. It doesn’t fit in that marketplace,” Lenovo’s CEO Paul Travers is quoted saying in the article. “The number one question we get from customers is, ‘Can’t you hire a decent industrial design firm and make these things look sexy?’ I’m telling you, man—when you have 10 pounds of shit, it doesn’t fit in a sexy bag. It is what it is. As a tool, it works.”
Rather than courting ‘glassholes’ in the Bay Area, Lenovo envisions field technicians and traveling employees who can use the devices to relay information back to headquarters or access knowledge base information in-view. There’s no mention in the article about security -one of Blackberry’s main advantages over competing platforms (at least until recently). However, management and security for data at rest and in transit would, presumably, need to be part of the package acceptable to enterprises.
The market for wearables is expected to surge in coming years. However, wearable computing devices like Glass are currently just a sliver of that market. Fitness bands and other more purpose-built devices currently dominate.
And there’s evidence that consumers have their doubts. A survey sponsored by the security company McAfee in September polled 1,500 U.S. consumers about lifestyle and technology trends in the home and workplace. The results suggest that consumers expect to benefit from developments like wearables, but worry about the privacy and security implications of adopting the technology.