Companies hoping to launch smart glasses or similar products may have their work cut out for them in reaching consumers, according to a new survey by Morpace Inc. in partnership with University of Michigan-Dearborn.
In a survey designed to identify how consumers think and feel about smart glasses, only 8 percent of respondents said they currently are aware of the technology. Twelve percent of consumers then said understanding how to use smart glasses is easy.
“So far, most consumers’ knowledge on smart glasses is still vague. Some consumers can vaguely describe smart glasses, but most of them are not aware of the opportunities and threats of this technology,” said Philipp Rauschnabel, assistant professor of marketing.
About a quarter of consumers also noted privacy concerns with the technology, saying smart glasses threaten both other peoples’ privacy (29.7 percent) and their own (22.3 percent). Those concerns, though, do not always prevent people from consuming a product, according to Rauschnabel.
“Smart glasses are yet another contributor to the ‘privacy paradox,’ where people complain about the risk of losing their privacy, but do not allow this to drive their behavior,” he said, further noting that consumers regularly complain about Facebook changing its privacy policies but still using it. “This may help overcome concerns about a user’s own privacy, but it does not necessarily alleviate concerns over other people’s privacy.”
Still, consumers do see applications for smart glasses that can benefit them, including new forms of entertainment (26.6 percent) and new types of sensory experiences (26.5 percent).
“Consumers understand that smart glasses can open up a new world of information to them and allow them to enjoy conventional methods of entertainment in a completely new way that engages all of their senses,” said Bryan Krulikowski, vice president, Morpace. “Why sit on the couch and press buttons to control your video game character when, instead, you can physically become part of the action?”
But are consumers ready to become part of the action? Only 17 percent of respondents see themselves using smart glasses in their homes. That number dips down to 11 percent when consumers where asked if they would use smart glasses in public.
There is some good news for producers of smart glasses, though.
Young Ro, associate professor of operations management, said that while individual consumers may not be ready for smart glasses, the technology already is creating opportunities in commercial applications. “The potential for smart glasses goes beyond consumer markets,” he said. “Many companies already are using smart glasses to increase their process efficiency in logistics.”
Rauschnabel agreed and said he sees a strong future for smart glasses in both commercial and consumer markets.
“Smart glasses are the next evolution in the merging of multiple technologies and applications into single, wearable devices, and they are an ideal platform for the emergence of reality and virtuality,” Rauschnabel said. “However, the challenge for technology firms is to develop smart glasses that are technically perfect and appealing to the customers who should not only use, but also wear them.”
More information about the survey is available on Rauschnabel’s website.