Yesterday was Facebook’s Connect virtual and augment reality conference, and the company announced quite a bit during its two-hour keynote.
The company announced that it would be condensing all its VR hardware lineup into the all-in-one Oculus Quest 2. The new design boasts a new touch-controlled and the highest resolution yet. The increase in pixels and in increased graphics processing will open new opportunities to developers.
More interesting than that was Facebook’s announcement that it would be teaming up with Ray-Ban to release its first pair of consumer smartglasses.
Facebook has been working on smart glasses through its Project Aria.
These are a research device that is worn like regular glasses in order to help Facebook build the software for consumer smart glasses and AR devices.
Facebook currently has team members wearing these out in the world to collect data. Sensors on the glasses collect video and audio as well as eye tracking and location data. Facebook researchers hope this will help them figure out how AR will work in the real world since there will be a lot of hurdles to overcome including the issue of privacy.
The Ray-Ban branded smart glasses that are expected to launch next year are not expected to be classified as AR since they will not have an integrated display. Other than that, Zuckerberg did not provide many details…which leaves us wondering what they will actually do.
I expect we will see them feeding information via audio, and of course collecting more data for the development of an AR pair.
Most people have accepted the smartwatch, but we still haven’t seen smart glasses take off quite yet. That’s why this partnership with the most popular eyewear brand in the world is so important. If Facebook can pull off combining innovative technology and fashion-forward style, it should be able to pull ahead in the wearables race.
Ray-Ban’s parent company Essilor Luxottica is far more than just Ray-Ban. It’s the company behind eyewear from Oakley, Chanel, Michael Kors, Burberry, and so many others. Plus, it’s actually the parent company behind eyewear service brands such as Lens Crafters, Sunglass Hut, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, and Target Optical.
Essentially, it’s the giant of the eyewear industry, which is sure to be one of the industries to quickly bounce back after the pandemic. Even if consumers continue to cut costs, eyewear is not going to be at the top of the list.
During the most recent earnings numbers, the management stated that profits saw a recovery in May and June in all geographical areas. But investors aren’t convinced just yet.
Shares have bounced back a little since sliding in March…but have held essentially flat since. Shares do trade on the OTC market as an ADR under the ticker ESLOY, so that might be why investors are ignoring them. Or maybe they don’t realize just how much of the market share that Essilor Luxottica actually has. Shares haven’t even seemed to react to the news of the multi-year agreement with Facebook.
Even without the smart glasses, there is plenty of potential left in these shares, and I expect to see them recover to at least $80 when the next earnings announcement shows continued recovery. And when more details of the smart glasses get unveiled, shares prices should see an even better bump.
To your prosperity and health,
Joshua M. Belanger
Executive Publisher & Founder
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