Invest in the Next Big Tech Product While It's Still Early

Cody Collins

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Apple has a history of innovation. From their contributions to desktops and personal laptops to the iPod and iPhone, they’ve been a leader in consumer technology. But it’s been years since Apple, or any tech company, has revealed a culturally changing technology.

That could all be changing soon.

Computers have shrunk from the size of a whole room to fit in our pockets. Now they could fit on our face in the form of glasses.

Currents Uses and Applications

Smart glasses can be used to describe a variety of items.

Smart glasses are wearable computer glasses that add information to what the wearer sees.

They can provide a hands-free connection of the digital world to the real world, unprecedented access to location-aware information, data collection, remote support communications with both audio and video, and more.

Currently, people in manufacturing or engineering may use glasses to help assist them in their work. Not only do glasses help keep track of data, but can also give access to information stored elsewhere.

There are probably also cases uses in the medical field already occurring.

Any information that is on a computer (or the cloud) or needs to be uploaded to a computer (or cloud) can potentially be accessed with smart glasses, especially as the technology develops.

Consumers don't have access or use for these products just yet. But similar ideas of current use cases include the spectacles from Snap and VR headsets for video games. As smart glasses grow in the professional world, consumers' need for the technology will only increase.

Futures Uses and Market Potential

Think of how our smartphones have become our cameras, music players, notebooks, and so much more. The future uses of smart glasses will only grow.

Smart glasses can easily be used in the medical field, military, or engineering industry. And consumer usage would only grow as time goes on and the product gains traction.

ReportLinker expects the market to grow exponentially. They expect the global market for smart augmented reality glasses to reach 31.1 million units by 2027. That’s compared to the 207,300 units at the end of 2020.

That’s a CAGR of 104.6%.

That doesn't include the segments of simple assisted reality glasses, MR Holographic Displays, and smart helmets. These segments are also expected to have CAGRs around 100% between 2020 and 2027.

In terms of dollar growth, Fortune Business Insights predicts the global augmented reality market size will grow from $2.82 billion in 2019 to $65.22 billion in 2027.

The common denominator is simple — the market is young and expected to grow substantially this next decade.

Companies to Invest in

There are several ways to invest in this growing industry — from the hardware to software, there are options. Aside from the big tech companies that will ultimately play a hand in this market, many small companies exist and are all trying to be the next Apple or Tesla.

Vuzix is one of the more well-known companies in the industry. They are a supplier of wearable display technology, virtual reality, and augmented reality. Most of their products are for professional uses. The stock has grown from $2 a year ago to $18 today. It hit record highs of $22 earlier this week on the news that Cathie Wood and ARK bought shares.

Kopin Corporation is another player in the space. They provide critical components and solutions for wearable products used in military, enterprise, industrial, medical, and consumer markets. Their company went from a penny stock to a February high of $13. It now sits around $8.50

eMagin Corporation is another former penny stock up almost 1,000% the past year. They have a smaller market cap than the previous two mentioned. The company’s OLED Microdisplays offer solutions for military, medical, industrial, and consumer markets, including AR/VR applications.

There are plenty of other companies that are not yet public but could have an impact on the industry in the future. A few of them include: ThirdEye Gen, WaveOptics, and Manus VR.

Two well-known companies that are already in this space include Qualcomm and Snap.

Snap (known mainly for Snapchat) is already on their third edition of glasses. Remember a few years ago when they came out with spectacles and it flopped? They now have out the Spectacle 3. Spectacle is its own company under Snap, betting that as time goes on, glasses will become mainstream and they’ll be industry leaders. Snap’s stock has taken off the last year, up from around $10 to $65.

It seems as if Qualcomm is somehow involved in everything technology-related. But the company announced this week they are developing augmented reality glasses, called the XR1 Smart Viewer. They are consumer-focused, look like sunglasses, and can tether to a phone or computer.

Facebook and Apple are already rumored to be making their own glasses as well. And I would expect Google are Microsoft are doing the same.

ETFs to Invest in

Because this space is still in its early stages, it's hard to exactly know what companies will be involved. Some of the ETFs to invest in to benefit from this technology focus less on the product and more on technologically disrupting companies as a whole. Below are a few.

  • Direxion Moonshot Innovators ETF (MOON) — MOON targets US companies that pursue innovative and disruptive technologies, or ‘moonshot innovators’.
  • SPDR S&P Kensho New Economies Composite ETF (KOMP) — KOMP looks for companies that are transforming the economy by driving innovation and advancements in “new economy” technologies.
  • ARK Autonomous Technology & Robotics ETF (ARKQ) — Companies within ARKQ are focused on and are expected to substantially benefit from the development of new products or services, technological improvements and advancements in scientific research

Final Thoughts

There is a lot of potential in this industry. It may be decades away from being realized though.

Computers went from large machines for big businesses and universities to a must-have for any corporate worker or college student. Cell phones had a similar route.

Whether glasses will grow in professional industries before becoming a consumer staple remains to be seen. But I plan to keep my eye on the industry as it develops and potentially changes the world.

The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

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