Will Facebook’s first generation smart glasses be a success?


Facebook is testing the water with its first-generation smart glasses. But will they be a big hit? Rupantar Guha, Associate Project Manager for Thematic Research at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, gives his opinion…

“Facebook’s first-generation smart glasses are a cautious move to test the waters before rivals such as Apple enter the market. While Facebook’s product will likely be similar to Snap’s Spectacles 3, the company must deliver compelling audio and video experiences if it is to make waves in the consumer smart glasses market, which GlobalData estimates will be worth $565m by 2030, up from $70m in 2020.

“Widespread adoption will depend on the device’s usability and price. Presumably, the lack of augmented reality (AR) capabilities will help keep prices down. However, while the artificial intelligence (AI) based voice assistant, spatial audio and a built-in camera will go a long way, they should really be adding in audio experiences such as fitness coaching, navigation, news, language translation and music streaming to the fray if they want to appeal to the broader consumer base that does not use Facebook’s social media services.

“Smart glasses are still a niche market as there are currently only a few things the devices can do better than smartphones. Many also perceive smart glasses as a threat to privacy due to built-in cameras and microphones that can record video and audio.

“Facebook ranks ninth out of 48 companies in GlobalData’s consumer electronics thematic sector scorecard. The scorecard considers which companies are leading in various themes, taking into account how we predict the company will perform in the coming years. Facebook scores four out of five in the wearable tech theme thanks to its Quest VR headsets. Its new smart glasses could improve its position in this theme, but Facebook will be under regulatory scrutiny to prevent any misuse of user data.

“The success of its smart glasses is vital for Facebook’s growing wearable tech ambitions. Facebook’s plans for AR smart glasses and smartwatches will hinge on whether it can develop a variety of experiences for potential users and its handling of data privacy issues.”

Mantas Sasnauskas, Lead Cybersecurity Researcher at CyberNews, adds: 

 “Facebook’s “smart glasses” have the potential to capture incredibly sensitive information about both your personal and professional life. Aside from the many privacy concerns that exist around the ability to capture images at any time, we should also be worried about this new flood of data entering your Facebook account.  

“With the photos stored in the new Facebook View app, that is most likely accessible through your Facebook account, this will become even more valuable in the eyes of malicious actors. When you consider that the latest Facebook data leaks focused on scraped data, including personal phone numbers, it is likely that there is someone out there that has your data from your Facebook account, and they can probably access it again.  

“What’s more concerning is that the new Facebook View app will also store your voice commands to the glasses. As voice is one of the biometric securities service providers like your bank use to identify you, if this data falls into the hands of malicious actors, your bank accounts and any other accounts that use biometric logins are at risk.”

Chris Price
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