Augmented reality · Wearable technology

How big will the market for augmented reality and wearable technology be in the next 5 years?

Joe Tojek

May 4th, 2014

Is this market currently getting traction in the venture or startup communities? Will the market take off in the 0 - 5 years or in 5 - 10? Let's discuss.


May 4th, 2014

Google Glass had a largely negative reception due to how intrusive it is in social interactions. People feel very uncomfortable being recorded, especially when it may be surreptitious. There are growing calls for legal protections against this kind of technology and many establishments have enforced complete bans on wearables like Glass.

User interface of wearables is bare bones and is regressive from the control users expect with their smart phones. Voice commands are unreliable. Keyboards/cursors disrupt the usefulness of wearables. Small screens make interface difficult (android watches). Until neural impulse technology is sufficiently able to provide an improved experience with wearables, it will be relegated to a small segment of early adopters.

I predict it will be a very long time before interactive wearables are mainstream. And by the time it is viable, the technology will have advanced enormously that current paradigms of mobile UX may have been completely replaced.

Passive wearables like FitBit are different, of course. They don't have any of these problems. But obviously that is a very hard limit on what kinds of products are viable in this scope of technology.

For the next few years at least I think wearables will be like the iPad. Hot when new, but not sustainable because the lack of overarching actual demand.

Joanna Miriam owner at Joanna Miriam Photography

May 4th, 2014

I am in the photography world and we just did a 3-D movie poster for Capt. America. Check out the app captain America experience on iPhone or android and watch the video. It will blow your mind. We are hoping this will be a staple for entertainment posters in the next few years.

David Crooke Serial entrepreneur and CTO

May 4th, 2014

1. Very Large 2. Yes, I know someone doing HUD data for surgeons using Google Glass, and heard on All Things Considered of a similar pilot at a hospital in the NE. Cheers Dave

Lawrence Lerner Digitalization and Transformation Coach

May 4th, 2014

The market is continuing to build and is already mainstream with devices such as FitBit, FuelBand (Nike - discontinued but the software is still around. Tim Cook from Apple is on their board. Look for an Apple branded product later this year), Disney Magic Bands and a host of others already in consumer markets.

CrunchBase is a great place to look at startup and other investments in wearables.  Last year I wrote "Jailbreaking the Internet: The Shape of Things to Come" which describes the market and opportunity.  It's a little tricky to carve out the numbers since some devices started as wearables (e.g., iPod Nano) and newer ones that fit over your smartphone (Square, TrendHunter) don't always fall into a single category.

My $.02 is that it is and will continue to be a multi-billion dollar industry over the next few years. However, you'll see some products like the FuelBand and other monitors become part of the smartphone ecosystem.

Jeff Axup Sr. Manager, Palo Alto UX Design Research Group at Bosch

May 4th, 2014

The market is expanding rapidly. I personally think wearables will eventually replace the form factors of traditional desktop and laptop computers, so it will eat into those markets over time.

Global Market for Wearable Computing Devices Projected To Reach $30.2 Billion in 2018

There have been significant investments in this space (see CrunchBase) but from my perspective there is a shortage of angels willing to support early-stage hardware wearable companies. Most investment seems to be Series-A and later from what I can see. (I am the CEO of an seed-stage wearable company.)

What's your interest in the area Joe?

Joanan Hernandez CEO & Founder at Mollejuo

May 9th, 2014

Sorry, I meant to write Ayush.

My apologies.

Ayush Jain

May 9th, 2014

Hi Joanan,

Thanks for supporting my views about wearables. I just went through Luxxotica website and saw that they are providing variety of fashionable eyewear from various brands like Oakley, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, etc. This is a great initiative taken by Google. It will not only help Google but wearble industry as a whole to grow further in next 5 years. Others wearable makers also need to address this problem and take such initiatives to make wearables an integral part of an individual's day to day life. 

As far as Moto 360 is concerned, it is very well designed and looks fashionable too. Moreover it doesn't have a standard design. Let us wait and watch how much it succeeds in next 6 months.

Joanan Hernandez CEO & Founder at Mollejuo

May 5th, 2014

Hello Joe,

There's a Juniper report on which we contributed. It "predicts" AR to be used by around 200 million people by 2018. Is just a prediction, and we all know how predictions on tech end working out, right?

In any case, we do AR based apps (geolocation), let us know when you want to expand on the subject.



May 8th, 2014

My biggest problem with my Basis (health tracking watch) was power. Powering all of those sensors requires a very large battery (driving the bulk) and even so the watch would die after about 3 days. I couldn't charge it overnight since I was supposed to wear it to sleep to track sleep cycles. 

I don't think more energy efficient sensors is necessarily the answer. We'd need to be several orders of magnitude more efficient to even approach the charge life of a watch. I think the breakthrough will be figuring out how to charge these devices automatically and without wires. This would allow batteries (and thus devices) to get smaller as well.

Joanan Hernandez CEO & Founder at Mollejuo

May 9th, 2014


You're correct that fashion is a factor ion wearables. That's why Google made an strategic partnership with Luxotica. In case you're not aware of Luxotica, when you visit their site, click on Brands, those are their brands of glasses.

Also, the moto360 is quite a nice watch.