Market Reality: Component Suppliers Succeed on Strength of Augmented Reality

Component Suppliers Succeed on Strength of Augmented Reality

Augmented and virtual reality continues to be a hot commodity among tech investors, with more than $800 million invested in AR/VR companies in the second quarter alone and global tech leaders like Samsung focusing their investment strategies on the emerging field.

The investment fervor is justified. Financial firm Deloitte found in a 2016 survey of mid-market companies that 88 percent of mid-market companies are using some form of augmented or virtual reality in their business.

As a result, companies are beginning to notch wins with augmented reality technology now, through investments and sales, and positioning themselves for increased growth.

Investors Bank on WaveOptics for Augmented Reality Displays

Augmented reality display maker WaveOptics has raised 12 million pounds round in a Series B round of funding.

Led by Gobi Ventures, Touchstone Innovations, Robert Bosch Capital, and Octopus Investments, the capital will enable WaveOptics to further develop its technology and expand their market reach and territories.

Rather than prisms and mirrors used in typical augmented reality projections, WaveOptics uses photonic crystals to display their patented waveguide holograms, which result in clear images, lightweight devices, and ease of manufacturing.

"WaveOptics is reinventing the AR market by developing a series of new AR display tech that enables a wider field of view and brighter full colour images — a unique combination in today's market," said Martin Harriman, chairman of WaveOptics, in a news release.

Flexpoint Sees Sales of Sensors Hit Record Levels

The growth of augmented and virtual reality has been a boon for Flexpoint Sensor Systems, Inc., who reported purchase orders of more than 150,000 sensors and similar components from multiple customers in the first half of 2017.

The record order volume, of which Flexpoint plans to complete fulfillment before the end of the year, is a significant contribution to the company's expected 500 percent increase in revenue growth for the year.

"You will be hard pressed to find an industry or market segment anywhere around the world that does not embrace the value of VR/AR in one form or another," said Paul Sexauer, vice president of sales & marketing at Flexpoint, in a news release. "Our development partners/customers are leading the way to market adoption of these life changing technologies."

Vuzix and Ubimax Deliver Improved Efficiency for John Deere

With Google Glass opening the doors for their Enterprise Edition to businesses this week, Vuzix wants to remind everyone that they are an option for business customers, too.

This week, the smart glasses maker revealed that its M300 smart glasses, paired with the xPick software from Ubimax, has helped John Deere reduce errors on its mixed-model tractor assembly line to practically zero while achieving productivity goals.

The hardware-software combination helps workers to load work orders and identify required components with the built-in camera scanner.

"Vuzix is excited to partner with Ubimax to deliver a hands free smart glasses picking solution to a world class company such as John Deere in just three months from concept to implementation," said Paul Travers, Vuzix CEO, in a news release. "John Deere joins the list of hundreds of Vuzix customers that are working to deploy our technology."

To ramp-up production and reduce costs, Vuzix recently transitioned production of the M300 to a manufacturing partner in China.

DAQRI Selects Detroit for Development Center

Augmented reality company DAQRI is opening an automotive product development center in the suburbs of Detroit.

The company will add 12 employees at the center, which will cost $768,000 to open according to a report from Crain's Detroit Business.

The new center, located in Oakland County, gives DAQRI a geographic presence near the automakers who would be interested in heads-up displays.

An increased-presence in Michigan works in favor of DAQRI and its Smart HUD technology. Image via DAQRI

PTC and Tech Mahindra Open Innovation Center in India

Augmented reality software maker PTC has partnered with IT solutions provider Tech Mahindra to open an Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) Center of Excellence at the latter's headquarters in Bangalore, India.

The center will showcase the two companies' capabilities in IoT as well as augmented reality solutions and other emerging technologies for businesses seeking "digital transformation."

"Companies continue to invest significant resources in transforming their businesses, and it's important for them to have clear direction for their journey and the right technology to utilize," said Catherine Kniker, chief revenue officer for platform business at PTC, via news release. "We are pleased to partner with Tech Mahindra for this IoT Center of Excellence, to demonstrate how ThingWorx and other PTC technology can empower a broad and diverse customer base to accelerate their transformations and achieve value faster."

Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.

Cover image via WaveOptics/YouTube

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