Google Glass: An Uncertain Future
With a much-hyped launch in 2013, discontinued prototype production in 2015, and a rebrand to an Enterprise Edition in 2017, Google Glass's past has been volatile. While it has strong potential as a business product, its future is uncertain. This article explores potential success strategies for Google Glass over the next few years and beyond.
Google Glass — a wearable digital assistant developed by Google X labs — launched a prototype in 2013. The product was one of the first to the smart glasses market and boasted a wide range of hardware- and software-level features. In the wake of strong criticism and legislative action around safety and privacy concerns, Google discontinued prototype production in 2015.
Two years later, Glass re-branded to an Enterprise Edition — avoiding consumer sentiments of its earlier B2C play. This B2B focus has allowed them to hone the benefits of Glass for specific industries, namely healthcare and manufacturing. While the consumer edition flopped, the enterprise version has fared well. Touting 8 to 11% efficiency improvements, Glass has become a highly sought after wearable digital assistant for enterprises, a benefit on which any business can and should capitalize.
At the same time, Glass’s enterprise endeavors will inevitably hit a ceiling. Despite positive reception, the enterprise market is poised to add only around $2B to Google's annual gross revenue in the next 5 years — a mere 1.8% of its 2017 revenue. In order to continue the adoption of Glass and see higher revenue, Google would do well to expand their exclusive enterprise B2B marketing efforts with campaigns targeted towards selective small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs).
By additionally targeting SMEs, Glass can capitalize on the strength of its enterprise B2B play by targeting a growing business market that not only adds incremental revenue, but also combats negative public perception in the long run, through the humanizing element of local SMEs. In other words, an SME strategy would play to the strength of the Glass enterprise B2B brand, while fostering a more inclusive distribution model that will ultimately increase adoption.
The new Glass SME campaign will primarily focus on healthcare, legal, and construction professionals, which represent roughly 25% of SMEs in the USA. It will enter the market through an integrated marketing approach, encompassing targeted digital marketing for sustained engagement, direct mail and industry event presence to drive the point of sale, as well as referral programs to increase word of mouth recommendations, engagement, and retention of existing customers.
Overall, Glass would do well to aim to achieve the following goals in the wearable digital assistants category:
Increase in-category SME brand preference by 40% in the next 5 years.
Increase generated SME leads for Google Glass by 50% in the next 5 years.
Corner a 35% market share for SMEs in the next 5 years.