Big news out of the eyewear industry recently – Google and Luxottica have announced a partnership to develop smart eyewear together in the immediate future. What does that mean for the cycling industry? Well, for starters as the parent company of major eyewear brands like Ray-Ban, and Oakley, there are quite a few brands that stand to gain the Google Glass upgrade if you’re into that sort of thing. In fact, Ray-Ban and Oakley were specifically mentioned in the press release as being part of the partnership with Google. When it comes to Oakley, the leap to Glass is easy to see based on the company’s history of integrating electronics with performance eyewear (anyone still have a pair of Thumps?). Given their ability to blend functional electronics into a sunglass frame, we’re excited to see what Oakley can do with the form factor of Google Glass.
The real question is how this new partnership will spur competition from Glass’s main competition, especially in the cycling world – the Recon Jet. Are we on the verge of eliminating the cycling computer from the bike completely in favor of HUDs? Time will tell. While it may be some time still before we’re seeing cycling specific versions of Glass equipped Oakleys, with apps like Strava being designed for Glass it will probably happen sooner than we know it.
Milan (Italy), March 24th , 2014 – Luxottica Group S.p.A. (MTA: LUX; NYSE: LUX), a leader in the design, manufacture, distribution and sales of premium, luxury and sports eyewear and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), announce today they have agreed they will join forces to design, develop and distribute a new breed of eyewear for Glass.
Today’s announcement offers a far reaching strategic partnership between Luxottica and Google to work together across multiple efforts on the creation of innovative iconic wearable devices. Through this relationship, Luxottica and Google, who are setting the pace in their respective industries, will match up high-tech developers with fashion designers and eyewear professionals. In particular, the two Corporations will establish a team of experts devoted to working on the design, development, tooling and engineering of Glass products that straddle the line between high-fashion, lifestyle and innovative technology.
Luxottica added that the two major proprietary brands of the Group, Ray-Ban and Oakley who has a 10-year heritage in wearable technology that has evolved from MP3 to HUD devices, will be a part of the collaboration with Glass; however details about these new products will be disclosed at a later stage.
“We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Google, and are proud to be once again setting the pace in the eyewear industry, as we have been, with more than 50 years of excellence.” Said Andrea Guerra, Chief Executive Officer of Luxottica Group.
“We live in a world where technological innovation has dramatically changed the way in which we communicate and interact in everything that we do. More importantly, we have come to a point where we now have both a technology push and a consumer pull for wearable technology products and applications. Seeing such a future, over the last years, Luxottica invested heavily in building-out our technology platforms and digital solutions to combine with our products excellence. We believe that a strategic partnership with a leading player like Google is the ideal platform for developing a new way forward in our industry and answering the evolving needs of consumers on a global scale. We believe it is high time to combine the unique expertise, deep knowledge and quality of our Group with the cutting edge technology expertise of Google and give birth to a new generation of revolutionary devices.”
“Luxottica has built an impressive history over the last 50 years designing, manufacturing and distributing some of the most successful and well-known brands in eyewear today.” Said Google Vice President and head of Google X Astro Teller. “We are thrilled to be partnering with them as we look to push Glass and the broader industry forward into the emerging smart eyewear market.”
The first collection generated by this partnership will combine high-end technology with avant-garde design offering the best in style, quality and performance. These forward-thinking devices will be the result of a new and unique strategic approach reflecting attention to detail, uncompromising quality and technology nurtured in the global market. The sophistication and elegance of this new generation of products will be a dramatic step forward in an evolving category and elevate the consumer experience in this area.
Editor’s Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, Zach’s wife is employed by Luxottica.