Rochester Optical Expands Footprint in Fast-growing Wearables Market

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ROCHESTER, N.Y.—Eyewear manufacturer, wholesaler and optical lab operator Rochester Optical is significantly expanding its presence in the fast-growing wearable technology market with two new partnerships announced this week.

On Monday, the Rochester, N.Y.-based company announced that Epson America has selected it to be the recommended prescription solution provider for its Moverio BT-200 smart glasses. Rochester Optical has designed a Smart Frame for the BT-200 to carry patent-pending Smart GOLD lenses specifically optimized for this device.

"Rochester Optical continues to impress us by offering innovative prescription eyewear solutions to the smart glasses industry," said Eric Mizufuka, product manager, new ventures for Epson America.

The Moverio BT-200 from Epson has multiple applications from personal entertainment to enterprise logistics, training, field work and more, all of which require visual acuity.

“Our R&D Team continues to create innovative lens designs that serve the increasing demands for clear vision with the latest wearable technology,” said Patrick Ho, CEO of Rochester Optical.

On Wednesday, Rochester announced that it has formed a partnership with Intoware, a U.K.-based software developer that will enable it to deliver the first one-stop shop for companies looking to deploy wearable solutions. As a result of the partnership, the companies will offer what they described as “a complete end-to-end solution from design, prototype, hardware, software and apps, and even staff training.”

The wearable technology market, including smart glasses and smart watches, is growing rapidly. Juniper Research predicts that the wearable technology market will be worth nearly $20 billion by 2018.

“Wearables is probably the most exciting area of technology right now, with the potential to disrupt and enhance almost any industry you can imagine. But to do it right, you not only need the eyewear itself, but you also need the ability to apply that hardware to the task at hand—whether that’s about safety, communications, or just hands-free working; it’s all about creating the right package. Comfort and visual acuity are also critical elements in the enterprise setting where employees are required to wear smart glasses for extended periods of time, and our solutions address that need,” said Tim Moore, director of wearable technologies at Rochester Optical. “We’re excited to be able to call on the expertise of the team at Intoware, and I believe that by working together on an international scale, we will be able to have a major impact, accelerating the adoption of wearable devices into the workplace. I know many of our current partners will be very excited about this announcement.”

Earlier this year, Rochester Optical formed a partnership with Vuzix, a leading supplier of video eyewear and smart glasses in the consumer, commercial and entertainment markets, to provide prescription frames and lenses for Vuzix’s M100 smart glasses.

Rochester Optical also markets a version of its Smart Frame and Smart GOLD lenses and sunlenses for Google Glass.