French smart glass maker Optinvent to open offices in SEA
The expansion to Southeast Asia is to ramp up production of the ORA smart glass for commercial launch in 2015By Rahil Bhagat 18 Aug, 2014
Wearable technology seems to be the new paradigm the industry is moving towards. From LG and Samsung’s smart watches to Google Glass, tech companies are practically in a race to exploit this new market.
One of the newest companies’ in this race is France-based Optinvent, that has recently announced plans to enter the Southeast Asian market in a big way. Optinvent produces the ORA digital eyewear platform, a Google Glass like smart glass that has been garnering interest in the tech sphere.
The ORA is an ARM 9 powered pair of smart glasses running a stock Android 4.2.2 OS. The device tries to differentiate itself from Google Glass in two ways, its augmented reality (AR) abilities and the fact that it is more developer-friendly, which is due to its stock Android OS. The AR abilities are due to a movable screen that is three times larger and two times brighter than the fixed screen of Google Glass, allowing apps to be developed for a moving field of view. According to the company, up to 90 per cent of current android apps could be ported over for use on the ORA.
The UI, a stock Android skin, is navigated via a touch sensitive panel on the right of the frame. The device comes with the usual array of connectivity standards including WiFi, Bluetooth and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
An early version of the device, aimed mainly at developers, is available on the company’s site for US$950, while a consumer version costing around US$300 will be made available during the second half of 2015.
We at e27 spoke to Kayvan Mirza, CEO, Optinvent to discuss the ORA and the company’s plans for the Asian market.
“The name ORA is supposed to be pronounced like Aura but shorter and snappier,” said Mirza on the origin of the name.
“I have done business in Singapore before and the laws make doing business here easy. Singapore is also the gateway to the rest of Asia,” he added.
According to him, Asia is a “big market for consumers.” He further explained, “We will make Singapore our regional office; the product development would take place here but the actual manufacturing will probably be done in Indonesia.”
At the moment, Optinvent has offices in France and America. The office in Singapore would employ around ten people.
All this growth comes on the heels of the seed round funding of US$2million. The company is currently in the midst of a Series A funding and has plans to announce a Kickstarter campaign to secure more funding.