Why Doctors are Embracing Telemedicine

Why Some Doctors are Embracing Telemedicine

If you ask a doctor about the prognosis for telemedicine, you will most likely get an enthusiastic and positive response. This technology, which connects medical professionals and patients, has both immediate and long-term benefits for everyone. On the physician’s side, it can expand the patient base, offer financial gains, and position the practice as a leader in this effective health trend. Meanwhile, patients have accessibility to doctors and specialists, convenience, and cost-savings.

Yes, telemedicine is not only alive and well; it’s shaping the future of healthcare.

The business side of telemedicine is also being recognized and utilized by store owners and CEOs of large retail chains. Providing employees telemedicine options adds to the profit line. And let’s not forget offering this technology to consumers at the store level.

Imagine walking into an optical store (with no appointment) and getting a five-minute vision exam. If you need prescriptive lenses or contacts, you will get an email within 24 hours. Actually, you don’t have to imagine this if you go to a store that offers the Smart Vision Labs 5-Minute Vision Exam. This technology is already out there building a strong and very happy customer base. (Dare we mention the cost savings customers achieve in addition to the convenience?)

telemedicine doctors - Smart Vision Labs

Telemedicine has been a steadily growing influence on healthcare, moving from the visionary stage to practical implementation in medical practices and businesses.

The Vision of Telemedicine

Every great movement has a great vision. With telemedicine, the vision is both practical and global. Doctors, being the medical part of telemedicine, helped shaped this advance in healthcare simply because they are on the ground floor of patient care.

The objective of every physician is to help as many patients as possible. Telemedicine achieves this through the management of both time and distance. This technology provides on-demand care or relegates unnecessary in-person visits to the virtual realm. By taking distance out of the equation, doctors can address the concerns of more patients.

But expanding this vision makes it even more profound. People who are in rural areas or those with mobility or transportation challenges still have access to a doctor. Medical care is no longer dependent on a set number of hours in a day or by a geographic radius.

Through telemedicine, patients have access to specialists from around the world. Need a second opinion? No problem through the use of this technology. MRIs or X-rays can be transmitted securely to another physician anywhere and anytime.

Doctors are finding that telemedicine can reach new patients and retain current ones. New patients are drawn to the ease and accessibility of the doctor’s practice and current patients are seamlessly brought up to date with the technology. The end result is a more proactive stance from patients. They are more likely to use the telemedicine platform to maintain health and to address concerns.

Patients with chronic conditions, like cancer or diabetes, can readily access medical care for continuing or follow-up visits. Doctors appreciate having more frequent consultations with these patients so they can quickly spot any changes that need to be addressed. Telemedicine can also help close the revolving door of re-hospitalization by giving patients a platform by which they can voice their concerns.

Now, let’s take this vision of healthcare out of the doctors’ offices and into the mainstream. In-store clinics can give people a real option for receiving medical care. Business owners using this technology can become thought leaders in this movement.

How Thought Leaders Impact the Role of Telemedicine

Thought leaders are at the forefront of their field, advancing boundaries, innovating, and encouraging adoption of new methodology. But a thought leader is not just an idea person. Their expertise in a chosen field must also be recognized by their contemporaries and reflect positively in their finances. This is the key step in moving from a visionary to a true thought leader. Putting their ideas into practice and backing them up with results is what defines the step up from a visionary to a thought leader.

Thought leaders are persons and business owners (or sometimes even the business itself) who are advancing the boundaries in their respective fields of practice. Their peers rely on their current knowledge of the field as well as their ability to predict where it will be going in the future. Because the thought leader’s ideas are actually backed by others, their predictions for the industry they work in are able to come to fruition. Thought leaders don’t chime in on any and every topic just to be heard; they have specific goals and visions for their business and focus their time, energy, and money into supporting these ideas. This targeted approach does more than allocate their own resources efficiently. Fellow business owners trust the opinions of thought leaders precisely because they take a quality over quantity approach to their input, conversations, and advice.

The thought leaders who shaped telemedicine gained support from their peers through intelligent discussions and innovative ideas. They listened to what was working in the industry and what was not working. What were the chief complaints and praises of doctors, patients, and healthcare facilities? The next step was backing up these ideas with a working model that reflected these changes. But another facet was critical; they needed to show their ideas work both as a service or product and as a financially successful business strategy.

An essential element to being a thought leader is when others in the same field recognize that these innovations and changes are going to shape the industry. To accomplish this, the thought leader has to get the other business owners on board. Being respected in the community as an intellectual or visionary alone will not do this. Supporting innovations by demonstrating they are an effective business strategy will. This is where the visionary must really develop to become a thought leader. By backing up their ideas with commercially-viable products and services, other business owners in the chosen field will take note and respond to the changes being offered.

Pink Socks: A community of telehealth and telemedicine advocates founded by Nick Adkins

Pink Socks: A community of telehealth and telemedicine advocates and thought leaders.

 

Thought leaders also need support from the people who will be using their proposed industry-changing ideas. Approval from doctors and patients who are actually going to be hands-on with telemedicine services are essential to gain the financial support business owners are looking for. The product needs to be examined from the client side as well. Something needs to entice future customers into trying the service along with retaining existing ones. And business owners aren’t the only ones who are interested in the bottom line. Affordability is certainly another factor users consider.

The process of advancing from a promising visionary to a respected thought leader benefits the field they work in too. Telemedicine and its fast expansion in the last few years is a direct result of the work of thought leaders. Innovative ideas, backed with support from businesses and users and followed by improved incomes, ensure telemedicine will have a place in the future of health care.

Benefits to Business

Telemedicine’s fast growth results from thought leaders’ guidance. In turn, that rapid expansion of the field supports thought leaders, giving their ideas credibility with improved income to back it up. The varied ways to implement telemedicine come with varied ways to improve the financial aspect, for both businesses and users. Doctors who welcome telemedicine into their practices find it saves money in some areas and generates new income in others. Patients reap the benefits of accessibility; in services that were unavailable before and being able to seek medical advice faster and more often.

One way embracing telemedicine proves its financial value to physicians is seen in improved interactions with patients. This technology allows doctors to connect with more patients, generating more income. But it is not a case of working more hours to bring in more money for the practice. Telemedicine allows the doctor to manage their time more efficiently by directing certain clients to either an in-person or virtual visit, depending on the nature of their request.

Although it excels at being an additional outlet for communicating with a patient, telemedicine cannot replace visits where a physical exam is necessary. However, a patient who needs a quick follow up after a procedure or one without an urgent condition could be offered telemedicine services. The patient actually appreciates this because they don’t want to make an unnecessary trip to their doctor’s office. In these cases, telemedicine frees the doctor up to see other people who had a more urgent issue. Overall, each of these patients receives medical care tailored to their needs.

How Optical Stores Can Profit from the Telemedicine RevolutionTelemedicine benefits more than just patients in the waiting room. It saves the practice the money and time lost when a patient doesn’t show up. Because it often takes so long to schedule doctors’ office visits, patients may not be able to keep that appointment since other obligations may arise in the meantime. A no-show patient’s time slot can’t be refilled so becomes lost time and money for the doctor.

Another benefit is alleviating the reason patients have to schedule appointments weeks out. Traditionally, every patient is getting a block of time identical to the next, regardless of why they requested to see their physician. Directing minor issues, follow-ups, and simple questions to telemedicine does more than open a time slot for a more ill patient. Taking people who don’t need a physical exam out of the queue for the doctor’s attention shortens the waiting list. This leads to new patients who get to actually visit the physician much closer to when they called to make an appointment, reducing the need to make plans they might not be able to keep.

Doctors and Telemedicine

The objectives of both doctors and telemedicine are the same: provide quality healthcare for as many people as possible. Through the use of the technology, this aim is not only achieved, it is reaping benefits beyond that sole purpose.

On-demand access to medical care capitalizes on the issue of time by using it more efficiently. Patients and doctors are not limited to set hours in an office, nor are they bound by distance. Telemedicine seeks to meet the standards previously set forth through an in-person doctor visit with the same attention to details, privacy, and personalization.

It is cost-effective for patients and offers financial gains for doctors who may enlarge their practices. Some doctors see telemedicine as a way to have a second income. But let’s not forget the potential benefits retail stores can see with this technology. Offering telemedicine in chain stores like LensCrafters, Rite-Aid, or Walgreens gives customers a more comprehensive way to maintain their health in businesses which they already have come to trust.

The role of doctors in supporting telemedicine has gone from the visionary stage through the thought leadership process to demonstrate the real benefits of this technology. Yes, the doctors are not only “in” when it comes to telemedicine, they have become one of the driving forces behind this trend that is impacting the entire healthcare industry.

Are you a doctor interested in joining the telemedicine revolution? Apply here to join our telehealth Ophthalmologist network of doctors.

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Is a Telemedicine Solution Right for Your Optical Store? - Smart Vision Labs

Is a Telemedicine Solution Right for Your Optical Store?

Is a Telemedicine Solution Right for Your Optical Store?

Is your optical store meeting the needs of your customers? Do they purchase eyewear or do they leave because they don’t have a recent prescription? And before they leave without purchasing anything, do they ask why they can’t get their vision checked right there, right now?

4 Ways Telemedicine Can Work for You

  • It’s patient-centered.

Telemedicine provides people with a comprehensive way to purchase eyewear, from the vision exam right through to the selection of frames or contacts. Every owner of an optical store recognizes the frustration customers feel when they cannot purchase a new pair of glasses because they have an outdated prescription. Even though they swear their vision hasn’t changed in the past several years, it would be a disservice to their eye health to ignore the fact they need an exam.

But if you could offer these customers an on-the-spot vision exam using the telemedicine technologies, they can be assured of the right prescription and make their purchase as planned.

  • It’s convenient.

“Right now” are words that appeal to every customer. If they are in your optical store, they are looking to make a purchase. If they need a vision exam, “right now” is the perfect thing to say.

And the perfect pairing with these words can be something like the Smart Vision Exam. This autorefractor, made by Smart Vision Labs, is part of a self-guided system that conducts vision exams without the need for an on-site doctor. The technology is cutting edge: advanced wavefront aberrometry that measures vision imperfection. It uses an iPhone camera (making it much smaller than traditional autorefractors) but is as accurate (with a measurement error of one percent) when compared to the gold standard.

When you have technology like this in your optical store, you tell customers that you’re serious about the business of eye care.

  • It’s cost-effective.

Eye health is important to everyone but cost factors into many people’s decisions. Although vision insurance was supposed to level the financial playing field, it only seemed to direct patients to network doctors and facilities without giving them real cost-saving benefits.

Telemedicine changes that. When you offer technology for vision exams, you put the power of choice back into the patient’s hands. This is not only an affordable way to check vision; it’s a way to save money by putting dollars toward a convenient and accurate vision test instead of toward insurance that limits options.

  • It’s worth it.

How Optical Stores Can Profit from the Telemedicine RevolutionYes, telemedicine is worth the time it takes for you to learn the system (very easy, really) and the financial startup costs. Yet, when you have an optical store, the entire profit and loss spreadsheet has another dimension.

It all goes back to the first reason on this list about being patient centered. Optical stores have a mandate from their customers. Eyewear should be available and affordable, that’s a given. But with the use of telemedicine to provide vision exams, you position your business as an educator about the larger issue of eye health.

When people know that your optical store offers a convenient and cost-effective way to have their vision checked, they will know that it’s worth coming to your business for their eyewear purchases.

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Telemedicine Myths and Facts - Smart Vision Labs

Telemedicine Myths and the Truth Behind Them

Telemedicine: Myths and the Truth Behind Them 

How is telemedicine impacting your business? Whether you own one store or are the vice-president of a chain of stores, telemedicine can make a positive impact in several areas from increased customer satisfaction to an overall increase in revenue.

The field of telemedicine has been growing at exponential rates, in a direct correlation with the advances in technology. While this has been considered one of the biggest health trends within the past five years, there are several key elements that distinguish it from a temporary upgrade to a permanent player.

While most changes within a system originate from the top down, (with industry leaders creating a new environment) telemedicine is more of a product of the people than other types of trends. And it all starts with the defining presence of telemedicine.

Telemedicine Myths and Facts - Smart Vision labs
Source: adroitent.com

What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology. The keyword is “remote.” No longer do the health care provider and patient need to be in the same room or even in the same country. This is possible through the technology for live video interactions.

While it is the electronic advances that make this possible, it is the consumers who make this profitable (and not only in terms of dollars). Telemedicine is almost an extension of what people already know and accept. A majority of the population is familiar with video chat apps like Skype or Facetime. Most people have easy access to a computer or other mobile device. Technology-based telemedicine is, therefore, a smooth transition from apps that have every day use to ones that become more relevant to personal health care.

Who would have thought that an internet connection would literally upend this entire industry?

And who would have thought that consumers would not only actively use this technology but would find it convenient, cost-effective, and worthy to discuss via social media sites?

How is telemedicine impacting your business? If you’re still not sure about the possibilities and profitability, let’s review some myths and the truths behind them.

Myths about Telemedicine

If you’re not already one of the businesses using telemedicine to support your employees and bolster your revenue, why aren’t you? Is it due to misconceptions? Or just a lack of time?

Whenever a new technology or way of doing things appears, in any field, it tends to be met with skepticism. This is especially true when the new service or method goes in a different direction than the old way, rather than just improving on something that is already established. While asking questions is always a good thing, doing your own investigation for the answers is even better.

Maybe you’re researching telemedicine for yourself right now?

A concern regarding telemedicine is that it’s just a fad, rather than the next big advancement in the field. Doctors who have been practicing for decades aren’t jumping at the prospect of devoting their valuable time to learning technologies which might not be around in a few years’ time. Understandably so. These doctors have seen many health fads come and go over their careers.

However, many of the reasons both health care and business professionals cite for not investing in telemedicine are based on old information or popular misconceptions. Here are a few of the telemedicine myths that have gained the most traction (and why they aren’t factual).

There are two main areas of concern which feed the myths around telemedicine: quality of care and financial investment. Partial truths, outdated information, and misunderstandings about how telemedicine works generated these myths.

Quality of Care Myths

Telemedicine is complicated, confusing, or has too many components to learn.

The verdict: only if you want it to be. You don’t have to hire an IT specialist just to offer telemedicine. While there is a lot happening on the technology side, the part you are likely concerned with rests on the user’s side. Successful platforms have simple, intuitive user interfaces. Some telemedicine applications have even been designed using a traditional doctor’s feedback, which might make using it more familiar to you.

The versatility of telemedicine is beneficial for the provider as well as the patient. The many ways to implement it means you can tailor which telemedicine services would best suit your business, patients, and bottom line. All at the same time.

Telemedicine isn’t secure enough to ensure patients’ privacy.

The verdict: not necessarily. Like nearly anything that companies use, video conferencing comes in two types: consumer and business. Consumer platforms are meant for use by the general public while business-grade applications are created for a targeted solution.

It is true that consumer-grade video conferencing platforms (like Skype and its competitors) are not secure enough to be HIPAA compliant. However, telemedicine-specific technology does exist. There are video conferencing applications which were created solely for use in telemedicine and to honor HIPAA regulations.

Telemedicine can’t replace a physical exam, therefore, it isn’t worth offering.

The verdict: partial truth. It is true telemedicine can’t replace a physical examination but not every doctor visit really requires it. Doctors already give basic medical advice and hold simple discussions with their patients over the phone. Telemedicine just gives patients another option for addressing these minor issues.

Besides people with non-urgent medical concerns, telemedicine benefits other types of patients, particularly those with chronic conditions which need monitoring or those who need follow-ups to in-person visits.

Which is a hint about the next set of myths.

Telemedicine Can Help Grow Your Business - Smart Vision Labs

Financial Myths

Telemedicine is a waste of money and resources because people won’t use it.

The verdict: false. It turns out, people don’t like to wait for things, whether it is at the supermarket checkout, in line for a new smartphone, or for health care. Except with that last one, you don’t get to come home with a new gadget or favorite snack. Nearly everyone has a memory of sitting in their doctor’s waiting room for a quick 5-minute visit while everyone else seems to have fallen victim to flu season.

But, unlike waiting in line for a retail store, the time it takes to see a doctor is even longer. The average time to schedule doctor’s appointments in the United States is 24 days, according to Forbes. Major cities suffer even longer wait times.

Once the patient actually gets in the office, the situation still doesn’t improve. A 2015 Software Advice survey found 97 percent of respondents were upset at long wait times at the doctor, even though 45 percent waited less than 15 minutes. The same survey also reports that 75 percent of patients who have never used telemedicine services would consider trying them.

For non-critical cases, telemedicine provides convenience and flexibility for the patient. Providing supplementary care to traditional health appointments is the ideal use scenario for telemedicine. Think of the reverse side of that situation as well. A busy doctor, in the middle of flu season, uses an appointment block to see a patient that only needed a quick follow-up. Using telemedicine, that doctor can see another patient who does need a physical exam and offer care to the follow-up patient.

Telemedicine doesn’t allow for proper compensation or reimbursement for the doctor.

The verdict: no longer true. There are two aspects to the payment issue: ease of reimbursement and concern about doctors being properly compensated for their time.

Laws and regulations don’t evolve and update with nearly the speed technology does. Although telemedicine has been around for decades, its quick growth is recent. It was previously difficult for providers to be reimbursed for telemedicine use but state laws are finally catching up. 24 states so far have “parity laws” which ensure telehealth services are treated the same as an in-person visit. Insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid are recognizing telemedicine services as legitimate and reimbursing them on a par with traditional visits.

As for compensation, doctors might actually be losing revenue by not delegating some tasks to telemedicine services. Doctors already aren’t being paid for the time they spend refilling prescriptions or discussing medical information with their patients over the phone. That time could be spent with a patient who is physically in their waiting room while the routine prescription refill gets handled by telemedicine. Doing so also increases the satisfaction of the refill patient because you’ve created the convenience of allowing them to not even leave their home.

Telemedicine puts doctors at risk for malpractice lawsuits.

The verdict: false. It’s actually the opposite. To start, it is intended to supplement traditional in-person visits. It alleviates strain on already crowded offices while still offering care to patients who don’t need an exam. It saves money for patients and provides a new point of income for physicians. Telemedicine’s growth in recent years is related to these aspects of expanding health care options. Issuing a malpractice claim to a doctor who used videoconferencing with a patient is absurd when doctors have been discussing medical issues with patients over the telephone for decades. The service didn’t change, the technology did.

Telemedicine actually provides some additional protection against malpractice claims. Especially concerning post-op patients and those with chronic conditions, services like video conferencing create a new point of contact between patient and doctor. The patient can communicate with their physician more often and if problems arise, notice and treat them sooner. It also provides another means to document the services given.

How is Telemedicine Impacting Your Business?

Telemedicine Benefits - Smart Vision Labs
Source: i1.wp.com

Telemedicine impacts businesses in several ways. The technology is effective if you are either the provider of health care services or the facilitator of them. Whether you own an optical store and offer the Smart Vision Labs 5-Minute Smart Vision Exam, or are in charge of a chain of stores that need a boost in revenue, telemedicine can work for you.

This is perhaps the most significant change in the health care industry since it is embraced by a variety of people, from patients to doctors, to insurance providers. As business owners already know, implementing a new course of action requires acceptance and easy compliance, and with telemedicine, those conditions have already been met.

Telemedicine is not only profitable, it’s possible, and that’s the difference between failure and success. Making use of this technology adds value to your business in ways that will position you at the forefront of this healthcare trend that is revealing its true potential with every virtual visit.

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Can Telemedicine Replace Your Eye Doctor - Smart Vision Labs

Can Telemedicine Truly Replace Your Eye Doctor?

“I love your new glasses! And I am so happy that you finally got your vision checked.”

Your friend laughs and agrees that it took a while to admit that reading a book with outstretched arms was not the smartest (or most comfortable) thing to do.

“Where did you get your vision checked? Did you have a long wait?”

She laughs again and says that the entire exam was about 5 minutes.

You don’t laugh because when you went to the eye doctor you were there for over an hour.

“Huh?”

Your friend explains that she went to an optical store for the Smart Vision Labs 5-Minute Vision Exam.

“But don’t you need to see an eye doctor?”

Good question and one that a lot of people are asking. Can a 5-minute vision exam replace your eye doctor? The answer is yes and no.

Vision Exams vs. Eye Exams

A vision exam, like the one provided through Smart Vision Labs, is known as a refraction test which measures a person’s need for prescription glasses or contacts.

Eye exams are comprehensive evaluations that include a refraction test, examination of both the external and internal parts of the eyes, and a test of the fluid pressure.

Both of these exams are valuable diagnostic tools to maintain optimal eye health.  In fact, the American Optometric Association recommends that people between the ages of 18 and 60 get a comprehensive eye exam at least every two years.

Telemedicine and the Eye Doctor

Telemedicine doesn’t seek to replace the eye doctor; this technology works alongside licensed ophthalmologists who review the data generated at the exam and to write prescriptions if needed. It would be best to take the “us vs. them” mentality out of the equation. Telemedicine is an effective way to diagnose and offer corrective lenses.

With telemedicine, the doctor is always “in.” With cloud technology, the doctor can access a patient’s records and make an appropriate diagnosis. This is not only convenient, it’s a cost-effective option. People in rural areas or those who are homebound also benefit because they do not have to physically show up at an office for a vision exam. Through video conferencing and smartphone apps, doctor can actually connect with more patients than ever before.

Something Old, Something New

Telemedicine is one of the most significant heathcare trends, yet it really isn’t new. While its presence and potential is literally disrupting the eyecare industry on all levels, it is able to do that now because of the recent advances in technology. Add to that a patient base which is looking to save time and money, and there is no question that telemedicine is able to outperform the older methods of doctor and patient communication.

But should you never schedule an in-person visit with an eye doctor again? No. Have your eyes examined at least every two years with an in-person visit.

But also make use of telemedicine for vision exams. And here’s a secret that sets telemedicine apart from the old ways. People will take a proactive stance with their vision care when they can get an exam at their convenience, without long waiting times, and be able to afford it.

Telemedicine gives power to the patients without diminishing the role of healthcare professionals. And that’s a healthy vision we can all embrace.

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Smart Vision Labs’ List of 5 Best Smart Glasses

List of 5 Best Smart Glasses

The term smart glasses is an understatement. On a very basic level, they function as glasses. Yes, the kind that will help your astigmatism. No vision problems, you say? No worries. The lenses can be non-corrective or you might opt for sunglasses with UV protection.

Yet, these smart glasses are more than just vision-related. They are wearable tech which literally lets you “see” beyond the parameters of the here and now. On a not-so-basic level, they are computers that add information to what you are seeing. This is done through either an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) or embedded wireless glasses with an augmented reality (AR) overlay that can reflect projected digital images. By using cellular technology or Wi-Fi, smart glasses can run self-contained mobile apps. You could even communicate via natural language voice commands.

What Can They Do?

Just about anything.  They can improve vision if you have corrective lenses or protect your eyes from UV exposure to the sun. But that is like saying a car has four tires; you expect that, right?

Smart glasses can let you listen to music, track your activity, make calls, and hear turn-by-turn directions. No need to look at your phone to do these things. Gesture controls allow you to answer a call with a tap on the frames or swipe them to change songs.

While these applications are convenient and cool, there are other possibilities for smart glasses in various sectors. In the workplace, they can provide virtual assistance to employees. No need to memorize a manual of steps to take; these glasses can direct and guide with accuracy. The new employee doesn’t have to be monitored by a colleague, which saves both time and money. Inspections can be done remotely, and supervisors can oversee their staff.

In health care, smart glasses can give patients and doctors a way to communicate. They are an effective tool in telemedicine, allowing doctors to access a patient’s data easily and make an appropriate diagnosis.

Yet, smart glasses are virtually indistinguishable from traditional glasses. They can be just as compact and stylish as their non-tech counterparts. While most people wear glasses because they have to (as in have-to-see-better) smart glasses are worn because they offer so much more than just prescription lenses.

But which one is right for you?

Form, Function, and Dare We Say, Fun?

But specs aren’t the only thing that matters in tech, especially with these “spec-tacles.” Aesthetic has always had a place in tech. People want to use products that aren’t just top-of-the-line but that are attractive. The design of the product becomes even more important in wearable tech. People may compromise on an unattractive laptop but it’s much harder to justify “only specs matter” when the product is right on your face. Especially in recent years, as glasses have gone from necessary for vision correction to unique fashion statements.

As the Wall Street Journal points out, failing to account for this was a major misstep of some of the initial ventures into smart glasses. Many of the earlier models of smart glasses crammed the full spectrum of smartphone features into a pair of glasses. But, as technically impressive as this was, the general public was not enthused. Smart glasses were too “nerdy” and wearing a pair conveyed an interest in tech rather than a futuristic cool. Combined with the privacy concerns of essentially having a fully-functional smartphone hidden in a pair of glasses, the general public rejected the new innovations.

But smart glasses startups have responded to the public and the mistakes of their predecessors. Wearable tech has to package the functions in an aesthetically pleasing package. Newer companies have also recognized the appeal (and necessity) of limiting features. Yes, you can have a fully-functional video camera in a pair of glasses, but is it a good idea?

The Wall Street Journal’s continued coverage of smart glasses includes how they have gone from reaching a broad audience of the general public to more niche sectors. The product can target certain consumers more effectively by improving the features they need and not complicating the process with the ones they don’t.

Here are some notable smart glasses that haven’t abandoned the dream but have re-tooled their product and message to incorporate more fashionable glasses and select features.

Spectacles by Snap Inc.

Were you one of the people who thought glasses that could record video was an interesting feature? Many were at least intrigued by the idea, even if ultimately public privacy concerns overruled the technical capability. But previous product failures didn’t mean the idea needed to be abandoned entirely. Snap definitely didn’t think so.

Snap devised a way to leave the camera in the glasses while protecting others’ privacy in public. They might be the perfect company to take on this challenge. Even if you’re unfamiliar with their Spectacles, you most likely know (or use) the mobile app they are well-known for: Snapchat. Their approach certainly makes good use of both their smart glasses related acquisitions and their popular image messaging platform.

If the average user is seeking to use their smart glasses to take video, chances are they’re looking to share it with friends and followers on social media. Snap Spectacles tackle smart glasses with video recording with respect for security along with simple sharing and do so in a fun-looking pair of sunglasses.

The smart sunglasses show off a bold design and bright color options and while recording, small lights circle around the camera signaling it’s on. Instead of sneaking a camera into glasses, Snap Spectacles make it the focal point. Pressing a button on the frame starts recording a 10-second long Snap. Recorded as a circular video, the glasses sync wirelessly with your smartphone, allowing you to share your Snap.
List of 5 Best Smart Glasses - Snap Spectacles by Smart Vision Labs

Vuzix M300

But not everyone gave up on the amazing technology that allows all the capabilities of a smartphone to reside in a frame and lenses.

The Vuzix M300 builds on the success of their popular M100 glasses. These fully-featured smart glasses don’t forego features to alleviate security concerns. Instead, they changed their marketing strategy.

The first thing you notice about the M300 glasses are their mature, professional appearance. The dark color and simple frame could be found right in an eyeglass showroom, if not for the computer module and camera attached. They also added nose pads so they fit like a regular pair of prescription glasses as well.

Vuzix found their target audience in the business sector. Employees from remote help desk operators to doctors have found smart glasses to be useful in their line of work. Anyone who needs their hands free while they access a computer could benefit from smart glasses. This is especially vital for people whose fields are unpredictable or requires managing many aspects at once. Having fully-featured smart glasses keeps them from being tied to a mobile device or computer to read and relay information.

Vuzix M300 makes the List of 5 Best Smart Glasses by Smart Vision Labs

ODG R-7HL

ODG R-7HL made the list of Smart Vision Labs top 5 Smart Glasses
Source: augmented.reality.news

The technology and highly specific applications in which smart glasses excel is a perfect match for businesses who have technical tasks which need to be performed efficiently and safely. You might easily picture smart glasses right at home in a boardroom meeting but what about workers with more physical professions?

Like Vuzix, ODG also finds their ideal consumer is in an enterprise. Like other recent smart glasses, they know design is just as important as what features are included. Combining their enterprise consumer, the relation of design and function, along with the idea that more hands-on professions can benefit from smart glasses resulted in the R-7HL glasses.

The R-7HL glasses might not be as attractive as some of the other models mentioned so far, however, their design complements their function. The HL in their name stands for “hazardous location.” These smart glasses are meant for workers who don a hard hat and protective gear instead of a business suit. ODG mentions applications like oil production and mining to give an image of the type of environment these glasses were created for.

Although it’s not quite “fashion,” the design of the R-7HL glasses is important to their consumer. To create this model, ODG actually redesigned much of their R-7 glasses, responding to their consumer who asked for a rugged product. The R-7HL’s augmented reality allows people in dangerous jobs to still get important information while keeping their hands at their work where it matters way more than at a company meeting table.

Vue Glasses

Unlike the models intended for enterprise use, the Vue glasses seek to appeal to the general public again, using the successes and failures of their predecessors. Judging by their successful Kickstarter campaign, they may have achieved this.

The Vue glasses don’t even offer augmented reality. Instead, they work through bone conduction which allows the glasses to function as an activity tracker and to offer earbud-free music listening. The wearer uses a touchpad on the side of the frame to interact with the glasses, such as to change the song with a swipe. Just as easy as on a smartphone but without having to pull it out of your pocket (and untangle your earbuds).

So without AR and what seems like simple features, how did this product get funded? As seems to be the theme with successful and hyped smart glasses alike, they don’t look like a “nerdy” accessory. In fact, leaving out the AR and using bone conduction technology allows Vue to eliminate the computing device which typically rests on the side of the frame for more fully-featured smart glasses. The resulting product is indistinguishable from an ordinary pair of glasses. Except with those activity tracking and music listening experiences. See the appeal?

Liquid Lenses

We’ve seen the “smart” features, but how about a quick look at the “glasses” part? Like the Vue, these smart glasses also don’t have AR but that doesn’t disqualify them from using the name. The glasses listed so far have basically been head-mounted augmented reality devices (or at least offer supplementary features in the form of a pair of glasses). But researchers from the University of Utah have used the “smart” to improve the glasses.

These smart glasses have liquid lenses which allow them to change the focus, depending on the wearer’s needs. Regular prescription glasses can only correct one thing at a time. If you see well up close with your reading glasses on, your vision will be blurry when you look up from your book. These glasses would change for you instead of you changing your glasses.

The glasses connect with a smartphone app which contains the user’s prescription and changes the focus of the lens through Bluetooth. Inputting a new prescription results in the lens changing. This technology is very promising to people who switch between distance and reading glasses as well as bifocal users.

But even with these glasses that have the capability to improve people’s quality of life, design matters. As the average glasses-wearing consumer is the target market for these liquid lenses, their appearance is important. Even the leading researchers on this project acknowledge that the frames need engineering for aesthetic purposes before they will be suitable to offer to the public.

What are Liquid Lenses - Beyond Smart Glasses - Smart Vision Labs

Smart and Stylish

Glasses are no longer function over form. Engineers and designers, along with creative minds, need to collaborate to make glasses everyone can be excited for. No need to sacrifice looks. That’s what glasses are all about anyway.

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Moves with Eyes in the Title - Smart Vision Labs

"Eye" Love Movies!

“Eye” Love Movies!

Do you ever feel that there are eyes all around you? Are they watching you or are you watching them? If an eye blinks in the forest and no one is around, is that called an invisible blink? Does someone have to see your eyes so your eyes can see?

 

If you happen to be a Hollywood producer, these questions make perfect sense. And they may even be the idea behind yet another movie named after the eye. Did you know that many film titles have the word “eye” in them? Let’s take a look.

Kinds of Eyes

Movies have been made about all kinds of eyes.

starry_eyes_2014_film_poster

Starry Eyes is a horror film about a young woman suffering from trichotillomania, or hair pulling. She desperately wants to become a famous actress so she makes a deal with the devil. You probably don’t even need to have your eyes open to know how this turns out. In fact, you may want to shut your eyes if you don’t like gore.

snakeeyesposter-1

Snake Eyes is a thriller that didn’t have much luck at the box office even with Nicolas Cage in the starring role. The plot has some of the usual characteristics of this genre, like a murder conspiracy, a shady police detective, and a casino, but the action didn’t widen the eyes of moviegoers in shock.

 

 

angel_eyes_ver1

Angel Eyes literally soared above these movies with a better plot, memorable music score, and outstanding acting. It’s about a mysterious man who develops a relationship with a female police officer. Each of them has trauma from their past that they deal with together. Moviegoers definitely had a tear or two coming from their own eyes.

Location of Eyes

If you thought movies only dealt with eyes that are set in the head, then you are wrong. According to Hollywood, eyes can be in the sky or in the hills.

eye_in_the_sky_2015_film_poster Eye in the Sky is a thriller about drone warfare. Realistic enough to be scary, this film had people widening their eyes in fear.

The Hills Have Eyes is at the other end of reality. This is a horror movie about murderous mutants. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye open in case you see a pack of them coming at you.

Whose Eyes?

Movie titles have featured eyes by a stranger and a mother. And these films are eye-opening, as in shocking. You may want to hold off on eating popcorn.

91xea44p0kl-_sy445_ The Eyes of My MotherThe Eyes of My Mother is not for the faint of heart. It’s considered arthouse horror and is not a my-mother’s-eyes-love-me kind of movie.

Eyes of a Stranger is a slasher film that may make moviegoers hesitate about leaving their seats to go to the bathroom.

 

 

So What’s the Deal with Movies and Eyes?

If this was a mathematical equation, the answer would be movies plus eyes equals an audience. But there is more to it than that. Merely watching a movie doesn’t make it great; moviegoers have to use more than the physical aspects of their eyes.

Our eyes take in light through the pupils, which passes through the lens, and focuses on the retina. This travels as an electrical impulse to the brain through the optic nerve which forms the image in our brain.

All of that happens on a physical level when you watch a movie, but your eyes need to express something. Like fear or surprise or sadness with a tear trickling down your cheek.

So, if a movie has “eyes” in the title, it may give you an eye-opening, eye-shuddering, or eye-can’t-believe-it experience. Or you might just shut your eyes and wait for the lights to come back on in the theater.

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AR and VR for buying glasses - Smart Vision Labs

The Optician's Guide to AR and VR

Both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies offer promising ways to raise the bar of quality customer experience. Each of these has unique potential applications and limitations and it is up to creative companies to decide which kind of interaction to offer.

Understanding the differences in these technologies is essential to applying them effectively. AR brings a virtual item into the real world and VR inputs you into the virtual world. Each has pros and cons, yet both can be beneficial when the technology’s strength aligns with a company’s goals.

The benefit of AR is that nearly everyone has access to a smartphone – probably the most straightforward way to interact with this technology. The downside is that AR also requires some kind of proprietary app or device. This requires relying on the customer to bother seeking it out which has proven unlikely.

VR basically reverses the pros and cons of AR. A single VR headset can interact with many different applications, effectively creating a single portal. However, the customer has to first have that VR headset.

Although their benefits and limitations are virtually opposite one another, in reality, they are used for rather different purposes. Which one is better depends more on the company’s specific use rather than the technology itself.

They are alike in that both offer ways for more personalized, higher quality customer experience. Supplementing real-life experiences with virtual information blurs the line between shopping in a brick-and-mortar store or visiting their website. VR and AR also bridge the gap in shopping experience for a business that operates entirely online.

AR Technology

Augmented reality brings digital elements into the real world. It supplements reality with computer-generated graphics, sounds, data, or other elements. AR is primarily a real-life experience as the virtual item uses the technology as a portal to enter our world.

AR can be implemented in any device that has the required hardware, such as a smartphone, or in a stand-alone technology, like smart glasses. The versatility and accessibility of AR tech is perhaps its greatest benefit.

Smartphones and similar computing tech (such as tablets and video game consoles) are able to utilize AR through a camera and a positioning sensor, such as a GPS or accelerometer. This allows the device to register its position or scan a code to allow the digital data to overlay itself in the real world where the person can interact with it.

Smart glasses are another technology where AR might showcase its potential. Applications for augmented reality glasses aren’t limited at this point. There are companies creating glasses to interact with 3D models of items and others which seek to display biofeedback, such as heart rate, right from the lens. And although smart glasses do require an additional investment from the consumer, they are also far more practical for real-world use. Despite the many articles capitalizing on the sometimes silly appearance of smart glasses, even at this early stage, they are much smaller and even streamlined when compared with the options for virtual reality users.

AR and VR in optical stores - Smart Vision Labs (source: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/hololens)
Microsoft HoloLens (source: Microsoft)

VR Technology

AR brings the digital world to you but virtual reality puts you into a created digital space. Using a VR headset transports you into whatever virtual scenario you decided to enter.

VR uses a headset and software to project the illusion that you are somewhere other than your living room. Exactly how the different models operate vary but all use the same basic hardware and software interactions. You put on the hardware (the VR headset) which runs off of a technology platform such as PC, smartphone, or video game console. The image enters the headset through a HDMI cable (in the case of the PC or console platforms) or from connecting the smartphone directly to the headset. Interacting with the virtual world can be done through the device tracking your body movements, your voice, or buttons on a controller or the headset itself.

Virtual reality can create such a convincing illusion by the proximity of the screen to your eyes. When you think of VR headset, what comes to mind is likely an HMD, a head mounted display. Because the screen is attached to your head and the device tracks your position, moving about in the real world will alter the view you have in the virtual one. Look up in real life, you’ll be looking at the sky in the digital world.

AR and VR guide for optical stores - Smart Vision Labs
Video Games in Virtual Reality (source: FluidCastVR)

The Consumer Experience Buying Glasses

Previously, there was only one way to have that question answered: bring someone with you to the optical store. Now, with the technologies of virtual reality and augmented reality, consumers can get an honest answer without even trying on the glasses.

VR and AR provide a highly personalized buying experience. While retailers have long known the benefits of placing the product in the consumer’s hands, these applications take that one step farther. Trying on frames can become like a private screening with the consumer, the tech, and the frames. The walls that usually exist in any selling situation, namely, the brick and mortar store, the time factor, and the presence of employees and other people, dissolve with VR and AR.

The consumer has the power to see their purchase, not only up close and personal but within their own reality that is not contingent on anyone else’s. These applications have the potential to forever change the eyeglasses buying experience.

Not only does the consumer have the power to put their possible purchase in their own hands, they have the power to do this anywhere and anytime. Yes, they will know conclusively whether the glasses look good on them. But even more importantly, they will be able to easily view all options simply by scrolling through a menu.

In a very effective way, these applications put the consumer and the product together like never before. The entire idea behind VR and AR is to blur the physical lines of reality and invite people to enter a world that seems as real as the one they can touch.

This technology has put into practice the overriding principle of the entire buying experience. Consumers purchase what they like, what they want, and what they can afford. And where do they get the answers to these questions? In their minds.

VR and AR have not only accepted the idea that the mind is the arena for making decisions; these applications have made this real. In an amazingly profound way, consumers can get a clearer understanding of what they should buy when they step into the reality construct. The data to make a decision is still there, yet the consumer doesn’t have to go anywhere in real-time to get it.

By answering the question, “How do these glasses look on me?” VR and AR have opened up another dimension in which choices can be seen more clearly. The retail experience just got more real.

The Optician’s Advantage

Opticians are utilizing the applications of virtual reality and augmented reality in ways that expand from selling to setting up. Opening a store is a huge financial investment which encompasses a lot of overlapping details and decisions. Wouldn’t it be great to see the final result before making a commitment?

Grab a virtual reality headset and see for yourself. VR and AR are able to take future business owners for a tour of their store before the key even turns in the lock. These applications can literally set up the entire store, from everything to light fixtures to shelving, and then populate it with stock. This visual awareness allows for clearer concepts of the use of space, the flow of traffic, and the placing of strategic displays.

By having an almost-working model of the store, opticians can effectively plan and use the available space. With a flick through the menu, the store can be rearranged. Business owners have long recognized the power of atmosphere in the buying experience. The most successful stores have a balance of ease and excitement. The consumer needs to reach out and touch the product but also wants a strong motivation to make a purchase.

Personalized shopping is at the top of business owners’ lists since everyone wants to feel like their purchase is important. This isn’t just narcissism; it’s a fact of retail. Whenever there is an exchange of dollars for a product, the consumer wants reassurance that the deal was at least equal. But to make it even better, tilt the purchase in favor of the customer by offering something else like an added bonus. Another aspect of personalized shopping is a decrease in returns. Listening to the consumer and reacting to their objections in-store lowers the probability of their dissatisfaction at home.

Through the use of this technology, optical store owners can literally visualize the entire process from walking through the doors to getting the receipt from the cash register. VR and AR can let them plan the buying experience and try out options and ideas.

In some ways, this is almost reminiscent of those video games where a player can create a village or farm. All of the details can be worked out without the physical presence of time, money, or construction. Only after the owner is completely happy will the actual reality of the store be set up.

VR and AR take the guesswork out of starting an optical store by showing owners what things will really look like.

AR and VR for buying glasses - Smart Vision Labs
Source: Factor-Tech

Looking into the Future with AR and VR

Although these technologies appear to be from the future, they currently exist and are making an impact in the retail world. Both consumers and opticians are seeing the potential of these applications as well as the benefits. VR and AR glasses and headsets are waiting for creative minds to apply their unique way to interact with the virtual world to solve existing problems and start new trends.

By creating a highly personalized shopping experience everyone wins; the role of the consumer is elevated and the business models enjoy less financial risk. While some people may think AR and VR are like a game, there is some truth to that. A virtual or augmented shopping experience can be played out in a type of parallel universe, but the reality is always present. The strategies used and the principles put into action have an actual counterpoint in reality.

Consumers, innovators, and established businesses all stand to benefit from using forward-thinking technologies like AR and VR. The junction of tech and real life is blurring, whether the idea is creating new products, updating existing ones, or just making life more convenient. VR and AR allow companies and consumers to take creative risks.

AR and VR make reality even easier to deal with.

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Eye Proverbs

The Wisdom of the Eyes

Of course you’ve heard of wisdom teeth, but do you know about the wisdom in your eyes? Apparently philosophers in various cultures did because there are a lot of proverbs written about the eyes.

Let’s take a look and see what these wise sayings really mean.

“Onions, smoke, and women bring tears to your eyes.” – Danish Proverb

Certain things literally bring tears to our eyes, like onions. They are a great ingredient in many meals but, let’s be honest, cutting them is a nuisance. Our eyes burn, the tears fall, and you may wonder if it’s easier to just toss some onion powder in the food rather than torture your eyes.

There is a physical reason for the irritation onions cause. When they are sliced, onions produce a gaseous chemical known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide. This wafts up in the air where it comes into contact with the moisture in your eyes. The ciliary nerve is triggered, you feel a burning sensation, and tears are produced.

Although knowing why you cry around onions is nice, it’s a better thing to know how to stop it. A couple tips are to refrigerate the onions prior to slicing them; this slows down the reaction rate of the chemical that is released. Another alternative is to run water over the onions since the syn-propanethial-S-oxide is water soluble and this will eliminate its presence.

“Eyes that see do not grow old.” – Nicaraguan Proverb

We all worry about growing old since it seems that certain body parts may not work as well with age. Usually around the age of 40, people notice that they cannot see clearly at close distances. This is a normal part of aging since the lenses in the eyes become less flexible. This makes it harder to focus on near objects. Other eye issues more common with age include glaucoma, cataracts, decreased peripheral vision, and trouble driving at night.

But there is an excellent way to keep your eyes as healthy as possible as you age. The answer is with regular vision exams. All of these eye conditions can be addressed; many times all you may need are prescription glasses. Getting old doesn’t mean you won’t be able to see well. It only means that your eyes need to be examined more frequently, especially if you are having any problems.

“Not all are asleep who have their eyes shut.”  Italian Proverb

No one should sleep with their eyes open unless they just watched a Stephen King movie. Your eyes need sleep just like your body does. Many people suffer from chronic eye fatigue which means your eyes may just feel tired all the time.

During sleep, the eyes are renewed through some basic ‘housekeeping’ processes. Old cells are sloughed off, making way for new cells. The tear ducts replenish themselves. All of these things add to the immunity of our eyes and keep them as healthy as possible. For optimal benefits, our eyes need at least seven hours of sleep to restore the nutrients they need.

Throughout time, across continents, and in every language, the eyes have been the subject of proverbs and much speculation. There has been an air of mystery associated with the eyes but also an air of certainty: the eyes need regular vision exams for optimal health.

That might not be a proverb but it sure makes sense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Upstarts and Startups in Eyewear Fashion

Upstarts and Startups in Eyewear Fashion

The eyewear industry is getting a whole new look. It also features a new vocabulary with words and phrases like disruptors, trendsetters, revolutionary, and cult online brands. Established industry leaders are now shoulder to shoulder with indie designers, entrepreneurial manufacturers, and intrapreneurs.

What’s the takeaway? A whole new way to create, distribute, and buy eyewear that is cost-effective and convenient.

By dictionary definition, trendsetters lead the way in fashion or ideas. By industry definition, they are among the key players in the eyewear industry’s disruption.

Enter the Trendsetters

No matter where you look, the landscape of the eyewear industry is changing. Whether the term used is upstarts, disruptors, or innovative thinkers, the result is the same: this industry has moved from a two-player game (established manufacturers and distributors) to a multi-level playing field. Everyone, including a Kickstarter campaign and a global luxury brand seeking to rewire their business DNA, has a stake in the movement.

But the real winners are the consumers. Go figure.

Figure is the right word to use since numbers are at the foundation of this movement. The global eyewear market is poised for a huge burst with industry experts predicting it will reach $140 billion by 2020. In a pre-disruption time, this would have seen the industry expand with comfortable tweaks that would inevitably bring the dollars back to the side of the established players.

They saw that same prediction and realized the dollars can be distributed differently, toward creating unique designs, using new materials, and establishing an atmosphere of freedom. The ‘win-win’ scenario they developed set everyone in the industry free to bring the best eyewear to the most people. Consumers applaud this since they also receive a share of the profits through cost-effective buying options, convenience, and having their voices heard.

The trendsetters not only entered; they sat, listened, and acted.

Anyone who disrupts an industry has a plan that is bigger than the present model. Yet, the path to disruption can take several forms. Some upstarts establish startups to have a clean slate. Others may work within an established company to reinforce their position in a new and significant way.

Kering Eyewear is an example of the latter. At first glance, they look like a startup but they are backed by Kering Group, which includes brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney. So what does it look like when a luxury goods giant finances the framework for an eyewear business?

No one will need glasses to see the benefits this union provides. Kering Eyewear is best described as a mixed-model. They have taken back control of design and product development, as well as marketing and distribution. They are no longer locked into agreements with certain manufacturers but can deal with a range of specialist makers.

This leads to a high level of consumer satisfaction by providing high quality at realistic prices. Kering Eyewear’s business model includes responding faster to market needs and making the most of new opportunities.

Kering Eyewear focuses on a future which brings much welcomed reforms to this industry. Using their financial backing to support their new mindset lets them take the challenge of change and turn it into a huge opportunity.

What’s the Takeaway?

The message of the eyewear industry’s disruption is that the time for change is now. But what’s most impressive about this movement is that it comes with convictions.

There are several factors in place that have never been together before. The first is the prediction (more like a fact-to-be) of the market growing exponentially. Yet, the consumer base that will fuel that growth is of a new breed.

Made up largely of millennials, these consumers bring more to the table than their credit cards. They bring a vision. No, that is not a pun for eyewear; millennials live for ideas and concepts and beliefs. They embrace life and art and need to connect to products in more than a physical way. Trendsetters are listening and responding.

There is no business as usual for the current consumers; they want to know how and why a product was made. They want to know the materials used, the venues of distribution, and all the available choices. They will either accept a company’s philosophy or reject it. The latter is not only a sale lost, it’s the voice of a customer who is socially connected and not afraid to share their thoughts on any company.

Industry disruptors have established ways to address core concerns. By remaining flexible and leveraging their autonomy, they are quicker to respond to market needs, can adapt to new opportunities, and keep promises to consumers.

Yet, this market demands more than a great product. The takeaway needs to connect to consumers in a significant way.

That’s exactly what Tom Steward and Michael Charley did. Their 2012 Kickstarter campaign for a line of quality, affordable sunglasses led to a $2 million-dollar business; Sunski. Their premise was simple and their strategy for implementing it was brilliant.

The duo recognized that quality sunglasses are either incredibly expensive, in which case people are afraid to actually wear them and risk breaking them, or else the glasses are so cheap they need to be replaced at warp speed.

They created sunglasses for real-life use, but the actual product is only half of the story. Every lens is polarized on Sunski sunglasses and comes with UVA/B/400 protection. The styles are unisex (a big selling feature!) and the polycarbonate frames have a lifetime warranty. If the frames break (doesn’t matter how) consumers can send them back for free repair or replacement. For the lenses, they offer a very cheap replacement kit. If we stop right there, everyone can agree that is an unusual way of doing business.

But Sunski is not only about sunglasses. They have a real interest in the environment. They had previously been donating 1 percent of their earnings to various environmental groups. But on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017, they gave 100 percent of their online sales to One Percent for the Plant. This was to show solidarity with the outdoor industry and to inspire their supporters to stand up for the environment by taking action in their community.

Besides making a contribution to the world around them, they generated a customer base that applauded their actions and pledged loyalty to them.

The takeaway is never a give-away, rather, it’s something for the consumer to embrace and wear. And ‘wearing’ is not only putting on a pair of sunglasses. Today’s consumer connects to the companies they support because they decided that the company deserves their support.

Kreativity?

There can’t be trendsetters without creativity. These industry disruptors recognize the impact creativity brings to a movement. While a new business model is being established, the creative element softens the edges, adds color, and generates excitement.

And sometimes creativity starts with a K.

Krewe opened its French Quarter flagship store in New Orleans on the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. In a perfectly balanced approach, the company mixes the old with the new. This melding of atmosphere, people, places, and ideas is at the heart of this eyewear leader. Their fans and loyal consumers are part of their ‘krewe’ (pronounced crew) which is a New Orleans term to signify the diverse group of people that celebrate together at the Carnival season each year.

krewe-tinyhouse5

How does this relate to eyewear? Founder, Stirling Barrett, is a New Orleans native and artist with a background in photography. He recognized how photography and eyewear deal with perspective and lenses and translated that into the creation of unique frames.

The frame that literally set this company in full view of the world is the St. Louis one. It was inspired by the wrought iron fences and balconies that define the architecture of New Orleans. The frame is made of acetate and metal which gives it a distinctive and unique vibe. It was Barrett’s idea to create a brand around this city’s style and he has since fashioned other frames around specific locations.

Beyoncé was the company’s first famous fan, and now the Krewe includes Reese Witherspoon, Kate Hudson, and Kendall Jenner to name a few. A very active social media presence contributes to the buzz and connects consumers and celebrities alike. ‘Krewe’ has become more than a word for a diverse group coming together; it has come to represent the goal of celebrating individual style, regardless of location, affluence, or influence.

No matter how you spell creativity, when it’s used to its best advantage, it generates an unparalleled excitement that consumers notice every time.

screen-shot-2017-04-14-at-4-57-05-pm

Another Kickstarter Story

Is it time for another Kickstarter story? The very fact that Kickstarter is associated with eyewear industry disruptors is significant.

The entire purpose of Kickstarter is to bring creative projects to life. This global community offers direct support via their real-time funding platform. Legacy Eyewear wanted to offer handmade, polarized sunglasses made of wood. Kickstarter got the company in consumers’ minds and the glasses in their hands.

As with any trendsetting, it started as an idea. Pete Duncan’s father dealt with cabinetry and custom wood projects. Pete learned to appreciate the process of woodworking, and learned the variety of character in each type of wood. He was able to take a project from raw material to finished product but soon realized that there was an initial step he wanted to venture in. That step was designing.

Pete wanted a company that would handcraft wood eyewear that was affordable, beautiful and rugged. Legacy Eyewear came into existence in 2016. These sunglasses are made by a small team of expert craftsmen. Every pair is made with quality as the first requirement.

Polarized and shatterproof lenses are made with dual scratch resistant coatings and 100% UVA/UVB protection. Double-hinged frames offer flexibility as well as comfort. And these sunglasses even float!

Yet, the philosophy behind Legacy Eyewear is more than just great sunglasses. The wood represents what the company stands for. All of it is American-sourced while other eyewear companies procure the wood from China. Pete wanted to do more than just talk about bringing jobs back to America; he wanted to actually make it happen.

With each pair of glasses Legacy Eyewear makes, the company reinforces their beliefs that handcrafted, made-in-America, offers more benefits than mass-produced, made overseas. For this company and this business owner, the way to disrupt the industry is to live out your ideals. Give consumers the best product in the best way without sacrificing quality or integrity.

And guess what? This is exactly what the disruption is all about. Consumers want more than a product; they want a company they can trust.

Eyewear Landscape is Forever Changing

Trendsetters are changing the eyewear industry and that’s good news. While we speak of revolutionary ideas, innovations, and disruptions, changes are literally taking place before our eyes. Call them what you will but they are improving all aspects of this business.

People with ideas about how to create better eyeglasses are finding ways to make and market them. Consumers are looking for a new breed of eyewear business, ones that look beyond the profit line to what may be considered the ‘purpose line’, those larger issues that everyone on the planet has.

Buying and selling eyewear is more about connections than ever. Connecting to the consumer through quality products, American manufacturers, social media, and grassroots campaigns are several ways to do this.

Consumer confidence extends beyond the product to the persons who are the company. Eyewear has become more like “I care” and if the consumer doesn’t care, the products won’t sell. Yet, buying and selling aren’t the only results of this disruption. The main event is the understanding that when businesses listen to people, everyone (even everyone on the whole planet) can benefit.


Should you fire your eye doctor? - Smart Vision Labs

You Really Should Have Your Eyes Examined!

Did you ever see a unicorn? Or maybe pink elephants? How about a fireworks display in the middle of your living room?

If you said, “Yes” to any of these, you are not alone. People have reported seeing these things, but…well…they may not actually have been there. But that’s okay. There is a way to ‘see’ things a bit clearer. Hold on.You Should Have Your Eyes Examined

There Goes a Unicorn!

Unicorns are happy creatures even though they have that (seemingly annoying) horn right in the middle of their head. On the bright side, those horns were magical and were believed to counteract poison and purify water. There have been numerous unicorn sightings over the centuries and many cultures recognize this creature as being very real.

But if you have seen a unicorn lately, the best advice may be to have your eyes examined.

You may not have actually seen a unicorn; maybe it was a deer with only one antler? A vision exam may reveal that you have trouble focusing on distant objects. Like a deer.

This condition is called nearsightedness and happens when the light that enters the eye focuses in front of the retina instead of on its surface. This creates a blurry image for distant objects.

But there is a fix to this. Prescription glasses or contacts can bend the light to the right focal point and eliminate the blurriness. This may also stop you from seeing a deer with one antler and calling it a unicorn.

Aren’t Pink Elephants Pretty?

You Should Have Your Eyes Examined!This one is a bit tricky since elephants are not pink. Okay, a super rare albino elephant might be pinkish but it would also be super rare for you to see one. The best advice may be for you to have your eyes examined.

This vision problem is seeing the wrong color. This is a fairly common condition among men with about 1 in 12 being affected by it. For women, that number is lower. Only 1 in 200 has trouble discerning the correct color of an object. This is often an inherited trait, and there is no cure for it. Affected people learn ways to cope with decisions concerning color.

It’s caused when the photoreceptors in the retina (which are called rods and cones) do not respond properly to the wavelengths of light that enable people to distinguish color.

If you are color blind, it’s best to not mention the pink elephants. (But they are kind of cute, aren’t they?)

Fireworks in the Living Room?

Have you ever seen a display of flashing lights even though it wasn’t the 4th of July? This happens and is more common with age. But the best advice may be for you to have your eyes examined.

The eye is filled with clear gel called vitreous and it may pull away or rub against the retina. Since the retina is highly light-sensitive, this causes the light entering the eye to be improperly ‘seen.’ Flashes of light are the result and a vision exam is definitely in order.

Even though unicorns, pink elephants, and flashes of light may be interesting to see, it might be best to investigate them a little further.

You really should have your eyes examined!

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