Wheelings & Dealings: APX Labs Raises $10M to Back Google Glass' Play for Business

By Steve Anderson April 22, 2014

While the question of just how far Google Glass will go as a consumer item is still, somewhat, up in the air, the idea of Google Glass as a business tool is much more concrete. Though there are still some doubts in this sector, there are several companies looking to move into the field as app providers for the business users of Google Glass. APX Labs is just one such company, and has raised a substantial sum in a new funding round in order to get such apps around.

APX Labs reportedly raised $10 million in a new funding round, which in turn was led by New Enterprise Associates as APX Labs looks to put together business applications for the wearable technology in question. APX Labs actually got a bit of a boost from Google previously, was one of the companies that Google promoted in its recent “Glass at Work” push, which helped to show off some of the business-related applications that Google Glass could muster.  APX Labs has actually been involved in what's known as the computerized eyewear market since 2010, working not only on software for Google Glass, but also on software for the Moverio device line from Seiko Epson.

While APX Labs got its start working on military applications for such devices, it quickly expanded into commercial uses in general, of which there are a surprising abundance. For instance, some of APX's software has been shown to be able to tell a warehouse worker where to find certain items, or even telling said worker when something needs to be restocked by intermingling with an employee's physical environment.  The company already has several major customers to its collective name, according to reports, but plans a further expansion with its newly-raised $10 million, bringing its total fundraising efforts so far up to a reported $16 million.

New Enterprise Associates, as expressed by partner Dayna Grayson who is reportedly joining the board of APX, expects smart glasses for the enterprise user to make some big gains in the short-term, and make said gains rather rapidly. Grayson went on to note that the field “has so much potential,” and that the expected gains weren't really out of line as a result.

It does make quite a bit of sense that enterprise smartglasses would be a valuable tool at the business level. We've seen the kind of benefits that call recording can have; imagine the kind of benefits that can be had when every individual transaction a company engages in can be recorded, examined, and monitored. The use of cameras in retail store facilities also, by some measures, has significantly fewer rules attached to it than the use of call recording mechanisms.

Add into this critical points like Internet access from anywhere with a connection, the ease involved in video and voice calling, and the various supports that augmented reality systems can provide—consider what less-experienced repairmen or installers could do with the easy ability to access training videos on demand—and the value of smart glasses in enterprise becomes fairly clear.

While the business community may not ultimately agree with such a perception, only time will really tell if the value becomes apparent. Still, with APX Labs and the other firms in the market working to make quality applications for the platform, the sheer value of such a tool is likely to be clear to businesses, which should react accordingly.

Ed English, vice-president of APX Labs, will be discussing the various business opportunities of wearable tech in July at the Wearable Tech Expo, being held July 23-24, 2014 at the Javits Center in New York.

Edited by Alisen Downey

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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