Shares of Vuzix (VUZI 2.34%) jumped as much as 19% today after the company announced a new partnership with Japanese telecommunications giant KDDI to sell smart glasses. As of 1 p.m. EST, the stock was still up 10%.
Vuzix said that it has partnered with various international subsidiaries of KDDI to sell Vuzix Smart Glasses to enterprise customers across several markets. Vuzix Smart Glasses leverage augmented-reality (AR) technology to free the user's hands and increase productivity of maintenance technicians. KDDI has already started to deploy the devices internally and will also resell the Smart Glasses to other customers.
"We look forward to working with KDDI as both a reseller of our smart glasses and an internal user," Vuzix CEO Paul Travers said in a statement. "KDDI is a leading supplier of telecom services in Japan, as well as an established global supplier of IT products and services, and this partnership represents a perfect fit for the solutions and capabilities of both companies."
Early generations of AR glasses, most notably Google Glass, had largely failed to gain traction initially with consumers, but manufacturers have found new use cases in industrial and enterprise markets. Companies can justify the high cost of the products since they can potentially improve productivity for certain roles.
Sales of Vuzix Smart Glasses jumped by 156% in the third quarter to reach $2.7 million. In November, Travers commented, "The COVID-19 Pandemic has become a catalyst for much broader acceptance of enterprise smart glasses, resulting in shorter evaluation periods and increased customer adoption."