In the realm of technology today, Augmented Reality (AR) has consistently captured our attention as one of the revolutionary technologies with the potential to reshape our way of life. INMO, (Chinese: 影目科技), one of the frontrunners in the AR glasses domain, has recently unveiled a paradigm-shifting AR eyewear product INMO Go, earning widespread attention.
We had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Lü Yifei, Co-founder and CMO of Impact Vision Technology, to gain insights into the company and the future of AR technology.
Brand Identity: "In Mirror," the Future of Metaverse
The name INMO carries profound significance, stemming from the concepts of "in the monitor" and "in the mirror." Long before the rise of the metaverse concept, INMO had envisioned a parallel world where everyone possesses a mirror-image second life. The technologies of virtual and augmented reality are grounded in this concept of parallel spacetime, merging the real world with the virtual world of a second life. Therefore, INMO's brand identity, built upon "In Mirror," underscores the concept of reflection and mirroring in another space.
INMO stands out in the wireless AR glasses domain as a pioneer and leader. Mr . Lü mentioned that INMO is the market leader in wireless AR glasses, with a prominent presence on nearly all major e-commerce platforms such as JD.com (Chinese: 京东) and Tmall (Chinese: 天猫). Notably, INMO is the sole manufacturer to achieve mass production in the field of everyday appearance for AR glasses. Moreover, they have successfully launched three lightweight wireless AR eyewear products, making them unique in the market.
INMO's competitive advantage arises from two core strengths within their team. Firstly, they inherit the lightweight and miniaturization technology from their mobile phone team, integrating numerous elements like chips, motherboards, batteries, and various sensors into a remarkably compact space while maintaining focus on design and comfort—critical aspects for a device worn on the face. Additionally, INMO possesses formidable software algorithm capabilities, balancing computing power and battery life to ensure users can enjoy the glasses for hours on end and obtain an excellent experience across various scenarios. What's particularly striking is that INMO is the sole manufacturer of lightweight glasses with Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) capabilities, enabling seamless transitions between the virtual and real worlds, and expanding possibilities for AR glasses usage.
Lightweight and Comfort: Relentless Innovation
INMO's latest AR glasses weigh only 52 grams, comparable to the weight of women's sunglasses, establishing a noticeable advantage in terms of portability over competitors. Furthermore, INMO prioritizes comfort and ergonomics to ensure users experience comfortable wear. Achieving this task is a high-level challenge that demands expertise in miniaturization and ergonomics.
Mr . Lü specifically detailed the battery life of different products. Their flagship product, INMO Air2, boasts continuous usage for four and a half hours, while the latest ultra-lightweight AR glasses offer an impressive seven hours of battery life. This outstanding battery life results from the exceptional synergy between INMO's software and hardware teams. Through clever algorithms and miniaturized design, they maintain a delicate balance between power consumption and computing power, allowing the same battery capacity to offer extended usage time. This remarkable battery life is a standout feature attracting users.
Balancing the Consumer and Business Markets
INMO's target users primarily reside in China's tier-one cities, aged between 20 and 45, with a predominant focus on high-income individuals, where the male demographic comprises the majority with a male-to-female ratio of approximately 7:3. This target audience shares a passion for tech products and exhibits a keen interest in AR glasses.
While the company primarily targets the consumer (2C) market, AR technology has a wide array of applications, from entertainment to education, travel, and business. Mr. Lü emphasized that although the company's product sales are mainly consumer-focused, they actively explore collaborations in the business (2B) market. He explained that their products are not limited to individual consumers but can be custom-developed to meet the specific needs of enterprises, adapting to various professional scenarios and functionalities.
MR.Lü stated, "We collaborate with various end-users, such as electric vehicle and automobile manufacturers, to achieve synergy. Additionally, we provide products for special fields like sports, education, and travel, offering users a wider range of application choices."
Sales Channels and Market Strategy
INMO has established extensive sales channels both domestically and internationally. In China, they sell products through leading e-commerce platforms like JD.com and Tmall and collaborate with distributors on platforms like Taobao (Chinese: 淘宝). Additionally, they have entered select brick-and-mortar stores such as Fangdeng Bookstore (Chinese: 樊登书店) and Yilan Digital (Chinese: 翼蓝数码). In terms of overseas markets, INMO has successfully entered North America, including the United States and Canada, expanding sales through crowdfunding and channels like Amazon.
To effectively engage its target audience, INMO employs diverse marketing strategies. They collaborate with 3C digital media to conduct product reviews and unboxing introductions since their products require more explanation and demonstration. Additionally, they create short videos on social media platforms, showcasing the product's various applications through scenario-based content, enabling users to intuitively grasp its value. Mr . Lü mentioned that within half a month of the product's launch in China, it garnered over 10 million views online, becoming a trending topic. INMO's products offer high playability, catering to diverse user needs, making them a standout attraction for users.
Development Trends in the AR Market
Regarding the future development trends of the AR market, Mr. Lü highlighted several key factors. Firstly, hardware prices must be sufficiently affordable for mass adoption. Secondly, the appearance of AR glasses should be lightweight and fashionable, suitable for daily wear without affecting the user's appearance. Most importantly, software must be both enjoyable and practical, catering to diverse user needs. He pointed out that "enjoyable" and "practical" are two different dimensions but both are critical to success.
He stated, "Both the concepts of enjoyable and practical are important. Novel and fun applications may become market disruptors, but if a product is practical, for example, for work or learning, it will find easier acceptance in the mass market."
Innovation at Its Best: Ultra-Lightweight AI Assistant Glasses
Mr. Lü concluded the discussion by unveiling the company's latest product, hailed as ground-breaking in the world of AR glasses. On September 6, 2023, INMO unveiled the single-eye AR glasses INMO Go, priced at RMB 1,999, with a limited-time offer of RMB 1,799, based on Micro-LED and diffractive waveguide technology, catering to lightweight scenarios. As of the end of 2023, the cumulative sales of all INMO products have reached 30,000 units, with the newly launched INMO Go achieving an average monthly sales exceeding 3,000 units in September.
The INMO Go is designed for "daily wear," resembling regular eyeglasses, allowing personalization with prescription or sunglasses lenses. This design enables the INMO Go to adapt to different needs and is suitable for daily work and outdoor activities. The lightweight design and comfortable leg adjustments of INMO Go enhance the user's wearing experience.
Furthermore, INMO Go goes beyond meeting basic needs, incorporating intelligent technologies like GPT, offering real-time Q&A, voice assistants, translation, and more, making it an invaluable assistant in various scenarios such as presentations, navigation, calls, and music playback.
The introduction of INMO Go signifies a gaming-changing milestone in the AR glasses market. These ultra-lightweight AI assistant glasses offer users more possibilities, seamlessly integrating AR technology into daily life. Mr.Lü and the team at INMO are diligently shaping the future of AR glasses, bringing us a smarter and more convenient way of life. As a ground-breaking product, INMO Go is poised to play a crucial role in future tech trends, transforming our way of life.