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NASDAQ:VUZI
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Vuzix has an eye on the future with its smart glasses and augmented reality technologies

Snapshot

Founded in 1997, the group holds 184 patents and patents pending and numerous IP licenses in the Video Eyewear field. It has won Consumer Electronics Show awards for innovation for the years 2005 to 2021 and several wireless technology innovation awards, among others

Vuzix glasses

Quick facts: Vuzix Corporation

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NASDAQ:VUZI

Price: 11.29 USD

Market Cap: $717.86 m
  • Products include personal display and wearable computing devices
  • Used across multiple industries including medical and defense
  • Holds 184 patents and patents pending and numerous IP licenses in the video eyewear field

What Vuzix Corporation does:

Vuzix Corporation (NASDAQ:VUZI) (FRA:V7XN) is a leading supplier of smart glasses and augmented reality (AR) technologies and products for the consumer and enterprise markets.

The company's products include personal display and wearable computing devices that offer users a portable high-quality viewing experience, provide solutions for mobility, wearable displays and AR.

Founded in 1997, the group holds 184 patents and patents pending and numerous IP licenses in the video eyewear field. It has won Consumer Electronics Show awards for innovation for the years 2005 to 2021 and several wireless technology innovation awards among others.

The company manufactures and sells two main products - Vuzix Blade Upgraded smart glasses, and the M-series smart glasses.

The Vuzix Blade upgraded smart glasses offer complete with personal protective eyewear support out of the box. They deliver a hands-free connection of the digital world to the real world, providing unprecedented access to location-aware information, data collection, remote support communications with both audio and video, and more. The Blade upgraded glasses benefit from the same features as the regular Blade but include an auto-focus 8-megapixel camera, built-in stereo speakers, and advanced Vuzix voice control.

The Vuzix M-Series boasts the new M4000, M400 and cost-effective M300XL. All models are rich in features, including nHD color displays, voice control, touchpad navigation, three-axis gyroscope integrated head-tracking, 64GB internal flash memory, and left or right eye use. The M4000 uses the M400 as a foundation with the addition of the Waveguide optics enabling see-through displays.

How is it doing:

Vuzix has continued its busy progress in 2021, inking a plethora of deals involving its smart glasses within a number of industries.

In a letter to shareholders on June 20, Vuzix  CEO Paul Travers called the smart glasses and augmented reality company’s product lineup "among the most competitive in the world". The CEO highlighted a number of recent operating milestones that the company had hit as it sees larger adoption of its smart glasses in the telemedicine, logistics and industrial sectors.

Some of the milestones covered in the letter included record Smart Glasses sales in 2020, followed by 1Q 2021 record sales; a strengthened balance sheet of around $145 million in cash and equivalents, and expanded OEM engagements in new industries like aerospace, defense and medicine.

Vuzix's latest news, on July 29, was the announcement of the establishment of an Integrated Solutions Business Unit within the company and the appointment of Pano Spiliotis as managing director of the newly created unit.

Spiliotis will oversee the acceleration of Vuzix' Smart Glasses in enterprise-focused solutions including the company's ongoing software and service subscriptions. He has strong experience in the high-tech electro-optical field. His areas of expertise include business and software development and the development of strategic partnership alliances with Fortune 500 companies.

From 2006 to March 2019, Spiliotis was the co-founder and CEO of FluxData Inc, where he created a new factory automation business for inline color measurement services. His company was acquired in 2017 by Halma, a leading safety, health, and environmental technology group based in the United Kingdom, after it had achieved $35 million in sales with a 90% gross margin and 50% EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization margin in its last four years of operation before being bought out.

Earlier in the month, on July 26, Vuzix revealed that it had struck a distribution agreement with UK-based MPH Group, which will strengthen the tech company's presence in Europe and the UK. MPH, which has already placed a volume purchase order for Vuzix Smart Glasses, distributes game-changing and highly immersive technologies that involve augmented reality (AR), virtual reality and IoT (Internet of Things) solutions. It serves customers in the healthcare, energy, automotive, telecommunications, defense, construction and manufacturing sectors.

On the order front, in June, Vuzix announced that machinery giant John Deere & Company (NYSE:DE) had deployed the company's M400 Smart Glasses in Brazil through local Vuzix distributor Totalpower. Vuzix M400 Smart Glasses allows John Deere machine operators to be more operationally proficient, the company said, thus increasing their productivity. Also, operators are able to conduct faster and more precise inspections for system maintenance, reporting the status of machinery in real-time simply by tapping the touchpad on the glasses.

Then on July 20, Vuzix announced a new order from Canadian company TeleVU Innovation for its M400 Smart Glasses. TeleVU is a supplier of user-friendly communications solutions for smart glasses that enable an audio-visual link between frontline clinicians and remote experts. According to Vuzix, the TeleVU solution consists of iSee, the support portal app, and smart glasses equipped with the uSee app, which enables remote medical assistance.

TeleVU is working with healthcare providers to supply M400 Smart Glasses bundled with the iSee and uSee apps. Vuzix noted that it had recently inked a re-seller agreement with TeleVU to sell combined solutions to customers in Canada and the US. It will also partner with TeleVU to demonstrate the collaboration at the upcoming HIMSS conference in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, at the end of May, Vuzix said it had received new orders from Rods & Cones, a provider of a fully virtual surgical collaboration platform, for monthly deliveries of Vuzix M400 Smart Glasses beginning immediately and over the remainder of 2021. The orders, valued in excess of EUR1 million (more than US$1.2 million), will support optimized remote interactions between surgeons and experts in the operating theatre using Vuzix smart glasses, the company said.

Staying on the medical front, in June, Vuzix announced its market expansion to support the NextAR surgical AR platform developed by Medacta International, one of the world’s largest providers of orthopedic products. Having used the Vuzix Blade to complete the first smart glasses-based total knee replacement in the US in 2020, Medacta recently received its CE marking for knee, shoulder, and spine applications for its NextAR Augmented Reality Surgical Platform in Europe. A CE Mark indicates that a product fulfills the requirements of relevant European product directives. In addition, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also cleared the platform’s shoulder application.

And on June 28, Vuzix said that in collaboration with surgical training nonprofit Ohana One, the virtual Surgical Sight Smart Glasses program for the NGO community is now live in 35 countries. The Surgical Sight program, which was formally launched in October 2020 by Ohana One, utilizes Vuzix Smart Glasses and Help Lightning software to connect surgical mentors with surgeons in developing areas around the globe to boost training in surgery.

As of June 2021, the company said, 835 calls had been placed over Vuzix Smart Glasses which were used to connect more than 100 surgeons across five specialty areas including neurosurgeons, general and colorectal surgeons, adult and pediatric orthopedic surgeons, and plastic and reconstructive surgeons.

On the financial front, on May 11, Vuzix posted first-quarter results for the three months ended March 31, 2021, which revealed record smart glasses sales of $3.8 million. Total glasses sales easily more than doubled from $1.4 million in the first quarter of 2020, and gross profit improved to nearly $1.1 million from $81,000. Its net loss was $6.6 million or $0.12 loss per share, compared to a loss of $5.9 million or $0.18 loss per share, a year earlier. Vuzix ended the period with about $145 million in cash on hand, thanks to warrant exercises in the quarter.

And in a boost for shareholders, on June 9, Vuzix revealed that it was going to be included in the Russell 2000 and 3000 Indexes at the end of June. The Russell Indexes collectively comprise 4,000 of the largest US stocks ranked by total market capitalization. FTSE Russell determines membership for its Russell indexes primarily by objective, market capitalization rankings and other attributes.

Membership in the US all-cap Russell 3000 Index, which remains in place for one year, means automatic inclusion in the large-cap Russell 1000 Index or small-cap Russell 2000 Index as well as the appropriate growth and value style indexes.

Inflection points:

  • Continued acceleration of its business in healthcare, manufacturing and field service
  • Utilizing $145 million in cash to fund projected growth, planned product development and potential strategic initiatives

What the boss says:

In June's shareholders' letter, Vuzix CEO Paul Travers said: "Our global customer base continues to expand across enterprise, healthcare, and OEM customers."

He added: “(Our) revenues have been steadily growing; we have critical IP in the key AR smart glasses areas of waveguides, small projection engines, holograms, and microLED displays; and we now have sufficient cash to fully execute on our business plan.”

Contact the author at jon.hopkins@proactiveinvestors.com

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