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DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Part III of this Form 10-K incorporates by reference portions of the registrant’s proxy statement for its 2021 annual meeting of stockholders.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
This annual report includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on our management’s beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to our management. The forward-looking statements are contained principally under the headings “Risk Factors,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and “Business.” Forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K include, but are not limited to, statements concerning:
|●||trends in our operating expenses, including personnel costs, research and development expense, sales and marketing expense, and general and administrative expense;|
|●||the effect of competitors and competition in our markets;|
|●||our wearable display products and their market acceptance and future potential;|
|●||our ability to develop, timely introduce and effectively manage the introduction of new products and services or improve our existing products and services;|
|●||expected technological advances by us or by third parties and our ability to leverage them;|
|●||our ability to attract and retain customers;|
|●||our ability to accurately forecast demand and adequately manage inventory;|
|●||our ability to deliver an adequate supply of product to meet demand;|
|●||our ability to maintain and promote our brand and expand brand awareness;|
|●||our ability to detect, prevent, or fix defects in our products;|
|●||our reliance on third-party suppliers, contract manufacturers and logistics providers and our limited control over such parties;|
|●||trends in revenue, costs of revenue, and gross margin and our possible or assumed future results of operations;|
|●||our ability to attract and retain highly skilled employees;|
|●||the impact of foreign currency exchange rates;|
|●||the effect of future regulations;|
|●||the sufficiency of our existing cash and cash equivalent balances and cash flow from operations to meet our working capital and capital expenditure needs for at least the next 12 months; and|
|●||general market, political, economic and business conditions.|
All statements in this annual report that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. We may, in some cases, use terms such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “may,” “plans,” “potential,” “predicts,” “projects,” “should,” “will,” “would” or similar expressions that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes to identify forward-looking statements.
Forward-looking statements are made based on management’s beliefs, estimates and opinions on the date the statements are made and we undertake no obligation to update forward-looking statements if these beliefs, estimates and opinions or other circumstances should change, except as may be required by applicable law. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements.
Item 1. Business
We are engaged in the design, manufacture, marketing and sale of augmented reality wearable display and computing devices, also referred to as head mounted displays (or HMDs, but also known as near-eye displays), in the form of Smart Glasses and Augmented Reality (AR) glasses. Our AR wearable display devices are worn like eyeglasses or attach to a head worn mount. These devices typically include a wearable computer, cameras, and sensors that enable the user to view, record and interact with video and digital content, such as computer data, the Internet, enterprise data, social media or entertainment applications. Our wearable display products integrate micro-display technology with our advanced optics to produce compact high-resolution display engines, less than half an inch diagonally, which when viewed through our Smart Glasses and AR products create virtual images that appear comparable in size to that of a computer monitor or a large-screen television. This includes the representative forms such as augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR) and the areas interpolated among them. Extended reality (XR) is a term referring to all real-and-virtual combined environments. Our wearable display products cover the entire spectrum from "the complete real" to "the complete virtual" in the concept of reality–virtuality.
For AR glasses, historically, see-through HMDs displayed the real world using semi-transparent optics placed in front of the user’s eyes. VR users wore large goggles which sealed their view of the outside world. Both types of these HMDs were large and bulky and as a result, they had little mass-market appeal. We have developed thin optics, called waveguides, that are fully see-through and enable miniature display engines to be mounted in the temples of the HMD which allows the form factor of the Smart Glasses to be comparable to conventional eyeglasses. Our Smart Glasses and AR glasses are designed for all day use cases and are small enough to fit in a user’s pocket or purse.
We believe that our waveguide optics and display engines offer a number of significant advantages over other wearable display solutions, including higher contrast, greater power efficiency, less weight, more compact size, and high brightness images for use outdoors. We also believe that our waveguide optics give us a substantial advantage over competitors’ optics, including other waveguides, because our solution allows us to produce optics that are fully transparent when off while also delivering the high brightness required for AR and enterprise Smart Glasses applications.
We believe that key growth areas for us are the enterprise, medical, consumer electronics, OEM, defense and security markets. We are addressing most of these markets by developing and selling our own finished products and building a growing eco-system of software and services internally and with our value added resellers, or VARs, developers and end customers. Another potential channel to these markets we are developing includes supplying mass production of waveguide optics and display engines to select third parties to use in their products.
We believe that our waveguides and compact display engine technologies are a key differentiator for enabling next generation AR and Smart Glasses hardware for the enterprise and consumer segments because they will ultimately allow us to make HMDs nearly indistinguishable from regular eyeglasses.
We have developed our own intellectual property portfolio that includes patents, over 22 years of manufacturing know-how, software, proprietary processes, materials and equipment to create high performance waveguides, and near-eye display products. We believe our technology, intellectual property portfolio and position in the marketplace give us a leadership position in AR and Smart Glasses products and waveguide optics and display engine technology.
Historically, we have focused on three markets: the consumer markets for entertainment and mobile video; Smart Glasses products for enterprise; and rugged mobile displays for defense markets. We introduced our first HMD products over 22 years ago and we have offered numerous product models and versions with ever advancing features
and capabilities that have served the three markets. In June 2012, we sold the assets that produced products and provided services to military organizations and defense organizations, but effective October 2018, we renegotiated the exclusivity agreement with the company we sold our defense division to and, as a result, we have resumed marketing and sale initiatives directly into the defense and homeland security markets.
Our goal is to establish and maintain a leadership position as a worldwide supplier of wearable displays and computers including AR glasses and Smart Glasses solutions. In 2020, we began to offer and intend to continue to expand our offerings of hardware solutions with complementary suites of software solutions, including offerings from our VARs, focused across major markets, platforms and applications, thus delivering end-to-end solutions to our customers. We strive to be an innovator in designing wearable display devices that can enable enterprise productivity hands-free applications, mobile video viewing, general entertainment, social media, and most importantly, AR applications. We seek to generate revenue growth through the continued introduction of new AR Smart Glasses, accessories, and software applications and solutions.
To maintain and enhance our position as a leading provider of wearable display and computing products for AR and hands-free computing, we seek to:
|●||develop products based on our unique technology for both specialized and large enterprise and consumer markets, as well as defense and security;|
|●||develop a suite of software applications that can take advantage of our products, offering these solutions bundled with our hardware and through our “app store”;|
|●||sell our products or license our technology to third-party companies that would incorporate and sell them as a new product with their own brand name (OEM partners);|
|●||promote and enhance the development of third-party software that can take advantage of our products, including offering apps and software through our own “app store”;|
|●||extend our innovative and proprietary technology leadership;|
|●||enhance and protect our intellectual property portfolio;|
|●||broaden and develop strategic relationships and partnerships;|
|●||establish multiple revenue sources;|
|●||improve brand recognition;|
|●||provide excellent products and service; and|
|●||attract and retain highly qualified personnel.|
Our strategy is also to create a leadership position as a worldwide supplier of waveguide optics and near-eye display technology solutions for applications in high growth segments of the enterprise and consumer electronics industry by capitalizing on our experience and expertise in wearable displays and computers. We aim to provide waveguides, display engines and complementary optics to enable OEM customers to serve a variety of markets with new enhanced display electronic products. Some key elements of our OEM strategy to achieve these objectives include:
|●||strengthening our technology leadership;|
|●||optimizing waveguide manufacturing efficiencies while protecting proprietary processes;|
|●||developing OEM and mass production partnerships in the AR Smart Glasses market; and|
|●||leveraging technology and marketing strategic relationships with third parties.|
The wireless, IT, and entertainment industries have evolved considerably and continue to do so. The mobile phone has evolved into a ubiquitous, location-aware, smart mobile computing device. Mobile technology is redefining the way people interact with their world, both at work and play, and it has become an essential lifestyle management and entertainment tool personalized to users’ unique needs. We believe that interactive AR content, AI, Edge Computing, and speech-based cloud services will significantly change the way mobile computing devices are used and how content
is delivered to the user, including by enabling new experiences that cannot be experienced in any other way. We believe head-worn displays that are hands-free can connect the digital world to the real world and have the ability to change the future of the computing industry.
Current mobile display technology is almost universally based on direct view screens. These displays are designed to be handheld and small to make portability easy. Our products provide hands-free virtual large screens that are interactive and fit into eyeglass form factors. VR-based head-worn displays block out surroundings for a fully immersive experience. AR-based displays are designed to be "see-through" or "see-around" and allow the user to still see and interact with their surroundings. They may contain one (monocular) or two (binocular) displays.
Our business for the last five years has focused on enterprise and industrial markets and high-end (prosumer) mobile consumer markets. We believe the demand for head-worn displays in these markets is being driven by such factors and expectations as:
|●||an increasing number of “ready to go” hands-free enterprise, commercial and medical applications for which our products are well suited;|
|●||increasing demand for Internet, social media and cloud services’ access “anywhere, anytime”;|
|●||more users migrating a greater portion of their entertainment and information gathering time to mobile devices; and|
|●||the growing use of AR/XR applications that will drive the need for head-worn display solutions to replace the need to hold up handheld devices to use the applications.|
As a result, we believe that our near-eye display technologies can significantly increase user satisfaction and allow for widespread AR adoption and applications.
We offer smart wearable display and computing products that enable development and deployment of AR applications. AR Smart Glasses enable the wearer to see computer-generated information, graphics or images projected into the real-world environment or upon an object that the user is observing. Thus, whether in the warehouse, on the factory floor, or in the field, users wearing AR Smart Glasses may access a manual, tutorial, or image that is connected to the task at hand which will assist them in completing that task, while also viewing their current surroundings and nearby objects. Additional possible applications of AR-enabled Smart Glasses include hands-free alerts, messaging, location and context aware information and social interaction.
Our target markets and applications by major sector are:
Our Smart Glasses products are currently focused on the enterprise market, including sectors such as industrial and medical. These Smart Glasses products run native Android applications within the glasses that, for example, allow them to stream video in real-time, which is very useful for many enterprise applications. We believe that a wide variety of commercial and industrial markets offer significant opportunities for our products due to increasing demand for instant data accessibility in mobile workplace environments. The benefit of hands-free mobile displays and computers over a handheld device is significant. Most mobile workers need the use of their hands while working and having access to the information required while being hands free can significantly improve productivity over having their hands occupied with handheld devices like tablets or a phone. Our Smart Glasses are being used for numerous applications including: remote service video support, wearable computer displays, viewing of wireless sensor data, quality assurance, hands-free access to work instructions such as assembly check lists and manuals, in-the-field maintenance, warehouse pick and place, real-time viewing of remote images, and training and education. We have built an ecosystem of Value-Added Resellers (VARs or VIPs – Vuzix Integration Partners), established relationships with a growing number of system integrators, and have garnered infrastructure support from leading mobile device management companies.
Security and First Responders
Our Smart Glasses, particularly the Vuzix Blade® with its sunglasses look, have the potential to become disruptive and market changing products for security providers and first responders such as police and firefighters. We believe there are significant business opportunitfies in having the Vuzix Blade’s unique form factor assist law enforcement and security personnel in keeping people safe or identifying suspicious persons or those associated with unlawful activities. The ability to deliver video feeds and real-time facial recognition and weapons detection alerts in a covert fashion to a Blade wearer literally provides security personnel and first responders with eyes in the back of their heads, allowing them to view and interact with their immediate surroundings and also stay remotely connected and informed.
We believe that the most significant driver of longer-term wearable display market adoption will be the growing consumer demand for mobile access to ever larger volumes of information and entertainment content in smaller and wearable packages.
We also believe that augmentation of the real world with cloud-based information will change the future of computing and will result in broad adoption of AR smart glasses. This capability will allow smart phone users to be able to keep their phones in their pocket and at the same time still receive location-aware content overlaid with their real-world view. For example, while a user walks down the street, they could get directions and a Yelp score for the restaurant they are looking at or they could chase Pokemon Go game characters as if they were actually in the real world; all within the view of their smart glasses while leaving the phone in their pocket.
Waveguide Optics and Display Engines
As we manufacture our waveguides and display engines in higher volumes at reduced costs and capitalize on our waveguide manufacturing expertise, we believe that our products will be increasingly well-positioned to compete with other see-through optics and displays, particularly as demand expands for sophisticated mobile computing devices offering higher resolution and better image quality for AR/XR and Smart Glasses applications. We believe our waveguide and display engine technology addresses the critical performance parameters for next generation AR products, including higher brightness, sharper resolution, true see-through capabilities, compact size, lower power consumption and longer life.
We produce and sell AR Smart Glasses for a variety of enterprise, commercial, and prosumer uses and applications. Our products are available with varying features and are currently offered as monocular display systems.
Our AR Smart Glasses are an intelligent wearable computing system specifically designed to enable computing and connecting AR cloud/internet of things information and AI to the real world. The embedded cameras in our Smart Glasses are used for recording and/or seeing the real world. Input and control of our smart glasses consist of using the wirelessly connected smartphone, speech recognition voice control, a series of built in sensors for head motion and in some cases gesture sensors. We are building an ecosystem of developers around these smart glasses and anticipate that most of the software being developed will be usable on future generations of our smart glasses. Cloud or internet-connected applications for our Smart Glasses are being created for manufacturing, medical, field maintenance and repair, training, gaming and social media uses.
Our current products include:
M300XL, M400 and M4000 Smart Glasses (M series)
The M400 and M4000 (the current “M series”) products are our monocular smart glasses designed for enterprise, industrial, commercial and medical markets. The M400 is Vuzix’ work-horse Smart Glasses offering with its
enhanced capabilities. This product began commercial production in September 2019 and the M4000 was introduced to the market and entered mass production in September 2020. The M400 is equipped with an occluded nHD OLED display and the M4000 employs our latest see-through waveguide optics with a WVGA DMD display. These two products include an Android-based wearable computer similar in performance to a modern smart phone, enhanced with a wearable monocular display and wireless connectivity capabilities. These Smart Glasses serve up the digital world “hands-free”, offering access to information to augument the real world, data collection and more. Monocular products, due to their single eye display, are best used for push notifications and “information snacking”. An integrated head tracking, camera, touchpad, buttons and speech recognition gives versatility to navigate and use these M-series Smart Glasses in almost any environment. These products include pre-installed apps that can be used to record and playback still pictures and video, track timed events, manage a user’s calendar, link to a phone, scan barcodes and much more. These products can provide enhancements to existing workflows and open new opportunities in industrial, medical, retail, supply chain, remote help desk, and many more aspects of our customers’ businesses.
The M4000 offers all the performance and functionality of the M400, and features Vuzix’ proprietary waveguide optics to provide a completely non-occluded, see-through, heads-up display, along with reduced sizing.
Vuzix Blade® Smart Glasses
We introduced the Blade Smart Glasses as a monocular system at CES 2018. Blade Upgraded, which entered mass production in the second half of 2020, adds stereo audio and an autofocus camera. We believe the Vuzix Blade is the natural evolution of AR smart glasses providing the user with a wide range of features and capabilities in a natural glasses form factor. The display imagery is projected visually out in front of the user like the heads up display in a car, current applications range from basic text messaging and answering the phone to overlaying mapping directions, menus, weather, events, stock quotes, video conferencing, sports updates, social feeds, biometrics and much more. The intuitive and feature packed Vuzix Blade OS allows the user to simply and intuitively navigate via simple swipes and taps, or leverage voice controls and external AI systems. This allows users to leave their phones in their pockets for most functions and adds the ability to connect the information being presented to the real world, including that from cloud-based speech AI platforms such as Amazon Alexa. We believe the Blade Smart Glasses is the first natural step to replacing the smart phone with a ubiquitous wearable device for all.
Other AR Products
We are currently developing binocular Next Generation Smart Glases and new AR Smart Glasses product with 3D, stereo cameras, and 3D camera vision capabilities that we expect to introduce to the market late in calendar year 2021. Future AR Smart Glasses versions will include increased resolutions and fields of view, more powerful computers, MicroLED displays and our thin waveguide see-through optics. AR wearable displays provide the user a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are “augmented” by computer generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. Such systems also contain head tracking technology, which enables the user to look around the environment being viewed by moving his or her head which in turn sends that information back to the computer, which then adjusts the computer-generated AR image accordingly.
Applications for Smart Glasses
Dozens of standard applications that are optimized for use with the growing lineup of Vuzix AR Smart Glasses are included on the devices and available for download from the Vuzix App Store. Many of these applications are similar to what is available to the customer with modern smart phones. These standard applications are designed to be simple to get started and easy to use, and we believe can immediately provide the fundamental benefits of Smart Glasses to novice and expert users alike.
Vuzix also resells a variety of other applications, including Vuzix Remote Assist (VRA), which provides remote telepresence capabilities, otherwise known as “see-what-I-see” video collaboration. VRA enables an operator, mechanic, field technician or consultant to communicate in a hands-free manner with a remote expert to drive “just in time” video support of a process or repair. VRA increases productivity and customer satisfaction by sharing information between field technicians and remote support experts. It enables Vuzix Smart Glasses customers to multiply their expert
workforce, eliminate the high costs of travel, improve customer service levels and equipment operation and accelerate knowledge transfer and training. We are offering the VRA app on a monthly or one-year subscription basis. We are also developing “connector” applications to enable third party applications like Zoom, Skype for Business, Cisco WebEx, Microsoft Teams, and others, for use with our smart glasses. These applications in some cases will be free to the user and in others we will charge annual fees.
Vuzix’ position as a Smart Glasses supplier fills a market need that can be long lasting and could be the basis of the future of computing if the glasses are developed into a much larger integration within current and future technology ecosystems. The idea that the Smart Glasses alone will lead to major innovations and use cases is a typical “chicken and egg scenario” that has been played out in almost every technology advancement. The “build it and they will come” mentality works only when you build the “whole thing” or if you have a large enough ecosystem. Vuzix’ Smart Glasses have all the features and benefits consumers expect of a modern tablet or smart phone with the added benefit of being worn ergonomically on your head and at the same time connecting the visuals in the glasses to the real world. The steady advances in the Smart Glasses hardware are impressive but this alone is not what is driving market adoption to date. The “whole thing” is the solution to solve the customer pain point, problems and/or inefficiencies or creates a toolbox that allows for new innovations or products.
There are two types of customers for our AR Smart Glasses products: those that know they need smart glasses and those that have no idea what they would do with them. Vuzix is uniquely positioned to fulfill the needs of both. Vuzix is gaining major market awareness and has the opportunity to move up the value chain, increase market share and create a sustainable higher software subscription margin business by:
|●||Properly implementing a digital solution strategy that retains more of the customer relationship across a wide range of industries; and|
|●||Improving Vuzix’s participation in more areas of the customer relationship and having less reliance on VARs to deliver the full solution. When VARs are heavily involved in the middle of the relationship, Vuzix is primarily relegated to being only a product manufacturer and seller. There is significant customer value that can be captured by adopting a solutions model including recurring revenue opportunities.|
Thus, we believe the current Vuzix developer model creates a somewhat non-standardized experience in applications and has allowed third parties too much influence in controlling the Vuzix brand and customer experience in the marketplace. Our new and more unified, best-practices approach should create a higher expectation and brand experience for Vuzix in the market.
Today many successful technology companies also have a strong digital subscription model that allows recurring revenue with modest additional costs. This is often referred to as ecosystems, consisting of hardware and software with strong developer communities. The current developer model at Vuzix lends itself to the majority of the developers building siloed apps, meaning their apps are mostly developed on what the company thought was needed by the use case or the customer and may have not taken into consideration an existing workflow within ERP/MRP/CRMs, IT architecture, IT security needs and regulatory compliance for specific verticals. Many of our available smart glasses apps are just that, apps, and not a cohesive, fully integrated solution. This has led to a wide continuum of user experiences, including negative ones if the app has not been developed well, thus impacting Vuzix’ brand in the market. Vuzix intends to address as many of these issues as possible and expand our efforts both internally with our own software but also in assisting our third party developers.
App Store for Smart Glasses
We also have an App Store on our website where users can download and purchase Smart Glasses applications, including third-party apps. We continue to foster the development of an ecosystem of third-party developers to offer applications and trials for their smart glasses apps and many will be sold on an industry common revenue share model, with the publisher receiving approximately 70% of the subscriptions collected. Supported by Vuzix’ new App Store, developers can offer or sell their applications to all Vuzix Smart Glasses users, expanding into an ecosystem of AR applications for real world use today. The App store supports free, onetime fee, and paid subscription monetization
models. The Vuzix third-party developer community is able to leverage the open Android platform of the Vuzix M-Series and the Vuzix Blade to bring new and creative ideas to life.
Waveguide Optics and Design Reference Kits
We selectively offer waveguide optics and related coupling optics combined with our compact proprietary display engine to form a see-through display module. We sell limited numbers of our waveguide optic design reference kits to select qualified potential OEMs/ODMs, which include a projector, waveguide optics and associated electronics, to help these customers evaluate our technologies and to assist their efforts to build and test new products incorporating our proprietary solutions.
Our strategy for addressing the broader mass market includes developing partnerships with both select consumer companies, including wireless communications carriers, and select high volume production manufacturing companies.
Custom Solutions and Engineering Solutions
We have in the past provided fully integrated wearable display systems, including head mounted displays, human computer interface devices, near-eye display-related engineering services and wearable computers to commercial, industrial and defense customers. As a result of the sale of our defense division in June 2012, we were precluded from pursuing general engineering services work with defense or security organizations. However, in October 2018, we signed an amendment to our agreement with the purchaser of our defense division that now allows us to sell our products to defense and security organizations, including business customers and governmental entity customers that primarily provide security and defense services. Such potential customers include police, fire fighters, EMTs, other first responders, and homeland and border security.
In February 2017, we entered into a development agreement with Toshiba to create a customized Window-based USB-C Type C AR Smart Glasses offering for Toshiba, which is a derivative product of the Vuzix M300 Smart Glasses. With the recent purchase of Toshiba’s computer division by Sharp (Foxconn) in 2019, further commercial orders have ceased and we have no short-term expectation of further orders.
In the first quarter of 2020, we opened a new outward facing section of our website dedicated to offering our OEM and engineering services around our waveguides and display technology. Waveguides require a display engine built for the purpose of the intended design. Vuzix is able to address most of these design specifications regardless of size, light coupling, power consumption, or resolution.
Defense and Security Products
As noted above, in early October 2018, we amended the 10-year non-compete restrictions with the buyer of our former defense division, TDG Acquisition LLC (DBA – Six15 Technologies (“Six15”). This amendment allows us to pursue opportunities related to the Company’s smart glasses and waveguide optics technologies into these expanded market opportunities related to first responders, US Department of Defense, Security Organizations and the Military. Vuzix is now permitted to perform contract work with and sell its waveguide optics and display engines to the largest third-party defense suppliers around the world who wish to incorporate Vuzix near-eye display or HMD technologies into the products and systems that they sell to Military Organizations.
We believe that the continued introduction of new products in our target markets is essential to our growth. Our products tend to have two to three-year life cycles. We have assembled a group of highly skilled engineers who work internally as well as with external consultants to continue our product development efforts. Our primary development efforts are focused on waveguide optics (and their manufacture), projection engines, new micro-display technologies, low-power electronic designs, firmware and wearable computing software, and the design and ergonomics of wearable displays. Our display product development efforts are focused towards continually enhancing the resolution,
performance and manufacturability of our display products. We expect to increase our research and development expenditures in the future and as our revenues grow. We have also acquired and licensed technologies developed by third parties and we may continue to do so in the future.
We believe that it is important to make substantial investments in research and development to maintain our competitive advantage. The development and procurement of intellectual property rights relating to our technologies is a key aspect of our business strategy. We believe that it is now technologically feasible to improve upon the weight, ergonomics, optical performance, see-through capabilities, luminance, power efficiency, compactness, field-of-view and resolution of the current generation of virtual displays and display components. “Early technology adopters” and “prosumer” consumers have been the majority of the purchasers of our wearable display and computing products to date and similarly within the enterprise customer base for our Smart Glasses. We expect to continue to improve our products through our ongoing research and development and advancements made by our third-party suppliers of key components.
We believe that the range of our proprietary technologies gives us a significant competitive advantage. Our technologies relate to advanced optics systems including passive and active see-through imaging waveguides, micro-projection display engines, high resolution scanning displays, and specialized software drivers and applications for wearable displays and computers. We also have a portfolio of trade secrets and expertise in nano-imprinting using quartz mold substrates, nano structure embossing, and engineering tool-sets for the design and manufacturing of diffractive waveguide optics. We are also performing research and development work on laser-based engines to drive scanned images into holograms, with the goal of such systems to offer next generation waveguides capable of 100 plus degree fields-of-view.
We believe that display engines are also important for commercializing wearable displays. We have developed a proprietary micro digital light processing (DLP) based engines and are working on microLED engines designed specifically for our waveguide optics solutions. We are currently working with multiple partners on the microLED arena and have demonstration systems that we have begun showing confidentially to select partners. These next generation waveguides and display engines have already allowed us to shrink the entire assembly to fit in the space available in a typical off-the-shelf pair of sports sunglasses.
We entered into a technology license agreement with Nokia Corporation in August 2011 for their Exit Pupil Expanding (EPE) optics technology. This agreement was amended in October 2017 to allow us greater flexibility with sub-licensing and preferable royalty terms. EPE technology is an important foundation of our diffraction-based waveguide optics technology.
In October 2017, we acquired certain IP and patent applications from the inventor/seller related to holographic optics and display engines for “image and wave field projection through a diffusive media”. This technology is still in active development and we are making progress towards our first functional solution.
Major technologies that we employ in our products include:
Micro-display Optics: Optical components represent a significant cost of goods for both us and our competitors. This cost is a function of the physical size of the micro-display and the cost of the supporting optics. We have developed thin and lightweight optics that can be integrated with very small micro-displays that we can more closely match conventional eyewear frames in size and weight. These new optics and displays provide what we believe are significantly improved ergonomics compared to competing wearable display solutions.
See-Through Waveguides: We have developed a range of patents and patents pending around our see-through waveguides, passive, dynamic and diffractive optics-based waveguides that are the basis for some of our future slim wearable display AR and smart glasses products. We are striving to develop ultra-compact micro-display engines to magnify and focus the light from a display into a user’s eye. Our development goal with these waveguides is to create AR-based wearable displays that will appear to others as practically indistinguishable from today’s conventional sunglasses by most every measure, including comfort, size, weight and ergonomics.
Nanoimprinting: We continue to develop a portfolio of trade secrets and expertise in nanoimprinting for use in our waveguide optics. We believe these technologies are essential to the production of our approximately 1.2 mm thick see-through lenses which we believe are the cornerstone to making fashionable eyeglass-styled Smart Glasses. We have developed technology for waveguide design and production, including: tool design and creation, custom designed software for grating structures and layout, lithography processes, high index low shrinkage polymers and other materials, mold treatments, automation equipment and test/QA processes and procedures, to name a few.
Custom Display Engines: We have patents and patents pending on intellectual property around micro DLP display engines. We are also working on laser modulated and MicroLED engines designed specifically for our waveguide optics solutions. We are currently working with multiple partners on MicroLED engines and have demonstration systems that we have begun showing confidentially to select partners and potential OEM customers. We are also performing research and development work on laser-based engines to drive scanned images into holograms, with the goal of such systems to offer next generation waveguides capable of 100 plus degree fields-of-view.
Patents and other Intellectual Property
We have an intellectual property policy which has as its objectives: (i) the development of new intellectual property to further our intellectual property position in relation to personal display technology; and (ii) the maintenance and protection of our valuable trade secrets and know-how. We seek to achieve these objectives through the education and training of our engineering staff and the adoption of appropriate systems, policies and procedures for the creation, identification and protection of intellectual property.
Our general practice is to file patent applications for our technology in the United States, Europe, Japan, and in additional countries, including Canada and China for inventions which we believe have the greatest potential. We file and prosecute our patent applications in pursuit of the most extensive fields of protection possible including, where appropriate, the application of the relevant technology to the broader display industry.
We believe that our intellectual property portfolio, coupled with our supplier relationships and accumulated experience in the near-eye display field, gives us an advantage over potential competitors. We also believe our copyrights, trademarks, and patents are critical to our success and we intend to maintain and protect these. We also rely on proprietary technology, trade secrets, and know-how, including manufacturing processes and procedures, which are not patented. To protect our rights in these areas, we require all employees and, where appropriate, contractors, consultants, advisors and collaborators, to enter into confidentiality, invention assignment and non-competition agreements with us.
Our technologies enable us to provide low-cost, small form factor, high-resolution wearable display products. To protect our technologies, we have developed a patent portfolio which currently consists of 88 issued U.S. and foreign patents and 96 pending U.S. and foreign patent applications. We are also currently preparing several invention disclosures for the purposes of submitting design and utility patent applications. Our U.S. and foreign patents expire on various dates to July 6, 2041. In addition, in connection with the sale of our defense division in 2012, we received a worldwide, royalty-free, assignable grant-back license to all the patents and other intellectual property sold for use in the manufacture and sale of products in the consumer markets.
In addition to our various patents, we have 7 registered U.S. trademarks and 53 trademark registrations worldwide.
The near-eye wearable computer or personal display and mobile device industry in which we operate is highly competitive and evolving rapidly. We compete against both direct view display technology in smart phones and tablets and wearable display technology. We believe that the principal competitive factors in the personal display industry include image size, image quality, image resolution, power efficiency, manufacturing cost, weight and dimension, feature implementation, AR capabilities, ergonomics, style, hands free capabilities and, finally, the interactive capabilities of the overall display system.
Aside from direct view displays, we also have competitors who produce near-eye personal displays or wearable displays. For the past decade, most of these products were mainly low-resolution, bulky in size, ergonomically deficient, costly, and heavy in their power requirements.
Competition – Binocular Wearable Display Products
Vuzix AR Smart Glasses competitors include binocular wearable displays and virtual reality systems, using micro-displays. Examples of such companies include or have included Carl Zeiss, Seiko Epson (Epson), Sony Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Avegant Corp., Osterhout Design Group (ODG), Oculus/Facebook, HTC Corporation, Razer Inc. and many others. Many of these firms have discontinued their efforts while others have introduced VR viewers themselves such as HTC, HP and Lenovo. We believe these competitive products have received limited customer acceptance due to their being bulky and having non-user-friendly designs. Other companies that have stated their intention to enter this market when their product development is complete with either finished products or components with optics and display engines are Lumus, WaveOptics, Digilens, and Microvision Corporation.
As an alternative to micro-display-based head worn display systems, most manufacturers have moved to using larger display panels that are typically found in smart phones. Enhanced versions of these VR goggles along with systems possessing improved performance and reduced pricing have been regularly introduced by many of these firms and others, including new models which do not have to be connected with a PC to operate. Facebook’s Oculus group has been a recent leader with these models.
Additionally, numerous manufacturers offer head worn goggle attachments for smart phones that are designed to be used for VR applications. These devices contain simple optics that allow the user to insert their smart phone into the device and view their phone screen very close to their eyes and can offer an inexpensive way for owners of compatible smart phones to experience virtual reality. While inexpensive, we believe all these units are very bulky relative to the wearer’s head, offer limited, but improving resolution to each eye, and often have less than clear optical performance across their viewing area. We expect that, as the market grows and matures and as the technology becomes more refined, more companies may compete with us.
Competition – AR Glasses
In the AR markets, there are currently few competitors with most of this market currently aimed at the high-end and research markets. Companies that have offered or are offering products or intending to do so in this area include Microsoft Corporation, Meta, Sony Corporation, Epson, Atheer, Inc., DAQRI, Magic Leap, ODG, Nreal and CastAR. Today many of these products are fairly bulky and tethered to an external controller. Many are being sold as AR Smart Glasses and are currently targeted at enterprise and academic researchers. The most complete and functional systems today are the Microsoft Hololens II and the Magic Leap One, both of which cost $2,295 - $3,500 per unit.
Further, industry bloggers have speculated that companies such as Apple, Google, and Oculus/Facebook may offer or support AR wearable display products in the future, but to date, no specific product launch details have been officially announced.
Competition – Monocular Smart Glasses and Wearable Display Products
Although several companies produce monocular wearable displays, we believe that sales of their products have been limited. To date, the market opportunity for monocular products other than night vision products has been limited primarily to trial tests and smaller rollouts in enterprise markets rather than broad commercial volume purchases. Competitors in these markets include or have included: Liteye Systems, Inc., Lumus, Shimadzu Corporation, Sony Corporation, Kopin Corporation, Zebra Technologies (inclusive of the business unit formerly part of Motorola), Creative Display Systems, Brother, Google, Garmin, BAE Systems, Six-15 Technologies, LLC (the purchaser of our defense division), Lenovo, Optinvent, RealWear, Focals by North, and Rockwell Collins.
Google’s wearable display device, named Google Glass, was a headset product with similar form and function to our M100 Smart Glasses. Google introduced the Google Glass 2 for Enterprise in 2019 with sales originally restricted to software and system integrators.
Several Japanese electronics companies including Hitachi, Murata Manufacturing Co., Sony Corporation, WESTUNITIS, and Olympus have or had announced monocular smart glasses systems for industry and many have exited the business over the last two years. There are also several Chinese based companies that have been showing monocular smart glasses products, including Lenovo but their sales activities thus far have been somewhat limited and focused on Asia. We expect that we will encounter competition in the future from major consumer electronics companies and suppliers of imaging and information products for defense applications.
There is competition in all types of products we manufacture, from both large and small companies. The principal points of competition for these products include, among other factors: price, product performance, the availability of supporting applications, and the experience and brand name of the particular company and history of its dealings in such products. We believe that our monocular products match or exceed the display products currently offered by our competitors.
Competition – Waveguides and Display Engines
There are a limited number of manufacturers of waveguide optics, all targeted at OEM producers of AR and smart glasses. Competitors to our waveguide products include Lumus, WaveOptics, Digilens, Optinvent and several others. Several new waveguide manufacturers from China have begun demonstrating their solutions at recent trade shows.
Sales and Marketing
Our strategy is to sell our products and components both directly and through distributors and value-added resellers (VARs – also referred to as Vuzix Integration Partners or VIPs), and on a select basis to OEMs. As a result, we have distinct strategies for the sales of our products.
In the Smart Glasses and AR markets, we are currently focused on the enterprise space and as such are building strategic marketing relationships with software firms to address and support enterprise customers. We are, in parallel, developing a VAR network with leading companies in various vertical markets from warehousing to field service to medical. As these VARs finish their value-added software and services offerings, we expect them to roll-out their finished solutions to their respective customer bases. Some VARs, after qualification, are being designated as a Vuzix Integration Partner or VIP. Such VIP partners gain early access to our new Smart Glasses hardware, receive first access to the initial commercial shipments, and get access to co-marketing support, discounts and more. We are also supporting select larger key accounts with our in-house direct sales team. For our Smart Glasses, we are also developing an ecosystem with application developers from around the world. We have introduced our own hosted application store where our Smart Glasses customers can download and purchase applications and software developer kits.
We currently sell our products internationally through resellers, direct to commercial customers, and via online stores and various Vuzix operated web stores in Europe and Japan. Our international focus is currently on Japan and the European Union (including the UK, the “EU”). In Japan, we have a branch sales and service office and a small warehouse in Tokyo. We employ two full-time staff in Japan. We have a wholly-owned subsidiary, Vuzix (Europe) Limited, through which we conduct our business in the EU and Middle Eastern markets. We maintain a small European sales office in Oxford, England that is staffed by full time sales consultants. For warehousing, we have contracted with a third-party fulfillment center based in the UK to service our customers in the EU. We also currently serve other APAC customers through a North American West Coast sales office.
For customer support for the Americas and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), we have contracted with a third-party end user technical support firm that provides 16 hours of customer and technical support daily.
We intend to primarily provide our waveguide and miniature display engine modules and optics components to select OEMs to incorporate into their branded products and sell through their own well-established distribution channels. An OEM/ODM design cycle typically requires between 6 and 24 months, depending on the uniqueness of the market, and the complexity of the end product. Because our waveguides and display engines are the main functional component that defines the imaging as well as look and feel of many of our potential OEM customers' end products, we intend to work closely with these customers to provide technical assistance throughout their product evaluation and any eventual integration process.
We believe that the technical nature of our potential OEM products such as waveguides and display projectors with micro-displays, demands close relationships with such customers. Our sales and marketing staff, assisted by our technical staff and senior management, visit prospective and existing customers worldwide on a regular basis. We believe these contacts are vital to the development of a close, long-term working relationship with our OEM customers, and in obtaining regular forecasts, market updates and information regarding technical and market trends. We also participate in industry specific trade shows and conferences.
Our marketing and sales group in conjunction with external firms is responsible for product management, planning, advertising, marketing communications, and public relations. We have both internal and external public relations efforts in the U.S. and UK. We also employ marketing firms to help prepare brochures, packaging, tradeshow messaging and advertising campaigns, focused on either the enterprise or consumer end markets. Most of our products are currently sold under the Vuzix brand name. We seek to have Vuzix become known as one of the premier suppliers of wearable display products for enterprise applications and AR smart glasses. We currently undertake specific marketing activities as needed, including, but not limited to:
|●||product reviews, case studies and promotions in trade publications;|
|●||case studies on successful enterprise uses of Smart Glasses and AR;|
|●||product and technology views for our website and social media;|
|●||internet and search engine advertising and targeted emails;|
|●||public relations; and|
|●||trade shows and event sponsorships.|
We engage in select marketing efforts that are intended to drive customers to our products and to grow awareness of our AR Smart Glasses and wearable displays in general. Public relations and product videos are an important aspect of our marketing and we intend to continue to distribute samples of our products to key industry participants. We intend to focus our marketing efforts for the next 12 months on:
|●||distinguishing our AR Smart Glasses products from current competitors and by offering products with superior performance and advanced optics relative to those of our competitors;|
|●||working with third-party software developers to support the unique capabilities of our new products; and|
|●||creating brand awareness with the press and general public of Vuzix and our products, with particular emphasis on our new forthcoming waveguide-based products.|
Our Smart Glasses are sold through valued-added resellers, direct to end customers, through our webstore and through a limited number of third party online stores, such as Amazon. Our website, www.vuzix.com, is an important part of our direct sales efforts.
Engineering Services and OEM Products
We primarily respond to sales inquiries for our engineering services programs and OEM component requests directly and usually in response to inbound inquiries. We do not offer “works for hire” services at Vuzix but rather offer our services to opportunities that could result in advancing our technology or end up in a long-term supply or OEM relationship. We believe we have established a strong reputation for quality, performance, and innovation for wearable near-eye display systems that will be attractive to many types of commercial users who want to leverage our services and products within their businesses. Our design and engineering staff are actively involved with customers during all phases of prototype design through production by providing engineering data, up-to-date product application notes, regular follow-up and technical assistance.
We continue to receive inbound requests for engagement related to our proprietary waveguide optics and miniature display engines from some of the world’s largest consumer and mobile electronics firms. Our business strategy is to commercialize our waveguide and display engine technologies and products to permit select ODMs and OEMs to integrate and embed our technologies and products in a way that best matches their unique capabilities and timeline for bringing their products to market. We now formally offer these solutions actively on our website.
We purchase product components from our suppliers, engage third-party contract manufacturing firms to perform electronic circuit board and cable assemblies, and now do the final assembly of our products primarily in our West Henrietta, New York based facility. From 2016 to the summer of 2019, we used primarily contract manufacturers in China to assemble our products. We are experienced in the successful production of our products in moderate volumes. Our current facilities are capable of tens of thousands of finished products in total annually, and we believe producing out of these facilities at these levels is more economical and easier to manage than through third parties. We also manufacture all our waveguide optics in our cleanroom environments at our West Henrietta, New York facility. We evaluate contract manufacturers and component suppliers on an ongoing basis, including whether or not to utilize new or alternative contract manufacturers or component suppliers. However, we also expect to manufacture all our waveguide optics only at our West Henrietta, New York facility.
We currently purchase almost all of the micro-displays used in our products from Sony Corporation and Texas Instruments. Our relationship with these micro-display suppliers is generally on a purchase order basis and none have a contractual obligation to provide adequate supply or acceptable pricing to us on a long-term basis, nor do we have any contractual obligation to purchase micro-displays from them. We have operated this way for over a decade with these suppliers. Our Cobra II display engine is based on our proprietary design and is exclusively manufactured for us by a firm in Asia and it incorporates a DLP engine from Texas Instruments. We generally procure our other non-micro-display components and products from our vendors on a purchase order basis without any long-term commitments. Many of the raw materials used in our components are standard to the consumer electronics and computer industry. We provide forecasts that allow our contract manufacturers to stock component parts and other materials and plan capacity. Our contract manufacturers procure raw materials in volumes consistent with our forecasts, manufacture and/or assemble the products and perform tests according to our specifications. In some cases, we procure specific components and either sell them or consign them to our contract manufacturers. Products are either shipped to our customers or shipped to our West Henrietta, New York headquarters to be inventoried as finished goods. We currently use several manufacturing sources in Asia where we have located some of our tooling.
While we do not manufacture our components, other than waveguides, we own the tooling that is used to make our custom components. Some of our accessory products are sourced from third parties as finished goods. We typically have them print our Vuzix brand name on these products if they are co-branded. Such third-party products represented less than 5% of our sales in last three fiscal years.
Our manufacturing is not currently subject to seasonal variations, but in the future, depending upon our customers' product mix, we may be affected by seasonal fluctuations which could affect working capital demands.
We work with a third-party fulfillment partner in the EU that delivers our products to customers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, which allows us to reduce order fulfillment time, reduce shipping costs, and improve inventory flexibility.
There is a relatively short cycle between order and shipment of our sales. Most purchase orders we receive are subject to rescheduling or cancellation by the customer with no or limited penalties. In regard to sales of custom products and waveguides to our OEM customers, we believe that the backlog metric is of limited utility in predicting future sales because all these OEM customers operate on a ship-to-order basis. Therefore, we believe at this time that backlog information is not material to the understanding of our business.
As of March 15, 2021, we had 97 full-time employees in North America, of which 42 are in research and development and engineering services support. In Japan we have 2 full-time employees to manage our Asian sales activities. In England we have 2 full-time contractors to manage our European sales and marketing activities.
Information about Geographic Revenue
Information about geographic revenue is described in Note 17, “Geographic and Other Financial Information” in the notes to our consolidated financial statements.
History - Corporate
We were incorporated in Delaware in 1997 as VR Acquisition Corp. In 1997, we acquired substantially all of the assets of Forte Technologies, Inc. (Forte), which was engaged in the manufacture and sale of Virtual Reality headsets and the development of related technologies. Forte was originally owned and controlled by Kopin Corporation, one of our prior micro-display suppliers. Most of the technologies developed by Forte are now owned and used by us.
Reference in this report to “Vuzix”, the “Company”, “we,” “us,” “our” and similar words refer to Vuzix Corporation and its wholly-owned subsidiary.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
An investment in our securities involves a high degree of risk. An investor should carefully consider the risks described below, together with all of the other information included in this annual report, before making an investment decision. Our business, financial condition or results of operations could suffer as a result of these risks. In that case, the market value of our securities could decline, and an investor may lose all or part of his or her investment.
Summary of Risk Factors:
|●||We have incurred net losses since our inception and may continue to incur losses.|
|●||We operate in a highly competitive market and the size, resources and brand name of some of our competitors may allow them to compete more effectively than we can, which could result in a loss of our market share and a decrease in our revenue and profitability.|
|●||We depend on advances in technology by other companies and if those advances do not materialize, some of our anticipated new products could be delayed or cancelled.|
|●||Our products could infringe on the intellectual property rights of others.|
|●||If we lose our rights under our third-party technology licenses, our operations could be adversely affected.|
Risks Related to Our Business
We have incurred net losses since our inception and may continue to incur losses.
We reported a net loss of $17,952,172 for the year ended December 31, 2020, a net loss of $26,476,370 for the year ended December 31, 2019, and a net loss of $21,875,713 for the year ended December 31, 2018. We have an accumulated deficit of $162,694,983 as of December 31, 2020.
We may not achieve or maintain profitability in the future. We will need to increase sales in order to achieve and maintain profitability. In addition, we expect that our expenses relating to product development and research, sales and marketing, as well as our general and administrative costs, may increase as our business grows. If we do not achieve and maintain profitability, our financial condition will ultimately be materially and adversely affected and we would eventually be required to raise additional capital. We may not be able to raise any necessary capital on commercially reasonable terms or at all. If we fail to achieve or maintain profitability on a quarterly or annual basis within the timeframe expected by investors, the market price of our common stock may decline.
We operate in a highly competitive market and the size, resources and brand name of some of our competitors may allow them to compete more effectively than we can, which could result in a loss of our market share and a decrease in our revenue and profitability.
The market for head-worn display devices, including AR and Smart Glasses, is highly competitive. Further, we expect competition to intensify in the future as existing competitors introduce new and more competitive offerings alongside their existing products, and as new market entrants introduce new products into our markets. We compete against established, well-known diversified consumer electronics manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Corporation, LG Electronics (LGE), HTC, Lenovo, and large software and other products companies such as Alphabet Inc. (Google), Microsoft Corporation, Facebook and Snap. Many of our current competitors have substantial market share, diversified product lines, well-established supply and distribution systems, strong worldwide brand recognition and greater financial, marketing, research and development and other resources than we do. In addition, many of our existing and potential competitors enjoy substantial competitive advantages, such as:
|●||longer operating histories;|
|●||the capacity to leverage their sales efforts and marketing expenditures across a broader portfolio of products;|
|●||broader distribution and established relationships with channel partners;|
|●||access to larger established customer bases and known branding;|
|●||greater resources to fund research and development and to make acquisitions;|
|●||larger intellectual property portfolios; and|
|●||the ability to bundle competitive offerings with other products and services.|
Moreover, smartphones, tablets, and new wearable devices with ever growing larger video display screens, including foldable and expandable screens, and ever increasing computing power have significantly improved the mobile personal computing experience. In the future, the manufacturers of these devices, such as Apple Inc., Samsung, LGE, Lenovo, Fitbit, Google, Snap, Garmin, Facebook, Microsoft and others may design or develop products similar to ours. In addition to competition or potential competition from large, established companies, new companies may emerge and offer competitive products. Increased competition may result in pricing pressures and reduced profit margins and may impede our ability to increase the sales of our products, any of which could substantially harm our business and results of operations.
Our lack of long-term purchase orders and commitments from our customers may lead to a rapid decline in our sales.
All of our customers issue purchase orders solely at their own discretion, often shortly before the requested date of shipment. Our customers are generally able to cancel orders (without penalty) or delay the delivery of products on relatively short notice. In addition, our current customers may decide not to purchase products from us for any reason. If those customers do not continue to purchase our products, our sales volume could decline rapidly with little or no warning.
We cannot currently rely on long-term purchase orders or commitments to protect us from the negative financial effects of a decline in demand for our products. We typically plan our production and inventory levels based on internal forecasts of customer demand, which are highly unpredictable and can fluctuate substantially. Historically, our OEM customers are required to give us rolling forecasts and issue non-cancellable purchase orders but they have options to reschedule or pay cancellation fees. The uncertainty of product orders makes it difficult for us to forecast our sales and allocate our resources in a manner consistent with our actual sales. Moreover, our expense levels and the amounts we invest in capital equipment and new product development costs are based in part on our expectations of future sales and, if our expectations regarding future sales are inaccurate, we may be unable to reduce costs in a timely manner to adjust for sales shortfalls. As a result of our lack of long-term purchase orders and purchase commitments, we may experience a rapid decline in our sales.
As a result of these and other factors, investors should not rely on our revenues and our operating results for any one quarter or year as an indication of our future revenues or operating results. If our quarterly revenues or results of operations fall below expectations of investors or public market analysts, the price of our common stock could fall substantially.
If we do not effectively maintain and further develop our sales channels for our products, including developing and supporting our value added resellers (VARs), distributors and retail sales channels, our business could be harmed.
We depend upon effective sales channels to assist us in reaching the customers who are the ultimate purchasers of our Smart Glass and AR products. We primarily sell our products either from our in-house sales team directly to enterprise, medical and end users or through our website and VARs.
Our distributors, third-party online resellers and VARs generally offer products from several different manufacturers. Accordingly, we are at risk that these distributors, resellers and VARs may give higher priority to selling other companies’ products. If we were to lose the services of a distributor, online reseller or VAR, we might need to find another in that area, and there can be no assurance of our ability to do so in a timely manner or on favorable terms. Further, our resellers and distributors can at times build inventories in anticipation of future sales, and if such sales do not occur as rapidly as they anticipate, our resellers and distributors will decrease the size of their future product orders. We are also subject to the risks of our distributors, resellers and VARs encountering financial difficulties, which could impede their effectiveness and also expose us to financial risk if they are unable to pay for the products they purchase from us. Any reduction in sales by our current distributors or VARs, loss of key distributors and VARs or decrease in revenue from our distributors and VARs could adversely affect our revenue, operating results and financial condition.
Our products require ongoing research and development and we may experience technical problems or delays, which could lead our business to fail.
Our research and development efforts remain subject to all of the risks associated with the development of new products based on emerging and innovative technologies, including, for example, unexpected technical problems or the possible insufficiency of funds for completing development of these products. If we experience technical problems or delays, further improvements in our products and the introduction of future products could be adversely impacted, and we could incur significant additional expenses and our business may fail.
We depend on advances in technology by other companies and if those advances do not materialize, some of our anticipated new products could be delayed or cancelled.
We rely on and will continue to rely on technologies (including micro-displays, mobile computing electronics and operating systems) that are developed and produced by other companies. The commercial success of certain of our planned future products will depend in part on advances in these and other technologies by other companies. We may, from time to time, contract with and support companies developing key technologies in order to accelerate the development of them for our specific uses. Such activities might not result in useful technologies or components for us. We are attempting to mitigate this risk by exploring ways to develop our own micro-display technologies using LED, MicroLED and laser scanning displays, but there can be no assurance that we will be successful in doing so.
If micro-display-based personal or near-eye displays do not gain greater acceptance in the market for mobile displays, our business strategy may fail.
The mobile display market is dominated by displays larger than one-inch, most of which are based on direct view liquid crystal display, or LCD and organic light emitting display, or OLED technology. A number of companies have made and continue to make substantial investments in, and are conducting research to improve characteristics of, handheld direct view LCDs and OLED displays. Many of the leading manufacturers of these larger direct view LCDs, including LG Electronics, Royal Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Sony Corporation, HiMax, Omnivision, Citizen, and Sharp Corporation, are large, established companies with global marketing capabilities, widespread brand recognition and extensive financial resources. Advances in direct view LCD and OLED technology or other technologies, including foldable and stretchable displays may overcome their current market limitations and permit them to remain or become more attractive technologies for personal viewing applications, which could limit the potential market for our near-eye display and computing technology and cause our business strategy to fail.
It is difficult to assess or predict with any certainty the potential size, timing and viability of market opportunities for our micro-display-based AR Smart Glasses products or their level of market acceptance. Market acceptance of AR and Smart Glasses technology will depend, in part, upon end-user acceptance of near-to-eye displays and upon micro-display technology providing benefits comparable to or greater than those provided by alternative direct view display technology at a competitive price. Smart Glasses and AR products work best when used close to the eye, which may not be acceptable to consumers. Such acceptance may depend on the relative complexity, reliability, usefulness and cost-effectiveness of our near-eye display products compared to other display products available in the market or that may be developed by our competitors. In addition, our products are not designed for a shared experience amongst multiple viewers at the same time. Potential customers may be reluctant to adopt our Smart Glasses and AR
products because of concerns surrounding perceived risks relating to use and the fact that it is a new technology. Further, over half the world’s adult population needs some level of vision correction which adds complexities in the design and ergonomics of any AR Smart Glasses products. If end-users fail to accept near-to-eye displays in the numbers we anticipate or as soon as we anticipate, the sales of our Smart Glasses and AR products and our results of operations would be adversely affected and our business strategy may fail.
There are a number of competing providers of micro-display-based personal display technology, including smart glasses, and we may fail to capture a substantial portion of the personal wearable display market.
In addition to competing with direct view displays, we also compete with micro-display-based personal display technologies that have been developed by other companies. Our primary personal display competitors are or have included Carl Zeiss, Inc., Sony, Epson, Alphabet (Google), Brother International, 5DT Inc., eMagin Corporation, Facebook (Oculus), Avegant, Kopin Corporation, Magic Leap, Lenovo, Microsoft, HTC, MicroVision, Inc., Lumus Ltd., Kaiser Electro Optics Inc., Garmin, Optinvent, HTC Valve, LGE, N-Real, Epson, Zebra and Accupix of Korea. Numerous other start-up companies have announced their intentions to offer smart glasses and AR products and developer kits in the near future. Further, industry blogs have speculated that companies such as Apple may offer AR glasses in the near future.
Most of our competitors have greater financial, marketing, distribution and technical resources than we do. Moreover, our competitors may succeed in developing new micro-display-based personal display technologies and near-eye products that are more affordable or have more desirable features than our technology. If our products are unable to capture a reasonable portion of the smart wearable display market, our business strategy may fail.
Product quality issues and a higher-than-expected number of warranty claims or returns could harm our business and operating results.
The products that we sell could contain defects in design or manufacture. Defects could also occur in the products or components that are supplied to us. There can be no assurance we will be able to detect and remedy all defects in the hardware and software we sell, which could result in product recalls, product redesign efforts, loss of revenue, reputational damage and significant warranty and other remediation expenses. Similar to other mobile and consumer electronics, our products have a risk of overheating in the course of usage or upon malfunction. Any such defect could result in harm to property or in personal injury. If we determine that a product does not meet product quality standards or may contain a defect, the launch of such product could be delayed until we remedy the quality issue or defect. The costs associated with any protracted delay necessary to remedy a quality issue or defect in a new product could be substantial.
We generally provide a one-year warranty on all of our products, except in certain European countries where it can be two years if it is deemed a consumer-focused product. The occurrence of any material defects in our products could expose us to liability for damages and warranty claims in excess of our current reserves, and we could incur significant costs to correct any defects, warranty claims or other problems. In addition, if any of our product designs are defective or are alleged to be defective, we may be required to participate in a recall campaign. In part due to the terms of our warranty policy, any failure rate of our products that exceeds our expectations may result in unanticipated losses. Any negative publicity related to the perceived quality of our products could affect our brand image and decrease retailer, VAR, distributor and consumer confidence and demand, which could adversely affect our operating results and financial condition. Further, accidental damage coverage and extended warranties are regulated in the United States at the state level and are treated differently within each state. Additionally, outside of the United States, regulations for extended warranties and accidental damage vary from country to country. Changes in interpretation of the regulations concerning extended warranties and accidental damage coverage on a federal, state, local or international level may cause us to incur costs or have additional regulatory requirements to meet in the future in order to continue to offer our support services. Our failure to comply with past, present and future similar laws could result in reduced sales of our products, reputational damage, penalties and other sanctions, which could harm our business and financial condition.
Our products could likely experience declining unit prices and we may not be able to offset that decline with production cost decreases or higher unit sales.
In the markets in which we compete, prices of established consumer electronics displays, personal computers, and mobile products tend to decline significantly over time or as new enhanced versions are introduced, frequently every 12 to 24 months. In order to maintain adequate product profit margins over the long term, we believe that we will need to continuously develop product enhancements and new technologies that will either slow price declines of our products or reduce the cost of producing and delivering our products. While we anticipate many opportunities to reduce production costs over time, we may not be able to reduce our component costs. We expect to attempt to offset the anticipated decrease in our average selling price by introducing new products, increasing our sales volumes or adjusting our product mix. If we fail to do so, our results of operations will be materially and adversely affected.
Our products could infringe on the intellectual property rights of others.
Companies in the consumer electronics, wireless communications, semiconductor, IT and display industries steadfastly pursue and protect intellectual property rights, often times resulting in considerable and costly litigation to determine the validity of patents and claims by third parties of infringement of patents or other intellectual property rights. Our products could be found to infringe on the intellectual property rights of others. Other companies may hold or obtain patents or inventions or other proprietary rights in technology necessary for our business. Periodically, other companies inquire about our products and technology in their attempts to assess whether we violate their intellectual property rights. If we are forced to defend against infringement claims, we may face costly litigation, diversion of technical and management personnel, and product shipment delays, even if the allegations of infringement are unwarranted. If there is a successful claim of infringement against us and we are unable to develop non-infringing technology or license the infringed or similar technology on a timely basis, or if we are required to cease using one or more of our business or product names due to a successful trademark infringement claim against us, it could adversely affect our business.
Our intellectual property rights and proprietary rights may not adequately protect our products.
Our commercial success will depend substantially on our ability to obtain patents and other intellectual property rights and maintain adequate legal protection for our products in the United States and other countries. We will be able to protect our intellectual property from unauthorized use by third parties only to the extent that these assets are covered by valid and enforceable patents, trademarks, copyrights or other intellectual property rights, or are effectively maintained as trade secrets. As of the date of this filing, we have 88 issued U.S. and foreign patents and 96 pending U.S. and foreign patent applications. We apply for patents covering our products, services, technologies and designs, as we deem appropriate. We may fail to apply for patents on important products, services, technologies or designs in a timely fashion, or at all. We do not know whether any of our patent applications will result in the issuance of any patents. Even if patents are issued, they may not be sufficient to protect our products, services, technologies, or designs. Our existing and future patents may not be sufficiently broad to prevent others from developing competing products, services technologies, or designs. Intellectual property protection and patent rights outside of the United States are even less predictable. As a result, the validity and enforceability of patents cannot be predicted with certainty. Moreover, we cannot be certain whether:
|●||we were the first to conceive, reduce to practice, invent, or file the inventions covered by each of our issued patents and pending patent applications;|
|●||others will independently develop similar or alternative products, technologies, services or designs or duplicate any of our products, technologies, services or designs;|
|●||any patents issued to us will provide us with any competitive advantages, or will be challenged by third parties;|
|●||we will develop additional proprietary products, services, technologies or designs that are patentable; or|
|●||the patents of others will have an adverse effect on our business.|
The patents we own or license and those that may be issued to us in the future may be challenged, invalidated, rendered unenforceable or circumvented, and the rights granted under any issued patents may not provide us with proprietary protection or competitive advantages. Moreover, third parties could replicate our inventions in territories where we do not have patent protection or in territories where they could obtain a compulsory license to our technology where patented. Such third parties may then try to import products made using our inventions into the United States or other territories. We cannot ensure that any of our pending patent applications will result in issued patents, or even if issued, predict the breadth, validity and enforceability of the claims upheld in our and other companies’ patents.
Unauthorized parties may attempt to copy or otherwise use aspects of our processes and products that we regard as proprietary. Policing unauthorized use of our proprietary information and technology is difficult and can be costly, and our efforts to do so may not prevent misappropriation of our technologies. We may become engaged in litigation to protect or enforce our patent and other intellectual property rights or in International Trade Commission proceedings to abate the importation of goods that would compete unfairly with our products and, if unsuccessful, these actions could result in the loss of patent or other intellectual property rights protection for the key technologies on which our business strategy depends.
We rely in part on unpatented proprietary technology, and others may independently develop the same or similar technology or otherwise obtain access to our unpatented technology. We require employees, contractors, consultants, financial advisors, suppliers and strategic partners to enter into confidentiality and intellectual property assignment agreements (as appropriate), but these agreements may not provide sufficient protection for our trade secrets, know-how or other proprietary information.
The laws of certain countries do not protect intellectual property and proprietary rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States and, therefore, in certain jurisdictions, we may be unable to protect our products, services, technologies and designs adequately against unauthorized third-party copying, infringement or use, which could adversely affect our competitive position. To protect or enforce our intellectual property rights, we may initiate proceedings or litigation against third parties. Such proceedings or litigation may be necessary to protect our trade secrets or know-how, products, technologies, designs, brands, reputation, likeness, authorship works or other intellectual property rights. Such proceedings or litigation also may be necessary to determine the enforceability, scope and validity of the proprietary rights of others. Any proceedings or lawsuits that we initiate could be expensive, take significant time and divert management’s attention from other business concerns. Additionally, we may provoke third parties to assert claims against us, which could invalidate or narrow the scope of our own intellectual property rights. We may not prevail in any proceedings or lawsuits that we initiate and the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may be commercially valuable. The occurrence of any of these events may adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
We have registered and applied to register certain of our trademarks in several jurisdictions worldwide. In some jurisdictions where we have applied to register our trademarks, other applications or registrations exist for the same, similar or otherwise related products or services. If we are not successful in arguing that there is no likelihood of confusion between our marks and the marks that are the subject of the other applications or registrations owned by third parties, our applications may be denied, preventing us from obtaining trademark registrations and adequate protection for our marks in the relevant jurisdictions, which could impact our ability to build our brand identity and market our products and services in those jurisdictions. Whether or not our application is denied, third parties may claim that our trademarks infringe their rights. As a result, we could be forced to pay significant settlement costs or cease the use of these trademarks and associated elements of our brand in the United States or other jurisdictions.
Even in those jurisdictions where we are able to register our trademarks, competitors may adopt or apply to register similar trademarks to ours, may register domain names that mimic ours or incorporate our trademarks, or may purchase keywords that are identical or confusingly similar to our brand names as terms in Internet search engine advertising programs, which could impede our ability to build our brand identity and lead to confusion among potential customers of our products and services. If we are not successful in proving that we have prior rights in our marks and arguing that there is a likelihood of confusion between our marks and the marks of these third parties, our inability to
prevent these third parties from using such may negatively impact the strength, value and effectiveness of our brand names and our ability to market our products and prevent consumer confusion.
If we lose our rights under our third-party technology licenses, our operations could be adversely affected.
Our business depends in part on technology rights and software licensed from third parties. We could lose our exclusivity or other rights to use the technology under our licenses if we fail to comply with the terms and performance requirements of the licenses. In addition, certain licensors may terminate a license upon our breach and have the right to consent to sublicense arrangements. If we were to lose our rights under any of these licenses, or if we were unable to obtain required consents to future sublicenses, we could lose a competitive advantage in the market, and may even lose the ability to commercialize certain products or technologies completely. Either of these results could substantially decrease our revenues.
Our business depends in part on access to third-party platforms or technologies, and if the access is withdrawn, denied, or is not available on terms acceptable to us, or if the platforms or technologies change without notice to us, our business and operating results could be adversely affected.
With the growth of mobile devices and personal voice assistants, cloud services and AI, the number of supporting platforms has grown, and with it the complexity and increased need for us to have business and contractual relationships with the platform owners in order to produce products compatible with these platforms and enable access to and use of these platforms with our products. Our product strategy includes current and future products designed for use with third-party platforms or software, such as iPhone, Android phones, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Our business in these categories relies on our access to the platforms of third parties, some of whom are our competitors. Platform owners that are competitors may limit or decline access to their platforms, and in any case have a competitive advantage in designing products for their own platforms and may produce products that work better, or are perceived to work better, than our products in connection with those platforms. As we expand the number of platforms and software applications with which our products are compatible, we may not be successful in launching products for those platforms or software applications and/or we may not be successful in establishing strong relationships with the new platform or software owners, which could negatively impact our ability to develop and produce high-quality products on a timely basis for those platforms and software applications. We may otherwise fail to navigate various new relationships, which could adversely affect our relationships with existing platform or software owners.
Our access to third-party platforms may also require paying a royalty or licensing fee, which lowers our product margins or may otherwise be on terms that are not acceptable to us. In addition, the third-party platforms or technologies used to interact with our product portfolio can be delayed in production or can change without prior notice to us, which can result in our having excess inventory, lower margins, or customer support issues.
If we are unable to access third-party platforms or technologies, or if our access is withdrawn, denied, or is not available on terms acceptable to us, or if the platforms or technologies are delayed or change without notice to us, our business and operating results could be adversely affected.
Our use of open source software could negatively affect our ability to sell our products and could subject us to possible litigation.
We incorporate open source software into our products. Open source software is generally licensed by its authors or other third parties under open source licenses. Some of these licenses contain requirements that we make available source code for modifications or derivative works we create based upon the open source software, and that we license such modifications or derivative works under the terms of a particular open source license or other license granting third parties certain rights of further use. Additionally, if a third-party software provider has incorporated open source software into software that we license from such provider, we could be required to disclose any of our source code that incorporates or is a modification of our licensed software. If an author or other third-party that distributes open source software that we use or license were to allege that we had not complied with the conditions of the applicable license, we could be required to incur significant legal expenses defending against those allegations and could be subject to significant damages, enjoined from offering or selling our products that contained the open source software and be
required to comply with the foregoing conditions. Any of the foregoing could disrupt and harm our business and financial condition.
Our dependence on sales to VARs, resellers, and distributors increases the risks of managing our supply chain and may result in excess inventory or inventory shortages.
Many of our various reseller relationships for our Smart Glasses and AR products and their accessories could involve them taking inventory positions and reselling to multiple customers. Under some typical distributor relationships, we would not recognize revenue until the distributors sell the product to their end user customers and receive payment thereon; however, at this time we do not currently enter into these types of arrangements. Our distributor and VAR relationships may reduce our ability to forecast sales and increase risks to our business. Since our distributors and VARs would act as intermediaries between us and the end user customers or resellers, we would be required to rely on our distributors to accurately report inventory levels and production forecasts. This may require us to manage a more complex supply chain and monitor the financial condition and credit worthiness of our distributors and VARs and their major end user customers. Our failure to manage one or more of these risks could result in excess inventory or shortages that could adversely impact our operating results and financial condition.
We may lose the services of key management personnel and may not be able to attract and retain other necessary personnel.
Changes in our management could have an adverse effect on our business, and in particular while our staff is relatively small with just under 100 employees, we are dependent upon the active participation of several key management personnel, including Paul Travers, our President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Travers is critical to the strategic direction and overall management of our company as well as our research and development process. The loss of Mr. Travers could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results. We do not carry key person life insurance on any of our senior management or other key personnel other than our CEO. Our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Grant Russell, a Canadian citizen, currently has his principal residence in Vancouver, Canada and a second residence in West Henrietta, New York. If he becomes unable to legally or efficiently travel to and work in the United States, his ability to perform some of his duties could be materially adversely affected.
We will need to hire and retain highly skilled technical personnel as employees and as independent contractors in order to develop our products and grow our business. The competition for highly skilled technical, managerial and other personnel is at times intense. Our recruiting and retention success is substantially dependent upon our ability to offer competitive salaries and benefits to our employees. We must compete with companies that possess greater financial and other resources than we do and that may be more attractive to potential employees and contractors. To be competitive, we may have to increase the compensation, bonuses, stock options and other fringe benefits we offer to employees in order to attract and retain such personnel. The costs of retaining or attracting new personnel may have a material adverse effect on our business and operating results. If we fail to attract and retain the technical and managerial personnel required to be successful, our business, operating results and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.
Risks Related to Manufacturing
The manufacture of waveguides encompasses several complex processes and several steps of our production processes are dependent upon certain critical machines and tools which could result in delivery interruptions, which could adversely affect our operating results.
Our product technology and manufacturing processes are evolving which can result in production challenges and difficulties. We may be unable to produce our products in sufficient quantity and quality to maintain existing customers and attract new customers. In addition, we may experience manufacturing problems which could result in delays in delivery of orders or product introductions. We currently do not have full equipment redundancy in our manufacturing facility. If we experience any significant disruption in the operation of our manufacturing facility or a serious failure of a critical piece of equipment, we may be unable to supply products to our customers in a timely manner. Interruptions in our manufacturing could be caused by equipment problems, the introduction of new equipment
into the manufacturing process or delays in the delivery of new manufacturing equipment. Lead-time for delivery, installation, testing, repair and maintenance of manufacturing equipment can be extensive. We have experienced production interruptions in the past and no assurance can be given that we will not lose potential sales or be able to meet production orders due to future production interruptions in our manufacturing lines.
Our waveguide and display engine products are subject to lengthy OEM development periods.
We intend to sell some of our waveguide and display engines with micro-displays to OEMs with the objective that they then incorporate them into products they sell. OEMs determine during their product development phase whether they will incorporate our products. The time elapsed between initial sampling of our products by OEMs, the custom design of our products to meet specific OEM product requirements, and the ultimate incorporation of our products into OEM products is significant, often with a duration of between one to two years. If our products fail to meet our eventual OEM customers’ cost, performance or technical requirements or if unexpected technical challenges arise in the integration of our products into OEM consumer products, our operating results could be significantly and adversely affected. Long delays in achieving customer qualification and incorporation of our products also could adversely affect our business.
We depend on third parties to provide integrated circuit chip sets and other critical components for use in our products.
We do not manufacture the integrated circuit chip sets, microprocesors, wireless chips, optics, micro-displays, backlights, projection engines, printed circuit boards or other electronic components which are used in our products. Instead, we purchase them from third-party suppliers or rely on third-party independent contractors for these integrated circuit chip sets and other critical components, some of which are customized or custom made for us. We also may use third parties to assemble all or portions of our products. Some of these third-party contractors and suppliers are small companies with limited financial resources. If any of these third-party contractors or suppliers were unable or unwilling to supply these integrated circuit chip sets or other critical components to us, we would be unable to manufacture and sell our products until a suitable replacement supplier could be found. We may be unable to find, if and when needed, a replacement third-party contractor or supplier on reasonable terms or in a timely manner. Any interruption in our ability to manufacture and distribute our products could cause our business to be unsuccessful.
Risks Related to Our Common Stock
The rights of holders of common stock may be impaired by the possible future issuance of additional preferred stock.
Our Board of Directors has the right, without approval of the holders of our common stock, to issue additional preferred stock with voting, dividend, conversion, liquidation and other rights which could adversely affect the voting power and equity interest of the holders of common stock, which could be issued with the right to more than one vote per share, and could be utilized as a method of discouraging, delaying or preventing a change-of-control. The possible negative impact on takeover attempts could adversely affect the price of our common stock. Although we have no present intention to issue any shares of preferred stock, we may issue these shares in the future.
We have not paid dividends in the past and do not expect to pay dividends in the future on our common stock.
We have never paid cash dividends on our common stock and do not anticipate paying cash dividends in the foreseeable future. The payment of dividends on our common stock will depend on earnings, financial condition, and other business and economic factors affecting us at such time as our Board of Directors may consider relevant. If we do not pay dividends, our common stock may be less valuable because a return on a stockholders’ investment will only occur if our stock price appreciates. In January 2021, we negotiated with the holder of our outstanding shares of Series A Preferred Stock that was entitled to certain dividends prior to payments of dividends to holders of common stock, and such holder was paid in cash for accrued dividends as part of the conversion of all of the Series A Preferred Stock. There are no accrued dividends currently payable to holders of our common or prior preferred stock, and no preferred stock is currently outstanding.
Our stock price may be volatile in the future.
The trading price of our common stock has been subject to wide fluctuations in response to quarter-to-quarter variations in results of operations, announcements of technological innovations or new products introduced by us or our competitors, general conditions in the wireless communications, semiconductor and display markets, changes in earnings estimates by analysts or other events or factors. In addition, the public stock markets recently have experienced extreme price and trading volatility. This volatility has significantly affected the market prices of securities of many technology companies for reasons frequently unrelated to the operating performance of the specific companies. These broad market fluctuations may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
There is uncertainty regarding the exclusive forum clause in our amended and restated bylaws.
Our amended and restated bylaws include a clause that provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the exclusive forum for certain types of actions that may be brought against us. There is uncertainty as to whether we would seek to, or whether we could successfully, apply this exclusive forum provision to any actions that may be brought against us under the Securities Act.
General Risk Factors
Our future growth and profitability may be adversely affected if our marketing initiatives are not effective in generating sufficient levels of our product and brand awareness.
Our future growth and profitability from our enterprise and prosumer products will depend in large part upon the effectiveness and efficiency of our marketing efforts, including our ability to:
|●||create awareness of our brand and products;|
|●||convert customer awareness into actual product purchases;|
|●||effectively manage marketing costs (including creative and media) in order to maintain acceptable operating margins and return on marketing investment; and|
|●||successfully offer to sell our products or license our technology to third-party companies for sale under their own brand name as OEM partners.|
Our planned marketing expenditures may not result in increased total sales or generate sufficient levels of product and brand name awareness. We may not be able to manage our marketing expenditures on a cost-effective basis.
If we fail to keep pace with changing technologies or are unable to anticipate customer preferences, our business and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.
Rapidly changing customer requirements, evolving technologies and industry standards characterize the consumer electronics, IT, mobile devices, smart phone, wearables and display industries. To achieve our goals, we need to enhance our existing products and develop and market new products that keep pace with continuing changes in industry standards, requirements and customer preferences.
Our success depends on our ability to originate new products and to identify product trends as well as to anticipate and react to changing customer demands in a timely manner. If we are unable to introduce new products or novel technologies in a timely manner or our new products or technologies are not accepted by customers, our competitors may introduce more attractive products, which could hurt our competitive position. Our new products might not receive customer acceptance if customer preferences shift to other products, and our future success depends in part on our ability to anticipate and respond to these changes. Failure to anticipate and respond in a timely manner to changing customer preferences could lead to, among other things, lower revenue and excess inventory levels.
Our business and products are subject to government regulation and we may incur additional compliance costs or, if we fail to comply with applicable regulations, may incur fines or be forced to suspend or cease operations.
In our current business and as we expand into new markets and product categories, we must comply with a wide variety of laws, regulations, standards and other requirements governing, among other things, electrical safety, wireless emissions, health and safety, e-commerce, consumer protection, export and import requirements, hazardous materials usage, product-related energy consumption, packaging, recycling and environmental matters. Compliance with these laws, regulations, standards and other requirements may be onerous and expensive, and they may be inconsistent from jurisdiction to jurisdiction (including from country to country), further increasing the cost of compliance and doing business. Our products may require regulatory approvals or satisfaction of other regulatory concerns in the various jurisdictions in which they are manufactured, sold or both. These requirements create procurement and design challenges that require us to incur additional costs identifying suppliers and manufacturers who can obtain and produce compliant materials, parts and products. Failure to comply with such requirements can subject us to liability, additional costs and reputational harm and, in extreme cases, force us to recall products or prevent us from selling our products in certain jurisdictions. If there is a new regulation, or change to an existing regulation, that significantly increases our costs of manufacturing or causes us to significantly alter the way that we manufacture our products, this would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, while we have implemented policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that our employees, contractors and agents will not violate such laws and regulations or our policies and procedures.
Our products must comply with certain requirements of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulating electromagnetic radiation in order to be sold in the United States and with comparable requirements of the regulatory authorities of the EU, Japan, China and other jurisdictions in order to be sold in those jurisdictions. Our AR smart glasses products include wireless radios and receivers which require additional emission testing. We are also subject to various environmental laws and governmental regulations related to toxic, volatile, and other hazardous chemicals used in the third-party components incorporated into our products, including the Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances Directive, or RoHS and the EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive, or the WEEE Directive, as well as the implementing legislation of the EU member states. This directive restricts the distribution of products within the EU that exceed very low maximum concentration amounts of certain substances, including lead. Similar laws and regulations have been passed or are pending in China, Japan, and numerous countries around the world and may be enacted in other regions, including in the United States, and we are, or may in the future be, subject to these laws and regulations.
From time to time, our products are subject to new domestic and international requirements. Compliance with regulations enacted in the future could substantially increase our cost of doing business or otherwise have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and our business. Any inability by us to comply with regulations in the future could result in the imposition of fines or in the suspension or cessation of our operations or sales in the applicable jurisdictions. Any such inability by us to comply with regulations may also result in our not being permitted, or limit our ability, to ship our products which would adversely affect our revenue and ability to achieve or maintain profitability.
Although we have policies and procedures in place requiring our contract manufacturers and major component suppliers to comply with the supply chain transparency requirements, such as RoHS Directive, we cannot provide assurance that our manufacturers and suppliers consistently comply with these requirements. In addition, if there are changes to these or other laws (or their interpretation) or if new related laws are passed in other jurisdictions, we may be required to re-engineer our products to use components compatible with these regulations. This re-engineering and component substitution could result in additional costs to us or disrupt our operations or logistics.
The WEEE Directive requires electronic goods producers to be responsible for the collection, recycling and treatment of such products. Changes in interpretation of the directive may cause us to incur costs or have additional regulatory requirements to meet in the future in order to comply with this directive, or with any similar laws adopted in other jurisdictions. Our failure to comply with past, present and future similar laws could result in reduced sales of our products, substantial product inventory write-offs, reputational damage, penalties and other sanctions, which could harm our business and financial condition. We also expect that our products will be affected by new environmental laws and regulations on an ongoing basis. To date, our expenditures for environmental compliance have not had a material impact
on our results of operations or cash flows and, although we cannot predict the future impact of such laws or regulations, they will likely result in additional costs and may increase penalties associated with violations or require us to change the content of our products or how they are manufactured, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.
Regulations related to conflict minerals may cause us to incur additional expenses and could limit the supply and increase the costs of certain materials used in the manufacturing of our products.
As a public company, we are subject to requirements under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, or the Dodd-Frank Act, that require us to determine, disclose and report whether or not our products contain conflict minerals. These requirements could adversely affect the sourcing, availability and pricing of the materials used in the manufacture of components used in our products. In addition, we have and will continue to incur additional costs to comply with the disclosure requirements, including costs related to conducting diligence procedures to determine the sources of conflict minerals that may be used in, or necessary for the production of our products and, if applicable, potential changes to products, processes or sources of supply as a consequence of such verification activities. We also may face reputational harm if we determine that certain of our products contain minerals not determined to be conflict free or if we are unable to alter our products, processes or sources of supply to avoid such materials.
If our customers are not satisfied with our technical support, firmware or software updates on some of our products, they may choose not to purchase our products, which would adversely impact our business and operating results.
Our business relies, in part, on our customers’ satisfaction with the technical support, firmware, software and security updates we provide to support our products. If we fail to provide technical support services and necessary updates that are responsive, satisfy our customers’ expectations and resolve issues that they encounter with our products, customers may choose not to purchase additional products and we may face brand and reputational harm, which could adversely affect our operating results.
Our operating results may be adversely impacted by worldwide political, economic and public health uncertainties and specific conditions in the markets we address.
Any worsening of global economic, financial, or public health conditions, including global pandemics, could materially adversely affect (i) our ability to raise, or the terms of needed capital; (ii) demand for our current and future products; and (iii) the supply of components for our products. We cannot predict the timing, strength, or duration of any economic slowdown or subsequent economic recovery, worldwide, or in the display industry.
Our results of operations may suffer if we are not able to successfully manage our increasing exposure to foreign exchange rate risks.
A substantial majority of our sales and cost of components are denominated in U.S. dollars. As our business grows, both our sales and production costs may increasingly be denominated in other currencies. Where such sales or production costs are denominated in other currencies, they are converted to U.S. dollars for the purpose of calculating any sales or costs to us. Our sales may decrease as a result of any appreciation of the U.S. dollar against these other currencies.
The majority of our current expenditures are incurred in U.S. dollars and many of our components come from countries that currently peg their currency against the U.S. dollar. If the pegged exchange rates change adversely or are allowed to float up, additional U.S. dollars will be required to fund our purchases of these components.
Although we do not currently enter into currency option contracts or engage in other hedging activities, we may do so in the future. There is no assurance that we will undertake any such hedging activities or that, if we do so, they will be successful in reducing the risks to us of our exposure to foreign currency fluctuations.
Due to our significant level of international operations, including the use of foreign suppliers and contract manufactures, we are subject to international operational, financial, legal, political and public health risks which could harm our operating results.
We purchase product components from our suppliers and engage third-party contract manufacturing firms to perform electronic circuit board and cable assemblies. We moved the assembly of our finished products to our plant in West Henrietta, New York in late summer 2019. Additionally, we use our West Henrietta, New York facility for the production of waveguides and their related display engines and intend to do so for some time. In the future, our mature products could have their final assembly performed outside the United States. Accordingly, a substantial part of our operations, including manufacturing of certain components used in our products, are outside of the United States and many of our customers and suppliers have some or all of their operations in countries other than the United States. Risks associated with our doing business outside of the United States include:
|●||compliance burdens and costs with a wide variety of foreign laws and regulations, particularly labor, environmental and other laws and regulations that govern our operations in those countries;|
|●||legal uncertainties regarding foreign taxes, tariffs, border taxes, quotas, export controls, export licenses, import controls and other trade barriers;|
|●||economic instability and high levels of inflation in the countries of our suppliers and customers, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, causing delays or reductions in orders for their products and therefore our sales;|
|●||political or public health instability, including global pandemics, in the countries in which our suppliers operate;|
|●||changes or volatility in currency exchange rates; and|
|●||difficulties in collecting accounts receivable and longer accounts receivable payment cycles.|
Any of these factors could harm our own, our suppliers’ and our customers’ international operations and businesses and impair our and/or their ability to continue expanding into international markets.
We could be adversely affected by violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.K. Bribery Act or similar anti-bribery laws in other jurisdictions in which we operate.
The global nature of our business and the significance of our international revenue create various domestic and local regulatory challenges and subject us to risks associated with our international operations. We operate in areas of the world that experience corruption by government officials to some degree and, in certain circumstances, compliance with anti-bribery and anticorruption laws may conflict with local customs and practices. Our global operations require us to import and export to and from several countries, which geographically expands our compliance obligations. In addition, changes in such laws could result in increased regulatory requirements and compliance costs which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the U.K. Bribery Act 2010 (U.K. Bribery Act), and similar anti-bribery and anticorruption laws in other jurisdictions generally prohibit U.S.-based companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments to non-U.S. officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business, directing business to another, or securing an advantage. In addition, U.S. public companies are required to maintain records that accurately and fairly represent their transactions and have an adequate system of internal accounting controls. Under the FCPA, U.S. companies may be held liable for the corrupt actions taken by directors, officers, employees, agents, or other strategic or local partners or representatives. As such, if we or our intermediaries fail to comply with the requirements of the FCPA or similar legislation, governmental authorities in the United States and
elsewhere could seek to impose substantial civil and/or criminal fines and penalties which could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, operating results and financial condition.
We are subject to governmental export and import controls and economic sanctions laws that could subject us to liability and impair our ability to compete in international markets.
The U.S. and various foreign governments have imposed controls, export license requirements and restrictions on the import or export of some technologies. Our products are subject to U.S. export controls, including the Commerce Department’s Export Administration Regulations and various economic and trade sanctions regulations established by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls, and exports of our products must be made in compliance with these laws. Furthermore, U.S. export control laws and economic sanctions prohibit the provision of products and services to countries, governments, and persons targeted by U.S. sanctions. Even though we take precautions to prevent our products from being provided to targets of U.S. sanctions, our products, including our firmware updates, could be provided to those targets or provided by our customers despite such precautions. Any such provision could have negative consequences, including government investigations, penalties and reputational harm. Our failure to obtain required import or export approval for our products could harm our international and domestic sales and adversely affect our revenue.
If significant tariffs or other restrictions are placed and maintained on Chinese imports or any related counter-measures are taken by China, our revenue and results of operations may be materially harmed.
If significant tariffs or other restrictions are placed on Chinese imports or any related counter-measures are taken by China, our revenue and results of operations may be materially harmed. In July 2018, the Trump Administration introduced a list of thousands of categories of goods that began facing tariffs of up to 25%, inclusive of many components and services we have performed in China. These tariffs currently affect some of our products and we may be required to raise our prices on those products due to the tariffs, which may result in a loss of customers and harm our operating performance. If the existing tariffs are expanded or interpreted by a court or governmental agency to apply to any of our other products, we may be required to raise our prices on those products also, which may further result in a loss of customers and harm our operating performance. It is possible further tariffs will be imposed on imports of our products, or that our business will be impacted by retaliatory trade measures taken by China or other countries in response to existing or future tariffs, causing us to raise prices or make changes to our operations, any of which could materially harm our revenue or operating results.
Changes in trade policy in the United States and other countries, including changes in trade agreements and the imposition of tariffs and the resulting consequences, may have adverse impacts on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
The U.S. government has indicated and demonstrated its intent to alter its approach to international trade policy through the renegotiation, and potential termination, of certain existing bilateral or multilateral trade agreements and treaties with, and the imposition of tariffs on a wide range of products and other goods from China, countries in EMEA and other countries. Given our manufacturing in those countries, and our lack of manufacturing elsewhere, policy changes in the United States or other countries, such as the tariffs already proposed, implemented and threatened, present particular risks for us. Tariffs already implemented are having an adverse effect on certain of our products and threatened additional tariffs could adversely affect more or all of our products. There are also risks associated with retaliatory tariffs and resulting trade wars. We cannot predict future trade policy, the terms of any renegotiated trade agreements or treaties, or tariffs and their impact on our business. A trade war could have a significant adverse effect on world trade and the world economy. To the extent that trade tariffs and other restrictions imposed by the United States or other countries increase the price of, or limit the amount of, our products or components or materials used in our products imported into the United States or other countries, or create adverse tax consequences, the sales, cost or gross margin of our products may be adversely affected and the demand from our customers for products and services may be diminished. Uncertainty surrounding international trade policy and disputes and protectionist measures could also have an adverse effect on consumer confidence and spending. If we deem it necessary to alter all or a portion of our activities or operations in response to such policies, agreements or tariffs, our capital and operating costs may increase. Our ongoing efforts to address these risks may not be effective and may have long-term adverse effects on our operations and
operating results that we may not be able to reverse. Such efforts may also take time to implement or to have an effect, and may result in adverse quarterly financial results or fluctuations in our quarterly financial results. As a result, changes in international trade policy, changes in trade agreements and tariffs could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Any significant disruption to our ecommerce business could result in lost sales.
Our sales through our ecommerce channel have been growing. Sales through vuzix.com and our related EU, UK and Japanese web stores generally have higher profit margins than sales through resellers, VARs and distributors. Online sales are subject to a number of risks. System interruptions or delays could cause potential customers to fail to purchase our products and could harm our brand. The operation of our direct to consumer ecommerce business through vuzix.com depends on our ability to maintain the efficient and uninterrupted operation of online order-taking and fulfillment operations. Our ecommerce operations subject us to certain risks that could have an adverse effect on our operating results, including risks related to the computer systems that operate our website and related support systems, such as system failures, viruses, identity information thefts, denial-of-services attacks, computer hackers and similar disruptions. If we are unable to continually add software and hardware, effectively upgrade our systems and network infrastructure and take other steps to improve the efficiency of our systems, system interruptions or delays could occur that would adversely affect our operating results.
We utilize third-party vendors for our customer-facing ecommerce technology, portions of our order management system and fulfillment internationally. We depend on our technology vendors to manage “up-time” of the front-end ecommerce store, manage the intake of our orders, and export orders for fulfillment. Any failure on the part of our third-party ecommerce vendors or in our ability to transition third-party services effectively could result in lost sales and harm our business.
We collect, store, process and use our customers’ personally identifiable information and other data, which subjects us to governmental regulation and other legal obligations related to privacy, information security and data protection. Any cybersecurity breaches or our actual or perceived failure to comply with such legal obligations by us, or by our third-party service providers or partners, could harm our business.
We collect, store, process and use our customers’ personally identifiable information and other data in our transactions with them, and we rely on third parties that are not directly under our control to do so as well. While we take reasonable measures intended to protect the security, integrity and confidentiality of the personal information and other sensitive information we collect, store or transmit, we cannot guarantee that inadvertent or unauthorized use or disclosure will not occur, or that third parties will not gain unauthorized access to this information. While our privacy policies currently prohibit such activities, our third-party service providers or partners may engage in such activity without our knowledge or consent. If we or our third-party service providers were to experience a breach, disruption or failure of systems compromising our customers’ data, or if one of our third-party service providers or partners were to access our customers’ personal data without our authorization, our brand and reputation could be adversely affected, use of our products could decrease and we could be exposed to a risk of loss, litigation and regulatory proceedings.
Regulatory scrutiny of privacy, data collection, use of data and data protection is intensifying globally, and the personal information and other data we collect, store, process and use is increasingly subject to legislation and regulations in numerous jurisdictions around the world, especially in Europe. These laws often develop in ways we cannot predict and may materially increase our cost of doing business, particularly as we expand the nature and types of products we offer. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (the "GDPR"), which came into effect in the EU and the State of California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (the "CCPA"), which went into effect on January 1, 2020, imposes more stringent data protection requirements and provides for greater penalties for noncompliance. These regulations require companies that process information to make new disclosures to consumers about their data collection, use and sharing practices, allows consumers to opt out of certain data sharing with third parties and provides a new cause of action for data breaches. Further, data protection legislation is also becoming increasingly common in the United States at both the federal and state level. The burdens imposed by these and other similar laws that may be enacted at the federal and state level may require us to modify our data processing practices and policies and/or to incur substantial expenditures in order to comply.
Cybersecurity risks could adversely affect our business and disrupt our operations.
The threats to network and data security are increasingly diverse and sophisticated. Despite our efforts and processes to prevent breaches, our devices, as well as our servers, computer systems, and those of third parties that we use in our operations are vulnerable to cybersecurity risks, including cyber-attacks such as viruses and worms, phishing attacks, denial-of-service attacks, physical or electronic break-ins, employee theft or misuse, and similar disruptions from unauthorized tampering with our servers and computer systems or those of third parties that we use in our operations, which could lead to interruptions, delays, loss of critical data, unauthorized access to user data, and loss of consumer confidence. In addition, we may be the target of email scams that attempt to acquire personal information or company assets. Despite our efforts to create security barriers to such threats, we may not be able to entirely mitigate these risks. Any cyber-attack that attempts to obtain our or our users’ data and assets, disrupt our service, or otherwise access our systems, or those of third parties we use, if successful, could adversely affect our business, operating results, and financial condition, be expensive to remedy, and damage our reputation. In addition, any such breaches may result in negative publicity, adversely affect our brand, decrease demand for our products and services, and adversely affect our operating results and financial condition.
Our failure to effectively manage growth could harm our business.
We intend to expand the number and types of products we sell. We will need to replace and regularly introduce on a timely basis new products and technologies, enhance existing products, and effectively stimulate customer demand for new products and upgraded or enhanced versions of our existing products.
The replacement and expansion of our products places a significant strain on our management, operations and engineering resources. Specifically, the areas that are strained most by these activities include the following:
|●||New Product Launches: With the changes in and growth of our product portfolio, we will experience increased complexity in coordinating product development, manufacturing, and shipping. As this complexity increases, it places a strain on our ability to accurately coordinate the commercial launch of our products with adequate supply to meet anticipated customer demand and effectively market to stimulate demand and market acceptance. We have experienced delays in the past. If we are unable to scale and improve our product launch coordination, we could frustrate our customers and lose possible retail shelf space and product sales;|
|●||Existing Products Impacted by New Introductions: The introduction of new products or product enhancements may shorten the life cycle of our existing products, or replace sales of some of our current products, thereby offsetting the benefit of even a successful product introduction and may cause customers to defer purchasing our existing products in anticipation of the new products and potentially lead to challenges in managing inventory of existing products. We may also provide price protection to some of our retailers as a result of our new product introductions and reduce the prices of existing products. If we fail to effectively manage new product introductions, our revenue and profitability may be harmed; and|
|●||Forecasting, Planning and Supply Chain Logistics: With the changes in and growth of our product portfolio, we will experience increased complexity in forecasting customer demand, in planning for production, and in transportation and logistics management. If we are unable to scale and improve our forecasting, planning, production, and logistics management, we could frustrate our customers, lose product sales or accumulate excess inventory.|
Our facilities and information systems and those of our key suppliers could be damaged as a result of disasters or unpredictable events, which could have an adverse effect on our business operations.
We operate the majority of our business from one location in West Henrietta, New York (a suburb of Rochester). We also rely on third-party manufacturing plants in the US and Asia and third-party logistics, sales and marketing facilities in Japan and England, and in other parts of the world to provide key components for our products and services. If major disasters such as earthquakes, pandemics, fires, floods, wars, terrorist attacks, computer viruses,
transportation disasters or other events occur in any of these locations, or our information systems or communications network or those of any of our key component suppliers breaks down or operates improperly as a result of such events, our facilities or those of our key suppliers may be seriously damaged, and we may have to stop or delay production and shipment of our products. We may also incur expenses relating to such damages. If production or shipment of our products or components is stopped or delayed or if we incur any increased expenses as a result of damage to our facilities, our business, operating results and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.
We do not control our component suppliers, service providers and contract manufacturers or currently require them to comply with a formal code of conduct, and actions that they might take could harm our reputation and sales.
We do not control our component suppliers, service providers and contract manufacturers, including their labor, environmental or other practices, or require them to comply with a formal code of conduct. Though we conduct periodic visits to some of our contract manufacturers and suppliers, these visits are not frequent or thorough enough to detect non-compliance with applicable laws and good industry practices. A violation of labor, environmental or other laws by our contract manufacturers or suppliers, or a failure of these parties to follow ethical business practices, could lead to negative publicity and harm our reputation. In addition, we may choose to seek alternative manufacturers or suppliers if these violations or failures were to occur. Identifying and qualifying new manufacturers or suppliers can be time consuming and we might not be able to substitute suitable alternatives in a timely manner or at an acceptable cost. Other consumer products companies have faced significant criticism for the actions of their manufacturers and suppliers, and we could face such criticism ourselves. Any of these events could adversely affect our brand, harm our reputation, reduce demand for our products and harm our ability to meet demand if we need to identify alternative manufacturers or suppliers.
We rely on third-party suppliers, some of which are sole-source suppliers, to provide components for our products which may lead to supply shortages, long lead times for components, and supply changes, any of which could disrupt our supply chain, may increase our costs, and we may be unable to meet the demands of our customers and end-users on a timely basis.
Our ability to meet customer demand depends, in part, on our ability to obtain timely and adequate delivery of components for our products. All of the components that go into the manufacturing of our smart glasses products and accessories, other than waveguide optics, are sourced from third-party suppliers. The availability of certain of the components that we require to produce our AR Smart Glasses and other near-eye display products may decrease.
Some of the key components used to manufacture our products come from a limited or single source of supply, or by a supplier that could potentially become a competitor. Our contract manufacturers generally purchase these components on our behalf from approved suppliers. We are subject to the risk of shortages and long lead times in the supply of these components and the risk that our suppliers discontinue or modify components used in our products. In addition, the lead times associated with certain components are lengthy and preclude rapid changes in quantities and delivery schedules. Further the electronic components we utilize can go end-of-life due to technological changes, which can require us to invest in implementing costs and the potential for the forced obsolescence of other related items. We have in the past experienced end-of-life issues and expect to see more shortages in the future, as such the availability of these components may be unpredictable.
As the availability of components decreases, the cost of acquiring those components ordinarily increases. High growth product categories such as the consumer electronics and mobile phone markets have experienced chronic shortages of components during periods of exceptionally high demand. If we do not properly anticipate the need for or procure critical components, we may pay higher prices for those components, our gross margins may decrease and we may be unable to meet the demands of our customers and end-users, which could reduce our competitiveness, cause a decline in our market share and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
If we lose access to components from a particular supplier or experience a significant disruption in the supply of products and components from a current supplier, we may be unable to locate alternative suppliers of comparable quality at an acceptable price, or at all, and our business could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, if we experience a significant increase in demand for our products, our suppliers might not have the capacity or elect not to
meet our needs as they allocate components to other customers. Developing suitable alternate sources of supply for these components may be time-consuming, difficult and costly, and we may not be able to source these components on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all, which may adversely affect our ability to meet our development requirements or to fill our orders in a timely or cost-effective manner. Identifying a suitable supplier is an involved process that requires us to become satisfied with the supplier’s quality control, responsiveness and service, financial stability, labor and other ethical practices, and if we seek to source materials from new suppliers, there can be no assurance that we could do so in a manner that does not disrupt the manufacture and sale of our products.
Our reliance on single source, or a small number of suppliers involves a number of additional risks, including risks related to supplier capacity constraints, price increases, timely delivery, component quality, failure of a key supplier to remain in business and adjust to market conditions, delays in, or the inability to execute on, a supplier roadmap for components and technologies; and natural disasters, fire, acts of terrorism or other catastrophic events, including global pandemics.
We do not currently own or operate any manufacturing facilities for any types of micro-displays, one of the key components in our products. Certain other components and services necessary for the manufacture of our products are available from only a limited number of sources, and other components and services are only available from a single source. We currently purchase almost all of the micro-displays used in our Smart Glasses products from Sony Corporation and Texas Instruments. Our relationship with these companies generally is on a purchase order basis and these firms do not have a contractual obligation to provide adequate supply or acceptable pricing to us on a long-term basis. These firms could discontinue sourcing merchandise for us at any time. If any of these firms were to discontinue its relationship with us, or discontinue providing specific products to us, and we are unable to contract with a new supplier that can meet our requirements, or if they or such other supplier were to suffer a disruption in their production, we could experience disruption of our inventory flow, a decrease in sales and the possible need to re-design our products. Any such event could disrupt our operations and have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Several new LCOS, alternative OLED, as well as micro-LED suppliers have begun offering micro-displays suitable for use in our products. With new tooling and electronics, any one of these alternative displays could be incorporated into our products but our costs of production could be higher, they may offer less performance, and, as a result, may make our products too costly and less desirable.
Additional stock offerings in the future may dilute then existing stockholders’ percentage ownership of our company.
Given our capital plans, needs and expectations, we may issue additional shares of common stock or securities convertible or exercisable for shares of common stock, including convertible preferred stock, convertible notes, stock options or warrants. The issuance of additional securities in the future will dilute the percentage ownership of then existing stockholders.
If our estimates or judgments relating to our critical accounting policies prove to be incorrect, our operating results could be adversely affected.
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, as provided in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The results of these estimates form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets, liabilities, and equity, and the amount of revenue and expenses that are not readily apparent from other sources. Significant assumptions and estimates used in preparing our consolidated financial statements include those related to revenue recognition, inventories, product warranty reserves, accounting for income taxes, and stock-based compensation expense. Our operating results may be adversely affected if our assumptions change or if actual circumstances differ from those in our assumptions, which could cause our operating results to fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors, resulting in a decline in the price of our common stock.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
We lease approximately 39,000 square feet as our main facility at 25 Hendrix Road, West Henrietta, New York, 14586 (a suburb of Rochester). This facility houses our office, R&D and manufacturing space under an operating lease for the facility that we began occupying in October 2015. The base rent contractual payment obligations under this operating lease is currently $544,000 per year. The lease has an original five-year term with an option by the Company to renew for two additional three-year terms at pre-agreed to lease rates. As of June 25, 2020, the Company exercised the first of the two renewal terms, extending our current lease expiration date to October 3, 2023. We believe that our West Henrietta facility is in good operating condition and currently adequately serves our needs.
In Oxford, England, we rent 400 square feet of office space at a cost of approximately $8,700 per year. We lease this location pursuant to a renewable one-year lease which is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2021.
In Tokyo, Japan, we rent 577 square feet of office space at a cost of approximately $71,000 per year. We lease this location pursuant to a renewable one-year lease which was scheduled to expire on February 28, 2021. We have renegotiated another one-year lease with similar terms.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
We are not currently involved in any actual or pending material legal proceedings or litigation, and we are not aware of any such proceedings contemplated by or against us or our property, except as follows:
On or about December 16, 2019, Throop, LLC (“Throop”) filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California against the Company. The complaint alleges that certain Vuzix products (which have yet to be sufficiently identified) infringe claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,035,897 and U.S. Patent No. 9,479,726. Both patents expired on January 14, 2020. The parties have agreed to a proposed settlement agreement under which Vuzix will pay Throop a nominal sum to settle this and any future actions. This negotiated settlement is currently expected to be finalized before March 31, 2021.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market for our Common Stock
Our common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol “VUZI”.
Company Stock Performance
The following graph shows a five-year comparison of cumulative total shareholder return for the Company, the NASDAQ US Benchmark TR Index and the S&P 500 Information Technology index. The graph assumes $100 was invested in each of the Company’s common stock, the NASDAQ Composite Index and the S&P 500 Information Technology index on December 31, 2015. Data points on the graph are annual. Note that historical price performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance.
Holders of Record
As of March 15, 2021, there were 81 holders of record of our common stock.
We have not historically and currently do not pay dividends on our outstanding common stock. The declaration of any future dividends and, if declared, the amount of any such dividends, will be subject to our actual future earnings, capital requirements, regulatory restrictions, and applicable contractual restrictions and at the discretion of our Board of Directors. Our Board of Directors may take into account such matters as general business conditions, our financial condition and results of operations, our capital requirements, our prospects and such other factors as our Board of Directors may deem relevant.
Shares of Series A Preferred stock were entitled to receive dividends at a rate of 6% per year, compounded quarterly and payable in cash or in kind, at our discretion. On January 28, 2021, the holder converted all of its shares of Series A Preferred Stock into 4,962,600 shares of common stock. The shares of Series A Preferred were retired and cannot be reissued. On the same date, the Company and the holder entered into a Dividend Settlement Agreement pursuant to which the holder agreed to accept $10,000,000 in cash in full payment of all accrued Series A Preferred Stock dividends in the approximate amount of $10,800,000.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
We did not purchase equity securities that are registered under Section 12 of the Exchange Act during the year ended December 31, 2020.
Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and use of Proceeds
Sales of Unregistered Securities –
|●||During the three months ended December 31, 2020, we issued 43,854 shares of common stock as a result of employee stock option exercises.|
Equity Compensation Plan Information
The following table provides information about our equity compensation plans as of December 31, 2020.
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders
|(1)||The amount appearing under “Number of securities remaining available for future issuance” includes shares available under our 2014 Equity Incentive Plan. The 2014 Plan (as amended) has an “evergreen provision”, under which the maximum number of shares of common stock that may be issued under the 2014 Plan automatically increases each time the Company issues additional shares of common stock so that the total number of shares issuable thereunder at all times equals 20% of the then outstanding shares of common stock, unless in any case the Board of Directors adopts a resolution providing that the number of shares issuable under the 2014 Plan not be so increased. Refer to Note 13 for further details.|
Item 6. Selected Financial Data
We derived the selected consolidated statements of operations data for 2020, 2019 and 2018 and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The consolidated statements of operations data for 2017 and 2016, and the consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 are derived from consolidated financial statements that are not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected in the future. You should read this data together with our “Management’s
Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
For Years Ended December 31,
Sales of Products
Sales of Engineering Services
Cost of Sales — Products
Cost of Sales — Engineering Services
Total Cost of Sales
Gross Profit (Loss) (exclusive of depreciation shown separately below)
Research and Development
Selling and Marketing
General and Administrative
Depreciation and Amortization
Impairment of Software Development Costs
Loss on Product Discontinuance and (Gain) on Vendor Credit
Impairment of Patents and Trademarks
Total Operating Expenses
Loss from Operations
Other Income (Expense), Net
Loss Before Provision for Income Taxes
Provision for Income Taxes
Preferred Stock Dividends
Loss Attributable to Common Stockholders
Basic and Diluted Loss per Share
Weighted-average Shares Outstanding – Basic and Diluted
As of December 31,
Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:
Cash, Cash Equivalents, and Marketable Securities
Total Long-Term Liabilities
Total Stockholders’ Equity
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The following discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our financial statements and related notes appearing elsewhere in this annual report. In addition to historical information, the following discussion and analysis includes forward looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Our actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of a variety of factors, including those discussed in “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this annual report. See the discussion under “Forward Looking Statements” beginning on page 1 of this annual report.
We are engaged in the design, manufacture, marketing and sale of augmented reality wearable display devices also referred to as head mounted displays (or HMDs, but also known as Video Eyewear or near-eye displays), in the form of Smart Glasses and Augmented Reality (AR) glasses. Our AR wearable display devices are worn like eyeglasses or attach to a head worn mount. These devices typically include cameras, sensors, and a computer that enable the user to view, record and interact with video and digital content, such as computer data, the Internet, social media or entertainment applications. Our wearable display products integrate micro-display technology with our advanced optics to produce compact high-resolution display engines, less than half an inch diagonally, which when viewed through our smart glasses products create virtual images that appear comparable in size to that of a computer monitor or a large-screen television.
With respect to our Smart Glasses and AR products, we are focused on the enterprise, industrial, commercial, and consumer markets. All of the mobile display and mobile electronics markets in which we compete have been subject to rapid technological change over the last decade including the rapid adoption of tablets, larger screen sizes and display resolutions along with declining prices on mobile phones and other computing devices, and as a result we must continue to improve our products’ performance and lower our costs. We believe our intellectual property portfolio gives us a leadership position in micro-display projection engines, waveguides, ergonomics, packaging, and optical systems.
Critical Accounting Policies and Significant Developments and Estimates
The discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations are based on our consolidated financial statements and related notes appearing elsewhere in this annual report. The preparation of these statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles requires the appropriate application of certain accounting policies, many of which require us to make estimates and assumptions about future events and their impact on amounts reported in our consolidated financial statements, including the statement of operations, balance sheet, cash flow and related notes. We continually evaluate our estimates used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements, including those related to revenue recognition, bad debts, inventories, warranty reserves, product warranty, carrying value of long-lived assets, derivatives, valuation of stock compensation awards, and income taxes. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about carrying values of assets and liabilities
that are not apparent from other sources. Since we cannot determine future events and their impact with certainty, the actual results may differ from our estimates. Such differences could be material to the consolidated financial statements.
We believe that our application of accounting policies, and the estimates inherently required therein, are reasonable. We periodically reevaluate these accounting policies and estimates and make adjustments when facts and circumstances dictate a change. Historically, we have found our application of accounting policies to be appropriate, and actual results have not differed materially from those determined using necessary estimates.
Our accounting policies are more fully described in the notes to our consolidated financial statements included in this annual report on Form 10-K. The critical accounting policies, judgments and estimates that we believe have the most significant effect on our financial statements are:
|●||Valuation of inventories;|
|●||Carrying value of long-lived assets;|
|●||Software development costs;|
|●||Stock-based compensation; and|
Valuation of Inventories
Inventory is stated at the lower of cost or net realizable value, with cost determined on a weighted average first-in, first-out method. Inventory includes purchased parts and components, work in process and finished goods. Provisions for excess, obsolete or slow-moving inventory are recorded after periodic evaluation of historical sales, current economic trends, forecasted sales, estimated product life cycles and estimated inventory levels. Purchasing practices, electronic component obsolescence, accuracy of sales and production forecasts, introduction of new products, product life cycles, product support and foreign regulations governing hazardous materials are factors that contribute to inventory valuation risks. Exposure to inventory valuation risks is managed by maintaining safety stocks, minimum purchase lots, managing product and end-of-life issues brought on by aging components or new product introductions, and by utilizing certain inventory minimization strategies such as vendor-managed inventories. The accounting estimate related to valuation of inventories is considered a “critical accounting estimate” because it is susceptible to changes from period-to-period due to the requirement for management to make estimates relative to each of the underlying factors, ranging from purchasing to sales, production, and after-sale support. If actual demand, market conditions or product life cycles differ from estimates, inventory adjustments to net realizable values would result in a reduction to the carrying value of inventory, an increase in inventory write-offs and a decrease to gross margins.
During the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company reserved for (i) fifty percent of its finished goods inventory on hand and all of its component parts related to its M300XL Smart Glasses product, as they are at a disadvantaged selling position against our newer, improved M400 product introduced in the fall of 2019 and our new M4000 product introduced in September 2020 and (ii) all of its finished goods inventory related to its Smart Swim product, as sales of this product have been negligible largely due to decreased venues for its use due to the current pandemic. The total reserve write-down recorded at December 31, 2020 was $773,235. In addition, the Company had previously written-down $500,600 through the third quarter of 2020 for the components parts related to its original Blade and Smart Swim products. The write-down and obsolescence provision totaled $1,273,835 and $4,572,659 for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. These provisions were included in Cost of Sales on the Consolidated Statements of Operations.
Carrying Value of Long-Lived Assets
If facts and circumstances indicate that a long-lived asset, including a products’ mold tooling and equipment, may be impaired, the carrying value is reviewed in accordance with FASB ASC Topic 360-10 Accounting for the Impairment or Disposal of Long-Lived Assets. If this review indicates that the carrying value of the asset will not be recovered as determined based on projected undiscounted cash flows related to the asset over its remaining life, the carrying value of the asset is reduced to its estimated fair value. Impairment losses are dependent on a number of factors such as general economic trends and major technology advances, and thus could be significantly different from historical results. No impairment charges on tooling and equipment were recorded in 2020, 2019 or 2018.
We perform a valuation of our patents and trademark assets when events or circumstances indicate their carrying amounts may be unrecoverable. There was an impairment charge of $73,532 recorded in 2020 and nil in 2019 and 2018. The value of the remaining intellectual property, such as patents and trademarks, were valued (net of accumulated amortization) at $1,593,049 as of December 31, 2020, because management believes that this value is recoverable.
Software Development Costs
The Company capitalizes the costs of obtaining and developing its software once technological feasibility has been determined by management or of purchased software solutions when placed into service. Such costs are accumulated and capitalized. These projects could take several years to complete. The capitalized costs are then amortized over 3 years on a straight-line basis. Unsuccessful or discontinued software projects are written off and expensed in the fiscal period where the application is abandoned or discontinued. The unamortized software development costs remaining were valued (net of accumulated amortization) at $458,333 as of December 31, 2020, because management believes that this value is recoverable.
The Company adopted the new guidance on Revenue from Contracts with Customers under FASB ASC Topic 606, “Revenue from Contracts with Customers”, as of January 1, 2018. Product sales represent the majority of the Company’s revenue. The Company recognizes revenue from these product sales as performance obligations are satisfied and transfer of control to the customer has occurred, typically upon physical shipment. Revenue is recognized in the amount that the Company expects to receive in exchange from the sale of our products. FOB shipping point is our standard shipping terms and revenue is recognized as our products ship to customers, as control is transferred at that point in time. All of our standard product sales include a 30-day money back guarantee and expected returns are estimated at each reporting period date and a portion of revenue is deferred for all estimated returns. As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, deferred revenue associated with our expected returns was immaterial. The Company collects and remits sales taxes in certain jurisdictions and reports revenue net of any associated sales taxes.
Revenue from engineering consulting and other services is recognized at the time the services are rendered. The Company accounts for its longer-term development contracts, which to date have all been firm fixed-priced contracts, on the percentage-of-completion method, whereby income is recognized as work on contracts progresses, but estimated losses on contracts in progress are charged to operations immediately. The percentage-of-completion is determined using the cost-to-cost method. To date, all such contracts have been less than one calendar year in duration.
Warranty obligations are generally incurred in connection with the sale of our products. The warranty period for these products is generally one year except in certain European countries where it can be two years for some consumer-focused products. Warranty costs are accrued, to the extent that they are not recoverable from third-party manufacturers, for the estimated cost to repair or replace products for the balance of the warranty periods. We provide for the costs of expected future warranty claims at the time of product shipment or over-builds to cover replacements. The adequacy of the provision is assessed at each quarter end and is based on historical experience of warranty claims and costs. The costs incurred to provide for these warranty obligations are estimated and recorded as an accrued liability at the time of
sale. Future warranty costs are estimated based on historical performance rates and related costs to repair given products. The accounting estimate related to product warranty is considered a “critical accounting estimate” because judgment is exercised in determining future estimated warranty costs. Should actual performance rates or repair costs differ from estimates, revision to the estimated warranty liability would be required.
Stock-Based Compensation Expense
Our Board of Directors approves grants of stock awards and options to employees to purchase our common stock. Stock-based compensation expense is recorded based upon the estimated fair value of the stock option or stock award at the date of grant. The Company uses the Black-Scholes-Merton option pricing model to estimate the fair value of stock options granted pursuant to ASC Topic 718. The application of this pricing model involves assumptions that are judgmental and sensitive in the determination of compensation expense. The fair market value of our common stock on the date of each option grant is determined based on the most recent quoted sales price on our primary trading stock exchange, currently the NASDAQ Capital Market.
We have historically incurred domestic operating losses from both a financial reporting and tax return standpoint. Accordingly, we provide deferred income tax assets and liabilities based on the estimated future tax effects of differences between the financial and tax bases of assets and liabilities based upon currently enacted tax laws. Any future recorded value of our deferred tax assets will be dependent upon our ability to generate taxable income in the jurisdictions in which we operate. These assets consist primarily of credit carry-forwards and net operating loss carry-forwards and the future tax effects of temporary differences between balances recorded for financial statement purposes and for tax return purposes. A valuation allowance is established for deferred tax assets in amounts for which realization is not considered more likely than not to occur. The accounting estimate related to income taxes is considered a “critical accounting estimate” because judgment is exercised in estimating future taxable income, including prudent and feasible tax planning strategies, and in assessing the need for any valuation allowance. To date, we have determined a 100% valuation allowance is required and accordingly no deferred tax asset has been reflected in our consolidated financial statements. In the event that it should be determined that all or part of a deferred tax asset in the future is more likely than not to be realized, an adjustment (reduction) of the valuation allowance would increase income to be recognized in the period such determination was made.
In addition, the calculation of our deferred taxes involves dealing with uncertainties in the application of complex tax regulations. As a result, we recognize liabilities for uncertain tax positions based on the two-step process prescribed by GAAP. The first step is to evaluate the tax position for recognition by determining if the weight of available evidence indicates that it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained on audit, including resolution of related appeals or litigation processes, if any. The second step requires us to estimate and measure the tax benefit as the largest amount that is more than 50% likely of being realized upon ultimate settlement. It is inherently difficult and subjective to estimate such amounts, as this requires us to determine the probability of various possible outcomes. We re-evaluate these uncertain tax positions on a quarterly basis. This evaluation is based on factors including, but not limited to, changes in facts or circumstances, changes in tax law, effectively settled issues under audit and new audit activity. Such a change in recognition or measurement would result in the recognition of a tax benefit or an additional charge to the tax provision in the period. The Company currently has no uncertain tax positions.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
We do not have any off-balance sheet arrangements that have, or are reasonably likely to have, a material effect on our financial condition, financial statements, revenues or expenses.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
Refer to Note 1
Results of Operations for Fiscal Years Ended December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019
The following table compares the Company’s consolidated statements of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.
Year Ended December 31,
Sales of Products
Sales of Engineering Services
Cost of Sales:
Cost of Sales — Products Sold
Cost of Sales — Inventory Reserve for Obsolescence
Cost of Sales — Engineering Services
Total Cost of Sales
Gross Profit (Loss) (exclusive of depreciation shown separately below)
Gross Profit (Loss) %
Research and Development
Selling and Marketing
General and Administrative
Depreciation and Amortization
Impairment of Patents and Trademarks
Loss from Operations
Other Income (Expense):
Foreign Exchange Loss
Gain on Debt Extinguishment, net of Loss on Note Receivable
Total Other Income, Net
Sales. There was an increase in total sales for the year ended December 31, 2020 from those in 2019 of $4,910,892 or 74%. The following table reflects the major components of our sales:
December 31, 2020
December 31, 2019
Sales of Smart Glasses
Sales of OEM Products
Sales of Waveguides & Display Engines
Sales Freight out
Sales of Engineering Services
Sales of Smart Glasses products for the year ended December 31, 2020 rose by 107% over the same period in 2019, primarily the result of stronger customer demand for our new M-Series models, which were not available for sale for the entire comparable period in 2019. Sales revenues from our M-Series Smart Glasses were $8,406,623, a 112% increase of $4,432,628 over the prior year’s comparable period. Total M-Series unit sales increased by 109% for the year ended December 31, 2020 versus the same period in 2019. Revenues of Blade Smart Glasses decreased by $240,747 or 14%, primarily driven by lower average sales price as compared to 2019.
Sales of OEM Products were nil for the year ended December 31, 2020 as compared to $951,570 in the 2019 period. No new further customer orders for those particular OEM products have been received since spring of 2019 and none are currently contemplated from that customer going forward.
Sales of Standalone Waveguides and Display Engines for the year ended December 31, 2020 were nil versus $152,499 in the prior year’s comparable period. These are made-to-order products and no new orders were received in the 2020 period, outside of small deliveries under our current engineering services programs.
Sales of Engineering Services for the year ended December 31, 2020 were $1,500,287 as compared to $673,151 in the 2019 comparable period. The revenue recognized in the year ended December 31, 2020 for engineering services was primarily a result of several waveguide and display engine development projects which commenced in the first and second quarters of 2020. The majority, all but two, of these projects were completed and delivered in 2020.
Cost of Sales and Gross Profit (Loss). Cost of product revenues and engineering services are comprised of materials, components, labor, warranty costs, freight costs, manufacturing overhead, software royalties, and the non-cash amortization of software development costs related to the production of our products and rendering of engineering services. The following table reflects the components of our cost of goods sold for products:
As % Related
As % Related
December 31, 2020
December 31, 2019
Product Cost of Sales
Amortization of Software Development Costs
Total Cost of Sales — Products Sold
Gross Profit (Loss) — Before Reserve for Obsolescence
Cost of Sales — Inventory Reserve for Obsolescence
Gross Profit (Loss) — Products Total
Gross Profit — Engineering Services
Total Gross Profit (Loss)
For the year ended December 31, 2020, we reported an overall gross profit from product sales, before inventory obsolescences, of $1,983,195 as compared to a gross loss of $336,880 in the same period in 2019. On a product cost of sales basis only, product direct costs were 54% of sales in the 2020 period as compared to 64% in 2019, primarily driven by higher margins earned on the M400 in 2020 versus that of the M300 series in the same period in 2019, a period when the M400 was not yet available for sale until the fourth quarter. Product margin was also positively impacted by the sales of some older M-series products that were fully reserved for obsolescence in prior periods.
Manufacturing overhead costs for the year ended December 31, 2020 decreased by $129,533 or 7% and, as a percentage of total product sales, decreased to 16% from 29% over the same period in 2019. There was warranty expense of $45,005 for the year ended December 31, 2020 as compared to a gain of $119,154 in the same period in 2019, as in 2019 warranty returns were substantially less than the amounts that had been previously provisioned for.
In addition to its normal Reserve for Obsolescence provision, for the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company reserved for (i) fifty percent of its finished goods inventory and all of its component parts related to its M300XL Smart Glasses product, as they are at a disadvantaged selling position against our newer, improved M400 product introduced in September 2019 and our new M4000 product introduced in the fourth quarter of 2020 and (ii) all of its finished goods inventory related to its Smart Swim product, as sales of this product have been negligible largely due to decreased venues for its use due to the current pandemic. The total reserve write-down recorded for the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2020 was $773,235. In addition, the Company had previously written-down $500,600 through the third quarter of 2020 for the component parts related to its original Blade and Smart Swim products. The
write-down and obsolescence provision totaled $1,273,835 and $4,572,659 for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. These provisions were included in Cost of Sales on the Consolidated Statements of Operations.
Costs for engineering services for the year ended December 31, 2020 were $282,038 as compared to $171,733 in 2019. The majority of the 2020 period amounts represented the reclassification of our internal R&D wage costs associated with several waveguide development projects. There was a gross profit of $1,218,249 from engineering services for the year ended December 31, 2020 versus $501,418 in the same period in 2019.
Research and Development. Our research and development expenses consist primarily of compensation costs for personnel, related stock-based compensation expenses, third-party services, purchase of research supplies and materials, and consulting fees related to research and development. Software development expenses to determine technical feasibility before final development and ongoing maintenance are not capitalized and are included in research and development costs.
December 31, 2020
December 31, 2019
Research and Development
Research and development costs for the year ended December 31, 2020 decreased by $1,332,763 or 15% as compared to the same period in 2019. This reduction was largely driven by decreases of $1,074,669 in external consulting fees related to our M400 Smart Glasses development work in 2019 and Blade software development, which was completed in 2019; $157,232 in net salary, stock-based compensation and hiring costs as a result of reclassifying research and development wages to engineering services costs of sales; $86,794 in research and development supplies expenses; $83,297 in travel related expenses; $56,916 in rental expenses; partially offset by an increase in external consulting fees of $160,494 related our M4000 development as we brought that product to market in the fourth quarter.
Selling and Marketing. Selling and marketing costs consist of trade show costs, advertising, sales samples, travel costs, sales staff compensation costs including stock-based compensation expense, consulting fees, public relations agency fees, website costs and sales commissions paid to full-time staff and outside consultants.
December 31, 2020
December 31, 2019
Selling and Marketing
Selling and marketing costs for the year ended December 31, 2020 decreased by $175,839 or 4% as compared to the same period in 2019. This reduction in costs was due to the following factors: a decrease in trade shows of $387,459; a $232,607 decrease in external consulting fees paid to foreign sales staff, which were terminated in 2019; a $149,219 decrease in travel related expenses due to 2020 pandemic conditions, partially offset by a $276,007 increase in salary and stock-based compensation expenses; a $192,751 increase in commissions largely due to commissions payable to TDG pursuant to our non-compete agreement amendment (as described in Note 7 of the financial statements); a $59,844 increase in advertising costs; and a $93,399 increase in computer software subscriptions.
General and Administrative. General and administrative costs include professional fees, investor relations (IR) costs, salaries and related stock compensation, travel costs, office and rental costs.
December 31, 2020
December 31, 2019
General and Administrative
General and administrative costs for the year ended December 31, 2020 increased by $315,121 or 5% as compared to the same period in 2019. This increase in costs was due: net increase in salary and stock-based compensation expenses of $616,466. The net increase was due to a reduction in cash salaries paid of $230,598, offset by an increase of $847,064 in stock-based compensation, which resulted from the voluntary salary reduction program that the Company implemented in May 2020; an increase in IR and shareholder related expenses of $184,468; an increase in insurance premiums of $87,106; and an increase of $32,628 in computer and software related expenses; partially offset
by a decrease in legal fees of $319,831; a decrease in IT and security consulting fees of $150,000; and a decrease in travel related expenses of $184,300 due to 2020 pandemic conditions.
Depreciation and Amortization. Depreciation and amortization expense for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $2,458,482 as compared to $2,441,581 in the same period in 2019, an increase of $16,901. The increase in depreciation expense is due to new investments in depreciable assets, including manufacturing equipment and molds placed into service from construction-in-progress, largely offset by a reduction in depreciation expense related to our leashold improvements in our West Henrietta location, which became fully amortized in October 2020.
Other Income (Expense), Net. Total other income, net was $1,175,292 for the year ended December 31, 2020 as compared to income of $89,872 in the period in 2019. The overall increase of $1,085,420 in other income was primarily the result of a net increase in Gain on Debt Extinguishment, net of Loss on Note Receivable of $1,305,900. This net gain resulted from our $1,555,900 gain realized on the forgiveness of our Paycheck Protection Program Loan by the SBA, partially offset by our $250,000 loss on a term note we purchased in 2019; an increase of $15,620 in foreign exchange losses; and a decrease of $211,296 in investment interest income, as interest rates decreased significantly in 2020, as compared to interest rates in 2019.
Provision for Income Taxes. There were no provisions for income taxes in 2020 or 2019.