Innovation is at the heart of EssilorLuxottica’s growth story. From product and design innovation to reimagining the consumer experience to establishing new business models, our teams constantly push the boundaries of what’s possible and question how we can better serve both our professional customers and our consumers.
Pioneering eyewear technologies and design
Consumers drive our innovation process from initial research and product development through to wearer testing. We use real-life testing environments including Essilor’s immersive House Lab and the Oakley Vision Performance Lab, which seek to better understand consumers’ needs and continually improve our vision solutions.
Our researchers, engineers and designers have over the years explored and experimented with new technologies, techniques and materials – some of which had never been used in the optical industry before. Home to over 9,000 patents, the combined company, has reinvented what eye care and eyewear can do for consumers, resulting in many industry firsts.
Since its invention of the first Varilux® progressive lens in 1959, Essilor's R&D team have innovated over the decades to build one of the world’s leading brands for presbyopia correction: the latest generation Varilux® X series™ lens is designed to meet the visual needs of active and highly connected Generation Xers. Essilor also gave the world its first organic, or plastic, lens and the world’s first organic photochromic lens under the Transitions® brand, today renowned for its lenses that darken depending on the intensity of light. More recently Essilor created Eye Protect System™, the first embedded protection against harmful blue-violet light in an aesthetically clear ophthalmic lens.
Luxottica’s R&D team has brought to life some of the biggest innovations in frames and sun lenses.
For example, the company made the bold move to incorporate aerospace material – the same kind used in building space shuttles – into its Ray-Ban frames to make them lighter on the face and more indestructible. Luxottica also introduced a new dimension of eye protection with Oakley’s Plutonite®, a lightweight and shatterproof lens material which can withstand impact of a baseball thrown at 102 mph. And by studying the mechanical parts of the frame that come in direct contact with the face, Luxottica paved the way for new frame elements ranging from interchangeable nose pads to flexible hinges.
As consumer behavior and expectations have evolved, our teams have risen to the challenge of developing new ways to help people choose the eyewear product that best suits their needs. From revolutionary refraction tools such as Vision-R™ 800 device that provides faster, more accurate prescriptions for patients to Nautilus™, the first 3D virtual reality device that allows consumers to test their future lenses in-store to Oakley Prizm Lens Technology, which uses proprietary technology to fine-tune color and contrast for any environment, and Oakley Radar Pace, a real-time voice activated coaching system, we are raising the bar every day.
Business model innovation
Our vertically-integrated business model is perhaps the most game-changing innovation of all. It gives us the ability to integrate the same high quality standards and pursuit of excellence at every stage of the value chain, enabling us to expand our reach and improve access to personalized eyewear solutions for consumers everywhere.
Our direct distribution and sales networks both on the wholesale and retail side give us close proximity to end consumers, allowing us to better anticipate their needs and desires. Those distribution networks are further supported by our online channels which serve several million unique visitors each year and create a true 360 degree relationship with our consumers.
We go one step further by developing new inclusive business models to reach consumers in underserved markets. Working with various partners, we train local micro-entrepreneurs and provide adapted solutions to create sustainable vision care services in low-income communities.