The future is now for Vision Service Plan: The Rancho Cordova-based insurer is teaming with Google to manufacture and distribute prescription lenses developed expressly for Google Glass, the revolutionary computer-enabled eyewear expected to hit the retail market later this year. The partnership—which The New York Times called “a coup for Google”—is the latest in a swift series of milestones at VSP, including The SHOP (a new innovation lab in midtown) and a Folsom production facility set for November.
Through VSP’s design wing (which also crafts eyewear for Diane von Furstenberg, Nike and other A-list brands), Google can further resolve how to make Glass play well with real glasses while touting the imprimatur of the nation’s leading vision insurer. Moreover, says VSP Vision Care president Jim McGrann, the Google pact reflects his company’s increased focus on ingenuity as a competitive advantage—one that reflects the ethos of its new Silicon Valley ally.
“Obviously, to begin our life with our innovation lab at the same time we’re working with Google’s innovation lab—which is by far one of the premier innovation labs in the country—was really exciting,” McGrann says. “What we learned was that we had a lot to bring to the table.”