May 18, 2015
You’ve probably seen many headlines claiming that Google Glass is dead, especially following Google’s January decision to stop selling the first version of Glass and end its Explorer program. This week, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt spoke with the Wall Street Journal, essentially defending the vitality & significance of Glass. Whatever the future of Glass as far as its ultimate form factor, function, and price, I can personally confirm that the wearable device is indeed far from dead, at least in the enterprise. Here are 5 companies – some well-profiled in the news plus a few that are rarely cited – who are using or experimenting with Google Glass in exciting ways in the workplace.
Out of all the user cases I have come across, Richard Branson’s airline has perhaps received the most attention for its Google Glass trial at Heathrow Airport. Virgin agents at the London airport used Glass to welcome the airline’s first-class passengers & efficiently process them for their flight, all while maintaining eye contact. In this pilot, Google Glass was incorporated into a highly innovative customer service program, which to my mind indicates exciting changes for the future of the travel & hospitality industries. Security was an important aspect of the trial; and Virgin has also indicated plans to use Glass as a guiding & communication tool for technicians and engineers carrying out maintenance work on its aircraft.
UC Irvine Health
Despite its short battery life, connectivity issues, and privacy concerns, doctors and paramedics alike have found uses for Google Glass; and other healthcare & medical applications for wearable technology have made headlines, as well.
At UC Irvine Medical Center, Glass enhanced with HIPAA-compliant, high-resolution video streaming was employed to monitor residents’ procedures for communication, patient safety, and training purposes. Wearing Glass, an attending physician in another part of the operating suite was able to see what the residents saw and stay in contact during the procedure via audio alerts.
Other possibilities being explored for Glass at the California medical center include aiding a non-expert in an emergency response situation to conduct an ultrasound while streaming the results back to a specialist, and projecting safety checklists into a surgeon’s field of vision. Certainly, doctors have found Glass pretty exciting.
At Rogers-O’Brien Construction, a leading general contractor in Texas, Glass is being used to capture, share, and collaborate on jobsite information, all hands-free. This is helping the company to improve field efficiency & create safer working conditions. Additionally, the company is using the easy accessibility of information afforded by the Glass technology to bolster training amongst its employees.
One of the most obvious & potentially life-saving applications for Google Glass lies within the field of emergency services, as well as other public safety & security jobs.
MedEx, a Chicago-based provider of ambulance & telemedicine services, recently announced that it was rolling out 10 ambulances equipped with Google Glass. Using the technology, paramedics can now prepare ER doctors for an incoming patient, document a call, or stream in a remote specialist into the ambulance for consultation via real-time audio and video capabilities.
The use of Glass by first responders, including paramedics, police officers, and firefighters, could potentially mean the difference between life & death.
Employees at KFC provide us with another great example of Glass’ potential within the workplace, this time in the food industry.
The restaurant chain – part of Yum! Brands – has tested Glass for new recruit training purposes. With the help of Interapt, a mobile & wearable technology strategy firm, KFC takes advantage of Glass’ ability to retrieve detailed tutorials (also recorded with the smartglasses) instantly & hands-free. Whenever employees need reminders about certain tasks, they can count on Glass.
It will be exciting to see how the restaurant industry expands its use of Glass & other wearable technology in the future.