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Top Features of Smart Glasses: See-what-I-see Communication

Written BY

Emily Friedman

May 24, 2016

What are the main features of smart glasses that make them so attractive to enterprises? Real enterprise organizations – both large and small – are seeing real benefits and improvements from the adoption of smart eyewear among their workforces. You need only read the speaker lineup for next month’s EWTS East to appreciate that smart glasses and other wearables are alive, in use, and evolving at some of the world’s largest and most powerful companies, including General Electric, Walmart, BMW, and Boeing.

In our newest four-part blog series, we shine the spotlight on four major features or capabilities of smart glass technology:

  1. Hands-free still image, video and audio capture (Read Top Features of Smart Glasses: Hands-free Documentation)
  2. Real-time sharing of wearer’s POV
  3. Hands-free, on-the-spot access to information
  4. Augmenting the real world

In this post, we will focus on real-time sharing of the wearer’s point of view, a feature that makes smart glasses useful for see-what-I-see communication between, say, two colleagues separated by distance, a customer and a remote support technician, or a worker in the field and an office-based specialist or supervisor. Let’s look at a few use cases:

Real-time sharing of wearer’s POV

As you know, most smart glasses come equipped with an (HD) camera and microphone. Combining the hands-free, first-person perspective recording capabilities of these devices with an Internet connection and collaboration software makes for an extremely valuable enterprise tool, as well as a major improvement over traditional remote guidance and support solutions.

IDEC Santé and AMA Applications

Some of the earliest use cases of smart glasses hailed from the health care and field service sectors. Doctors and field service professionals were quick to recognize Google Glass as a practical tool for taking pictures and recording video of complex situations to share with others in real time.

AMA is a French company that established itself early on as a provider of telemedicine solutions utilizing Google Glass, becoming one of ten certified Glass at Work partners. Read about an early (2014) use case in which AMA helped Dr. Philippe Collin, an orthopedic surgeon at the Centre Hospitalier Privé Saint Grégoire in Rennes, France, to live stream a shoulder operation he was performing to colleagues at Nagoya Hospital in Japan.

From the O.R. to in-home healthcare

More recently, private nurses in Brittany, France have been trialing AMA’s smart glass telemedicine solution. IDEC Santé is an organization that works with different nursing institutions from around the Brittany region. A group of its nurses specializing in chronic wound care has been using AMA’s solution Xpert Eye with 10 of its geriatric patients. The solution enables the nurses to provide better care at the patient’s home. Here’s how:

The Xpert Eye solution enables the Google Glass user to show a remote expert exactly what he or she is seeing. In the case of IDEC Santé, the user is a nurse and the expert is Docteur Lembelembe, geriatrician at the Clinique des Augustines in Malestroit.

Imagine a Skype-like messaging system but instead of two parties each staring at a computer screen and seeing the other’s face via webcam, one party is wearing smart glasses and both are sharing the same view–that which the Glass wearer is seeing through his or her device.

So the nurse is able to share her vision of a patient’s wound with the doctor, while remaining at the patient’s side and using both hands to provide care. Neither the doctor nor the elderly patient must bear the burden of traveling; and yet the doctor is still “there” to observe the patient and assist the nurse thanks to the smart glass solution.

Using companion smart screens while on the call, the nurse and doctor can communicate entirely audiovisually (although there is a text chat option), as well as zoom into and out of an area as seen through the nurse’s smart glasses, and even take and share annotated pictures–all in real time.

This see-what-I-see communication is granted by the ability to record and instantly share the nurse’s view through smart glasses; and all parties truly benefit:

  • As mentioned, both the doctor and patient save time and money by not having to travel. In many cases, it would be difficult for the elderly patient to move, so patients are spared a physical burden, as well.
  • The nurses, for their part, experience a more direct link to the doctors with whom they work. The expert, on-the-spot guidance they receive enables them to provide faster and more informed care while also developing hands-on skills.
  • Additional benefits include streamlined protocols for writing reports and faster patient healing.

Read yet another use case of AMA’s smart glass solution by Dr. Paul Szotek, Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery, Acute Care and Trauma Surgery, at Indiana University Health. Dr. Szotek will be speaking next month in Atlanta.

Learn more about “see-what-I-see” wearable solutions at EWTS East, where Anne-Fleur Andrle, Executive Director, AMA XpertEye Inc., and Mark Noble, VP of Telehealth Business Development, Vidyo, will be presenting a joint case study.

Heal’s

We’ve written about GoInStore’s smart glass solution for retail before, but the truth is the UK company makes novel use of the see-what-I-see power of smart glasses to solve a common pain point felt by retailers in an increasingly e-commerce dominant world.

Heal’s is a UK furniture retailer that is trialing the use of smart glasses to “join up” its online and in-store retail operations.

It’s one thing to shop for a pair of sneakers or headphones online–you know your shoe size and can read customer reviews in order to get a sense for which model of headphones is right for you. And while most would still consider it more ideal to try out the running shoes or headphones in person; there is synergy between the online and in-store shopping experiences for such items.

But what about large items, expensive products, fine goods? It’s not as easy to make an informed decision about a car, a diamond bracelet, or a piece of furniture based upon online product descriptions and buyer reviews. And so, in an industry hell-bent on ever improving the omnichannel shopping experience, where does that leave automotive dealers, luxury goods sellers, and furniture retailers?

To close the gap somewhat between the online and offline shopping experience for its customers, Heal’s is equipping store staff with smart glasses so that web shoppers can have a (virtual) look at specific products in the store from wherever they are located. Through the staff’s eyes, shoppers can examine Heal’s luxury and designer furniture, giving them more personalized and in-depth insight than would otherwise be possible in a traditional online shopping “environment” (i.e. on the company’s website).

Enabling online shoppers to share a store salesperson’s first-person view of an item that is hard to evaluate out-of-store – either because of size, material, or the product is “experiential” (like a car) – can solve a number of pain points for a company like Heal’s. For one, a solution like GoInStore’s breaks down some of the traditional restrictions of internet shopping for high-end items.

Can’t tell from the picture on the website whether the finish or color of a piece of furniture will match your living room? Need more information about the quality or feel of the fabric? Want to look inside a chest of drawers or determine how easily a sofa folds out? Just ask the in-store staff to get a closer look or test out something for you, and watch through his/her smart glasses. It’s the next best thing to visiting the brick-and-mortar store to speak with an expert and touch/examine the product yourself; and a definite upgrade from the live chat window method of online customer support.

When it comes to high-end goods like jewelry or high fidelity, online shopping via a store employee’s smart glasses can potentially reduce the number of returns for purchases made over the Web. Beyond assisting shoppers in the research or browsing phase online, Heal’s believes GoInStore’s technology can also help validate their choices. The retailer plans to contact individuals who have already made a web purchase, offering to give them a virtual “tour” of the product they are set to receive, with a smart glass-wearing in-store staff member serving as tour guide.

What GoInStore and its retail clients have discovered is that smart glass technology can mimic what many still value about the classic store experience. That one-to-one interaction between shopper and physical item and between shopper and knowledgeable salesperson.

Interestingly, Heal’s says that its use of smart glasses is not meant to improve one retail channel over another. Sales achieved in this way will be attributed to the shop staff, so that the two areas of the retailer’s business – digital and physical – will feed off one another to close sales and provide an overall better shopping experience.

Further Reading