Google Glass at Work

24th November 2014

In the past, when we have talked about Google Glass we mentioned the fact that it was produced mainly as a commercial device. Where other wearables will naturally find a place in industry and the workplace, Google Glass has often been seen as a consumer product; a personal gadget. There are some organisations that have seen its potential as Glass is now being put to use in the workplace, helping certain industries to improve their productivity and provide a better service to their customers.

A Touch of Glass

The uses that Google Glass has in the construction industry, and the recent innovative uses within the medical industry, could see specific app development or even next generation hardware adjustments specifically to modify the design to suit specific purposes. CNN highlight Glass’ failings as a commercial product, pointing to users’ privacy and everyday usability concerns. However, in industries such as construction or health, where hands need to be kept free or sterile, Google Glass comes into its own. For example, patient details or vital signs can be displayed on the display, and surgeons are able to film or broadcast procedures with the camera built into the device. This can be done without using hands, keeping them clean and free to perform intricate tasks safely and hygienically.

Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Wearables aren’t just benefitting these industries already mentioned; they are also being put to use to improve customer service. Virgin Atlantic are currently trialling wearable technology for their check in procedures. Cabin crew are able to scan passports using Google Glass, which then uses that information to pull up booking information. There have been suggestions that portable printers will also be worn by staff in order to print boarding passes and travel documents. This could stretch to smart watches which can be used to communicate small pieces of information quickly, such as delays or to communicate that the pilot is ready.

Hospitality and catering may benefit from a “hands free” device like Google Glass. Chefs and bar staff rely on their hands to work, and when a reminder of a recipe is needed, a quick vocal cue could bring up the necessary information on Glass’ screen. Perhaps the old order ticket system can be done away with too. Waiters and servers can simply send orders through to chefs’ or bar staff’s headsets, reducing incorrect orders and saving time. It has also been reported that Taco Bell and KFC are considering using Google Glass to train employees on recipes and ratios of ingredients when preparing food in the kitchen.

Change of Perspective

Google is more than aware of the uses that Glass is being put to in the workplace and is partnering up with carefully selected companies, giving them access to their technical experts if they believe that the product is useful enough; Google may be concerned about whether or not their products are relevant and beneficial. When Glass was released, many people turned their nose up, believing the headset to be a gimmick. This is proving far from the case.

So far, wearables in industry has been a slow, steady adoption with many companies opting to trial technology before jumping in headfirst. This is sensible of course, as there are lots of safety and privacy concerns still to be addressed. What is clear though, is that wearable technology looks set to carry on growing for industrial purposes, and we may see an increase in purpose-built wearables for specific industries.