As Glass explorers we get asked what the (business) potential is, and what it can mean for developers.
Taking pictures and video or getting information from the internet seems to be the biggest need for the first time Google Glass™ users.
But the technology that Google Glass™ provides is much bigger, and it is already being trailed in different industries. So what are some real-world applications that are already being developed
Using Google Glass™ in healthcare has a big potential. Not only for the specialist, but also for patients and students. Google Glass™ can be applied in different settings. During operative procedures, outside the hospital like trauma-helicopter and during house calls. Radboud UMC (The Netherlands) are doing research on the use of Google Glass™ in the operating room. Using the video footage that is being live streamed shows the surgeons perspective and is useful for medical students and colleagues. And asking a colleague in another location (or country perhaps) to have a look while operating is made possible.
Helping nurses or doctors to identify patients so up-to-date information is always at hand (or eye) which increases the efficiency of staff and accuracy of treatment given to patients.
We are currently testing a Glass application called MedicAR which combines augmented reality and Google Glass™ to improve the simulation and teaching of certain procedures in surgery and patient care.
Talking about augmented reality
2. Augmented Reality
Google Glass™ and the use of AR (augmented reality) allows you to enhance the user experience and support the customer with additional information to better serve their needs. Maybe a few years from now we will be living in an AR world. Google Glass™ applications will be available to highlight the health benefits of foods and any promotions while shopping. Google Glass™ retail assistants will be able to help customers by providing information on products and check stock levels.
Layar has created a Google Glass™ application to view their AR content. It allows the consumer to look at geo location information, view movie trailers right from the poster and accessing extra content hidden away in magazines.
3. Assistance for the disabled
Google Glass™ has the potential to make life-changing differences for those with disabilities. Because Google Glass™ is voice activated, it can be incredibly beneficial. The hands-free form factor allows paraplegics to easily stay connected without using their hands.
With facial analytics, it’s possible to, with the subject’s approval, have Google Glass™ scan a face and put up a green light if the person is intrigued, yellow if they’re confused or red if they’re bored.
This helps those with conditions such as Agnosia to make sense of facial expressions.
Google Glass™ is also being used to help those who, or know people that are blind or deaf. The Smartsign app is designed to enhance communication between parents and their deaf children. It can be difficult for parents to keep up with children who may be learning sign language at a rapid pace and this can disrupt communication. The application allows parents to look up words so they can communicate effectively, instead of having to consult a nearby book or computer.
Already warehouse managers and trucking companies have tools to monitor stock levels and positioning, but Google Glass™ can offer more effective, compact and less obtrusive ways to collect the (real time) data. The camera will play a pivotal role – allowing to scan barcodes and NFC tags to identify packages, bring up order records and verify the location. The benefits are that operations can move faster and safer as handlers have both hands available.
5. Public service
Imagine the police wearing Google Glass™, supplying them with critical information at the right moment. Scanning a numberplate to know if the driver has a firearm is useful information to protect the user, or prevent bad situations. Firefighter Patrick Jackson created a Google Glass™ that can show nearby hydrants at the location of the incident. In the near future his application can provide him with vital information, like building blueprints, floor plans and emergency exits, before he even enters the building.
In my opinion probably every industry would have some use for Google Glass™. New (business) cases will emerge from trial and error as early adopters discover what works and what doesn’t. And with any new technology, it’s important to carefully evaluate whether or not the potential benefits make sense to you and/or your organization.
In essence, the technology that Google Glass™ provides is easily learned by Android developers but like most revolutionary technologies the main challenge is finding useful applications.