Google Glass could be a boon to business

Carter Lusher/Ovum
30 May 2013

Google Glass is a wearable computer with a head-mounted display and camera that incorporates many smartphone-like functions in a hands-free format that can interact with the Internet via natural-language voice commands.

The recent shipment of the initial batch of Google Glass to developers along with the publicity surrounding the Google I/O developer conference has ignited controversy in the press, blogosphere, and halls of government.

Luddites are outshouting the technology enthusiasts with dystopian visions of alienation and destruction of privacy. Members of the US Congress have written to Google expressing concerns about the societal implications of Glass.

While some of the concerns about privacy, etc. are legitimate, lost in all the Sturm und Drang is a calm evaluation of how businesses and public sector organizations could use Glass-like devices. While early in its development, Glass and its nascent competitors offer intriguing possibilities to improve business efficiency and effectiveness.

It’s all about the use cases

Recently, this analyst witnessed field service technicians struggling to fix a kitchen stove. It took four visits to replace a simple sensor because they had trouble identifying which was the correct replacement part to use.

The sensor was small with several connectors, and there were multiple versions of the part with slightly different connectors. Each technician at some point called second-level technical support and laboriously tried to explain over the phone what the sensor looked like. Because the stove was under warranty, whatever profit the manufacturer had made was completely burned by the inability to efficiently fix the problem.

If the field service technicians had been able to do a realtime video conference using Google Glass (available today) they could have shown the expert the part from many different angles, identifying the correct replacement accurately and quickly. This would have saved money and dramatically enhanced the customer experience.

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