The return of Google’s smart eyewear is here, re-invented, and this time with a focus on revolutionising the workplace.
Google Glass first came out in 2014 with the grand ambition to leap from smartphones to a glass screen interface that brings the internet into to the user’s line of vision. But after a backlash of criticism over privacy and it’s ability to secretly record, the augmented glasses failed to become the next big thing, and Google suspended sales of the eyewear in 2015.
Now simply called “Glass”, the gadget has been resurrected after two years of development, finding new life in the field of business. Over the last two years, limited numbers of the Enterprise Edition of Glass have been used by over 50 businesses, including GE, Volkswagen, and Dignity Health. During this time, Google worked closely with more than 30 expert partners to build business solutions and customized software for the workforce. Following its’ success, Google’s parent Alphabet have now launched the new version for wider distribution.
— Jay Kothari (@jkothari) July 18, 2017
Designed to help workers who need an eye-level display while they work with their hands; mapping out instruction manuals, sending photos, consulting for information or resources, and taking notes whilst a doctor interacts with a patient are amongst its many benefits. The augmented reality glasses claim to help workers complete tasks more efficiently than ever before, and the stats are in their favour.
- DHL estimates that they have increased supply chain efficiency by 15%.
- Dignity Health claim to have reduced the time they spend typing and doing other administrative work from 33 % to 10%, whilst the time spent interacting with patients doubled.
- Machinery time at AGCO reduced by 25 percent, and inspection times by 30 percent.
- GE saw improved mechanics’ efficiency by 8–12%.
GE were actually one of the first companies to try out Glass, whose mechanics use the device to show them instructions through videos, images, and animation in their field of vision whilst they are busy with their hands. This allows them to work with ease without pausing to check their notes or a computer. Check out GE’s video that directly compares using Glass with Upskill against current procedures for completing wiring insertions. The results show a 34.5% productivity improvement.
Veteran tech commentator, Steven Levy says:
By a side-by-side comparison of workers doing intricate wire-framing work with Glass’s help. It was like the difference between putting together Ikea furniture with those cryptic instructions somewhere across the room and doing it with real-time guidance from someone who’d constructed a million Billys and Poängs.
There’s also improvements in the design and hardware with increased power and battery life, better wi-fi support, and a more lightweight design for long-term wear.
And for those who were scared off by Google’s privacy issues the first time? Alphabet is making it clear their search or data engine will not be getting at the audio or visual stream of Glass, which now has a green light on the front to warn people when the device is recording. The Glass also has stronger software and information security, and is incorporated with a locked-down application that detaches it from the open internet.
Technology should be here to enhance, not replace human intelligence, and with rapid developments in A.I and the ever-growing fears of human jobs being replaced by robots, Glass is a nice welcome that helps humans remain competitive to A.I’s efficiency.