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Google Glass - a new corporate tool?

Jane Bird

Financial Times

12 February 2014

Chris Steel, head of PA’s US IT practice, is extensively quoted in the Financial Times, in an article about the potential business applications of Google Glass.

Chris explains that Google has targeted the $1,500 – Glass at consumers, and is encouraging people in the US to devise ways to use it. But there is tremendous potential in the business market, he says.

He goes on to say: “I wouldn’t be surprised if Google changes focus to the corporate market within the next year or so”.

He continues by explaining that Glass makes it possible to create an “augmented reality”, displaying diagrams, instructions, maps of an area or blueprints of a building or piece of equipment. 

Chris comments on the functions of Google Glass and says that being able to use voice commands, keep your hands free, and not have to look at a tablet or notebook computer is ideal for a wide range of professional users including field engineers, insurance assessors and security personnel.

The article points out that PA is currently developing Glass applications for asset inspection and to assist surgeons during operations.

Chris continues: “The technology could also be useful in a fast moving environment such as a physical trading floor; people could use it to ask the prices of assets, stocks or commodities.” Chris gives an example of the potential of Glass in retail, for example in large warehouses where it could be used for finding product and managing inventory, as Glass has a built-in QR code reader.

Chris points out that certain uses of Glass - such as experts giving advice remotely to engineers via streamed videos - could help organisations cope with the large numbers of people who are soon to retire from skilled professions: “Smartglasses would enable on-the job training and let people perform tasks even if they cannot remember all the procedures themselves,” says Chris.

Despite the benefits, one of the concerns of Google Glass is security. However, Chris says that fears about the invasion of privacy, which could generate opposition to the use of smartglasses in public places, are less of a problem in the enterprise environment, which is more managed and controlled.

Chris concludes by commenting on one of the big problems with Glass being its short battery life: “The battery gets hot, which is not ideal for a device that is worn on the head. So much is being invested in battery power development that this will be solved.” 

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