Google Glass lived a short, sad life. And when you look back it feels like a piece of a dream. But the dream is not over yet, because Glas has found an industrial career.
Why Glass Failed as a Consumer Unit
There was a lot of hype around Google Glass when it was announced in 2012. It was featured in Magazine magazine, approved by celebrities, and adorned the future of smart devices. But the smart eyeglass was coated by the media, and it became a big joke in the public eye. Google made some awkward attempts to keep the public interested in glass (they put Google ice cream in the shower and they interrupted a Google+ keynote to run glass carriers from an airplane), but the glass never took up steam and its public life ended in 2015.
Why did it fail? For one, no one knew what ice cream would do. Google itself couldn't find any uses for the product. Instead of developing life-changing software to showcase the glass's capacity, they released some uncomfortable videos that made the glass look like a dull extension of your cell phone. Customers included in the "Explorer" program (anyone who bought the device) were encouraged to build software on their own, a viewer that would be more exciting if the unit cost less than $ 1500.
But most of the glass "woes were related to privacy and security issues. The glass was equipped with a camera, and people were understandably afraid of a future where someone could walk around with a camera on their face. There was no way to tell when someone used their glass to record video or take pictures, so people assumed that glass users recorded everything, many states banned people from wearing the glass while driving, as it is an obvious visual distraction, and many companies (cinemas, in particular) banned the device because of its camera.
This should not say that the glass is a bad part of hardware, it was just not ready to be thrown into the consumer market, if anything, the product was still in beta mode, it had many obvious kinks that Google needed to work out, device security and privacy issues were also legitimate and predictable, and Google should have taken the time to consider them before giving prod the week so much publicity.
How glass quietly joined the workforce
While Glass was publicly foaming, Google silently tested it in the industry world. Google's "building own applications" methods did not appeal to many consumers, but it sounded like a good deal for some companies. Early adopters, such as Boeing, could afford to spend thousands of dollars on smart glasses and they had the resources to develop a useful software.
When Google noticed that Boeing and other companies were much more interested in glass than your average consumer, they leaned into it. After the Glass Explorer program ended in 2015, Google began working on an "Enterprise" edition of the device – a version designed specifically for industrial use, but addresses most problems people had with the glass.
Glass Enterprise is a lighter and more comfortable glasses than the Explorer release. It has a battery life that exceeds eight hours (ideal for vacation shifts in a warehouse), and it is equipped with an LED that tells others when taking pictures or recording video. Glass Enterprise hardware is also much more flexible than the Explorer release. People can remove the company from their standard glasses and attach it to safety goggles or the inside of a helmet.
You can theoretically use Glass Enterprise when wearing sunglasses, goggles or even a pair of goggles.
Glass company lowers costs and increases security
Boeing adopted glass for a purpose. They thought smart glasses could reduce exercise time and simplify their complicated assembly processes by removing paper guides and releasing people's hands. After developing some custom programs, they turned out to be right. Boeing reports that their glass applications result in a 30% reduction in employment and improve the quality of employees' work with a staggering 90%.
But engineers and factory workers are not the only ones clinging to the glass. Warehouse has found a number of uses for the unit. Smart glasses can tell employees the quickest way to the products they need, and they can automatically scan barcodes with a glance. They can also be used to track inventory and facilitate more precise communication between employees. It is not difficult to imagine how glass could replace the tablets, PA systems and bulky barcode readers that have become common in modern warehouses.
DHL, a company that works a lot in the freight industry, has been using glass in their warehouses since 2015. They use the device to reduce training time and increase the overall efficiency of their warehouse employees. They have reported that their use of Glass Enterprise makes the picking and packaging process 25% faster, a measurable increase in efficiency that could dramatically lower costs over the long term.
According to information, glass can improve the safety conditions in factories and warehouses by increasing the efficiency of communication between workers, and by making dangerous work (buildings in high altitude, difficult jobs) faster and easier. There are no hard data that give rise to Glass Security Report (companies are more interested in their bottom line), but it is reasonable to assume that it increases security by releasing their hands at least.
Where's the money?
Let's say you're a business owner, and you're interested in Google Glass. Where can you buy these things? Well, you can't buy the device directly from Google. You must sign a contract with a Glass Partner. These are companies that are licensed to develop and sell customized versions of glass for industrial purposes. They evaluate your company's needs and develop custom glass software solutions for you.
But what if you are a developer or hobbyist, and you want to buy a pair of glasses? You need to contact Streye, a Glass Partner offering individual couples in the Glass Enterprise for $ 1970. That's almost $ 500 more than the old consumer version of Ice Cream. It is certain to assume that most companies pay more than $ 1500 for each pair of these things they buy, but there is a chance that they will save some money by hiring the units.
We know that glass costs a lot, but how much money does Google make? It is difficult to find sales numbers for Glass Enterprise, but a report from Forrester Research predicts that the unit will add an extra one or two billion dollars to Google's handbag in 2025. It's a lot of money and other technology companies can't ignore such a big one untouched market. There have been rumors that Apple and Amazon are developing their own smart devices, a sign that smart glasses can become a multi-billion dollar aggressive industry.
If Amazon joins smart glasses, Google will have to work extra hard to keep track of. Amazon is renowned for its hell-efficient layers. They could save a lot of money by equipping their own employees with smart glasses. Not to mention that they would test their smart glasses every day on their own factory workers, which means they could develop applications for the device much faster than Google.
Future of Glasses
Glass is mostly used in factories and warehouses, but there are many glass partners trying to pull smart glasses into the medical and food industries. They claim that the unit can lower the costs of restaurants, help children with autism and give a better sense of independence for the blind. These companies are quite forward-thinking, but a quick review of their websites shows that they are still grossly underdeveloped and impractical. Much work needs to be done before ice cream can patronizely tell fast food employees how to assemble a ham sandwich, and the technology must fall below $ 500 before any clean restaurant owner will consider adopting it.
But the fact that the Glass works well anywhere is kind of impressive, and at least mildly exciting. Hopefully, Glass has the chance to marinate in the industry before Google tries to reintroduce it to the public. After all, some of the biggest complaints about the device have already improved in the world of industry. And if Apple and Amazon join the smart glasses competition, then economic competition should speed up Glass Development.
On the other hand, Glass costs more than ever, it still gives an unpleasant atmosphere and it still looks a bit ridiculous. We just have to see how things develop.
Sources: Google, Wonolo, Glass Almanac, Wired