By Rob Patey

It’s human nature to fear the unknown. While a few brave pioneers will valiantly traverse unchartered waters, as a whole our species will pick up pitchforks versus embracing that which is new and different. Case in point; Google Glass. The wearers already have derogatory terms in place, Tumblr sites are already showcasing demographic disparities in its wearers, and everyone has written off this moonshot project before it has even hit the Launchpad. I’m offering a different answer. Even if Google Glass sputters before it gets out the door; let’s look at the elements of this baby before we toss it out with the bathwater.  

Google Glass  – Our new PC, Not Frankenstein

Google GlassWhen Google Glass started hitting the streets recently, the Internet responded as it often does. Fear, chiding and a slew of puns have already become some of the top searches for life’s little Heads-up-Display (HUD).  I won’t say Google Glass is perfect, but show me any pioneering technology that hits a homerun on the first pitch? It took a few Apollo flights to get to the moon. The PC didn’t make it to every desk until long after its inception, and despite the information sharing benefits of social media there is still a wide world of naysayers who simply find it a waste of time. Sure Google Glass has some problems in functionality and design, but that’s today. Instead of simply writing off this technology I would like to play an optimistic game of “what if” to imagine what Google Glass could be.

Data Hands Free, for Every Industry

No matter how slick the new iOS 7 interface looks or how gargantuan Samsung makes its next Android devices; there is still that persnickety problem of having to actually hold the device and avert your eye focus to look at the screen. This archaic way of getting information takes away a necessary appendage (possibly two depending on how small your hands are and how big your smartphone is) and can be a frustrating exercise in swipe sizing information so it can be seen clearly.

Yes, Google Glass has induced a few headaches, but it’s hard to deny that this perfect positioning of all life’s information will let you keep your hands free for say:

  • Healthcare: Imagine a world where a surgeon can keep their eye on the insides of the patient, but with a quick glance up get all vitals and any research needed to make things run smoother. I’m not condoning that anyone should multi-task during pivotal life moments, but the “dual-screen” approach to information gathering has already proven beneficial.
  • Manufacturing: Real-time information from Supply Chain Management systems have already replaced the human eye for inventory control and productivity efficiencies. With Google Glass though, a floor manager can keep their eyes on the actual floor and dashboards at the same time allowing for a perfect integration of real-time reaction to any data streaming in from information systems.
  • Education: Teachers have always wanted eyes in the back of their heads, but with Google Glass you omit the need to turn around. Currently teachers are using iPads and Android tablets to obliterate the need for a chalkboard with Educational Apps that deliver problems directly to students’ devices. In the Google Glass world the teacher won’t even have to look down to distribute the geometric equation or administer a poll about the Presidents. Answers will come back in real-time and will ensure full participation – even from the kids trying to hide in the back of the room.

IT – Google Glass’ First Frontier

All of this prognosticating will take time. Not a lot of time, but certainly a few years since Glass is still in its Beta infancy. Short term usage and rewards are here though, and they seem to come from the most likely of places – the lovers of all things Bleeding Edge, IT.

frank_S_google_glassFiberlink, the leader in cloud-based enterprise mobility management (EMM), announced that its MaaS360 platform supports the ability to monitor a mobile IT environment and perform administrative actions directly through Google Glass. The leader in Mobile Device, app and doc management even has a pair on site.

“Google Glass is a great example of how IT can adopt innovative technology to enhance the management and enablement of the mobile workplace,” said Frank Schloendorn, Google Glass test driver and director of Android ecosystem at Fiberlink. He continued, “The freedom to take action on the go and help someone at any time, all by looking through Google Glass, is an amazing experience. It’s just plain cool.”

Google Glass isn’t an immediate problem solver, but rather a window of pure evolutionary potential that further breaks the barriers in human and machine interactions.