Google glass has been around for about two years now and although it occasionally makes it into the main stream media it remains on the margins of public use and acceptance. Clearly Google are taking a MVP approach of releasing it into the wild and seeing what users and developers do with it. It seems from the reaction of the two Google glass owners and evangelists at The Society of Glass Enthusiasts meet up, the answers is – not much at the moment.
Our meeting spent a fair amount of time talking about privacy issues as well as exploring Glass’s capabilities but struggled to find the ‘killer use case’ for everyday situations. What struck me was that Glass has a far better chance of immediate commercial success in the Business sector than it does in the consumer space and in particular, in high value manufacturing.
We provide information solutions to companies that have complex manufacturing processes, where mistakes are extremely costly or dangerous. Operators in these environments typically have two information systems to help them in their work. The first is the standard operating procedure (SOP) which tells them step by step what they need to do to complete a task. The second is a Learning Management System (LMS) which trains them on how to do each step. These two informations systems are supposed to give the operator enough knowledge to complete all the tasks they need to undertake safely, ‘Right first Time’, every time. The problem for operators is that training on an LMS is ‘out of process’ and can take place weeks and months before the operator needs to draw upon that knowledge.
Operators know what to do – it is written on the SOP – but they can sometimes be unsure how to do a task. TAG presents them with contextual knowledge that shows them how to do a task using rich media created and delivered by ‘local experts’.
The key to the success of TAG is that it delivers knowledge, when and at the point that it is needed. Google Glass as form factor is a compelling extension of that principle. Voice control, head and eye gestures, allow an operator the use of both hands, keep eyes on the task and access supporting material simultaneously.
Further more, an onboard camera allows operators to record critical tasks for audit at a later date. It can provide remote eyes on in a critical and dynamic situation by using a live feed and it can enable the operator to check off the items on an SOP as they are completed.
Google by no means have a monopoly in this area. Other manufacturers are already in the market, some like Vuzix and Epson are actually available to buy and are actively targeting manufacturing. Kickstarter projects such as ORA are looking to get in on the act at a lower price point.
We are in the midst of a manufacturing revolution, where more and more customisation is required on the production line. Without sophisticated information systems that genuinely support the people working in these dynamic environments, quality and productivity will suffer. Sure there are challenges in using products that are in themselves essentially in ‘beta’ and as ever the challenge of introducing new technology into risk averse businesses remains. But without taking those risks we would all be standing around in animal skins comparing flint tools.
Last updated by Richard Hulbert at .
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