Daily, new devices roll out of the “gizmosphere,” hyped with promises big and small. More often than not, they elicit a “seen-that-done-that,” or “Are they crazy,” reaction.
That’s how I felt about Google Glass, the spectacles that promise a usable and wearable network connection. I ho-hummed the latest Google thing until I watched the Google video and read that the big daddy of Internet newspaper sites, The New York Times, has release a headline app for the device.
While most of us will let the hipsters and the tech crowd pay up to $1500 per pair when they hit the market in 2014, the Google Glass functionality should not be overlooked. Unlike recent Google product splashes, like the now deceased Wave, this is a concept we can all quickly understand.
By placing a smart, Bluetooth/wi-fi data transceiver and battery into the temple of the glasses, and a small 640 x 360 display on the upper corner of the glasses frame, Google is launching a new form factor for internet and connected access.
Google Glass is voice and temple-touch controlled. It takes pictures, videos, will send and receive images and short messages. The first announced Glass app, The New York Times headlines, will deliver headlines. If Glass catches on, it will deliver most of the content and services you now get over a smart phone.
And if you’re not a big Google fan, other tech companies have announced their intention of competing with “Google Glass” in this new hardware area. Your space-on-the-face may be the next are of high tech competition.
As I watched the video, it struck me that this is a product that would find a home in the rural utility and rural telecom work. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to envision a future in which outside crews and staff are wearing a ruggedized version of Google Glass, built into safety glasses or a hard hat.
If you believe that a “picture is worth a thousand words,” imagine how a video streamed live from a line worker’s hard hat could aide in solving problems, assuring quality control, tagging and recording assets, or providing information on needed materials.
Need a quick video of damage done by an ice storm or when car-meets-pole? What about sending technical specs to the line worker who’s in the bucket, but needs to know technical information? The Google Glass would record and deliver both.
And then there’s the innovation factor embodied by our Members and Customers in the utility and telecom world.
The list of utility and telecom applications for hard-hat mounted glasses is long, and the value of hands-free operation of a smart device mounted on safety glasses or hard hats would be particularly valuable. As the product matures, and you get your hand on whatever version of Google Glass makes sense, your creative juices will flow like a river, with new applications and uses galore.
We’ve seen similar wearable products in the past. So why is Google Glass different? Like the 2002 Microsoft Tablet PC, the hardware, software and usability weren’t ready for prime time. Apple’s easy-to-use iPad was released with a broad selection of useful integrated software, high reliability, functional flexibility, a reasonable price point, and an elegant design. It captured the market.
Will Google Glasses be the Tablet PC or the iPad? Time will tell, but my guess is that the form factor – a wearable computer – will endure. It makes too much sense.