People will not buy Google Glass (or other wearable computing devices) because they think it will ease their day at the office. And, in most cases, a company will not make a huge investment in the technology before it is well established in the market. The bottom line is that the debate, if it ever really existed, is over: Consumers, not the business, will lead the charge.
In reality, that always has been the case. What will change, though, is the length of the gap between consumer and business adoption. A person may decide to buy Google Glass because they are going skydiving the next weekend. Instead of just using them at home and gradually bringing them to work, those brave souls will bring them to work the next Monday (assuming all goes well with the jump). The bottom line is that once a person owns a Google Glass, he or she will use it as part of their lives. The time lag that existed before, such as the one between consumer and business use of Wi-Fi, is gone.
Another reason that the previous gap no longer exists is that enterprise apps will be ready. In a story about local companies who are developing smart glass apps, the Washington Post writer Steven Overly thinks that the challenge is a bit less in the workplace. Users have ample time to recharge the devices during off hours and, perhaps more importantly, eyewear “much like uniforms, need not be fashionable.”
This week, Epson took a step toward exploring this market with the release of Moverio BT-200, which is aimed at business users. Newsfactor offers insight into the devices’ work possibilities. With this device, displays cover both –unlike with Google Glass—and users can view augmentations as pre-loaded schematics.
The uses of smart glasses for work seem almost limitless. ZDNet blogger Larry Dignan wrote about one of the companies mentioned in the Washington Post story. APX Labs is working with the Washington Capitals hockey team in a couple of ways. One is consumer-based (i.e., delivery of stats and graphics to fans at the games via smart glasses). The other is a business application that sends corporate data to wearables, such as smart glasses.
APX, according to Dignan, started developing military applications. It now markets to the pro sports industry and the government. It works in the industrial, logistics, health care, manufacturing and service areas. Dignan leads his blog with a blunt opinion on where the smart glass sector is headed:
While wearables are an interesting consumer market — even though form, fit, and function remain issues — the money and returns will be seen in the enterprise space.
The bottom line is that technologies that emerge after the explosion of features and pure processing power in consumer gear and the resulting advent of the bring your own device (BYOD) trend will spread in a far different manner than those that came before.
Technologies will be expected to be relevant for both home and office and will move forward in lockstep. There may be differences in their use in each venue—for instance, the resistance to using smart glasses because they look geeky may slow consumer use—but at the end of the day there will be a radically smaller lag between corporate and personal equipment than even a few years ago.