Google Glass is back and bringing AR to your workplace

You are likely to put on AR glasses at work long before you put them on at home.

Kevin Kelly, Wired

It’s a little bit heartbreaking, especially as a technophile, knowing that Augmented Reality is going to satisfy enterprise/commercial needs long before it enters the consumer market. But Kevin Kelly’s statement is right on point.

Whether you work in an office, on the factory floor, or in an emergency room, both Microsoft and Google are betting that you’ll come around to using their AR glasses at work first.

Although Microsoft HoloLens has dominated the AR office of the future conversation, Google just launched their second iteration of the Google Glass Enterprise, the Enterprise 2, reminding us that they had the vision for AR long before Microsoft:

Introduced in 2013 as one of the first augmented reality devices, Google Glass is a pair of eyeglasses that uses a tiny projector to beam computer-generated images into a user’s eye, so they appear to “float” in front of the real world. The company has been targeting the enterprise for the past couple of years after its attempts to attract consumers failed with the original Google Glass, which was expensive and had a built-in camera which raised privacy concerns. The model targeted toward consumers was discontinued in 2015.

Todd Haselton, CNBC

Coming in at $999, the Google Glass Enterprise 2 severely undercuts the HoloLens 2 at $3,500.

However, regardless of the pricing wars, they’re both getting customers which is exciting because it’s bringing us that much closer to getting AR as consumers. So what are the uses cases that are bringing in the customers?

Virtual Meetings

Using an application called Thrive on the HoloLens, doctors from three different continents met in a physical operating room to discuss a patient’s diagnosis and further medical treatment. So instead of digitizing the human patient, they digitized the physicians and eliminated long distances that separate medical facilities. This will be particularly impactful to less-populous areas of the world where access to medical care isn’t consistent or necessarily the best.

Training & Efficiency

DHL was one of the early adopters of Google Glass Enterprise in 2015 and they’re still using them to this day. Warehouse workers are more readily trained using Glass and the overall efficiency improves. They’ve reported that their use of Glass Enterprise makes the picking and packing process 25% faster. Kenworth factory employees are finding many of the same benefits with the HoloLens 2 and the 365 Guides platform.

Logistics & Repairs

Workers at AGCO, an agricultural equipment manufacturer, wear gloves, they wear a helmet, they wear ear protection, and they have Google Glass. Keeping their hands free, they can use their voice to control Glass, whether to take pictures to send to a supervisor or to go back a page on their work orders.

The ability of Glass to provide easy-to-follow instructions in a worker’s field of view also changes who they hire.

“You don’t have to hire a mechanic or someone [with] that background,” says Gulick. She foresees AGCO being able to use augmented-reality smart glasses for training and on-the-floor oversight that will significantly expand the labor pool the company hires from.


Remote Work Assistance

On the Google Glass platform, Sutter Health (among others) is using an application called Augmedix which assists physicians in the documentation process. Essentially, the physician wears the Google Glass while interacting with the patient, meanwhile a designated worker who is tuned into the physician’s video feed fills in all the paperwork. It frees up the physician’s hands, helps them see more patients, and provides more direct care to each patient.

Honestly, I’ve only scratched the surface of the enterprise applications.

What’s different now?

These solutions are really catching on because they’re applied in these “vacuum-sealed” settings where you know exactly what the situation demands. There isn’t a lot of unexpected variables.

Google Glass, the original, failed because as consumers nobody knew what they were supposed to do. Now, Google Glass Enterprise 2 and the HoloLens 2 are being extra-clear in presenting the applications to commercial users.

Not to mention, they can show off a cool application with Sutter Health and then an executive in Financial Consulting might be like, “Hey, I’d like someone to remotely take notes for me in all my meetings.” And voila, they’ve entered a new market.

If you’re interested in hearing about the enterprise use cases of AR and when we can expect to get this technology as consumers, join us this Wednesday, May 22nd at 6pm CST for a Digital Hangout. You can reserve your seat by clicking the button below: