You might not see many consumers wearing Google(s goog) Glass just yet but I have a hunch you’ll start seeing people in businesses with the wearable display on their heads. Google launched a new Glass at Work program late on Monday night to help make that happen. The company noted some recent examples of how businesses are using Glass with custom applications and it aims to help expand those use cases with the new program.
We’ve already seen a number of third-party apps to help in this regard. A firefighter developed a Glass app to help with building navigation when it’s difficult to see through the smoky pathways, for example. Doctors too are creating new ways to view patient charts on Glass, saving time in cases that can actually save lives. Google noted a few other Glass implementations along the same lines in its announcement:
“The Washington Capitals and Schlumberger are just two of the companies that are at the forefront of exploring new possibilities with Glass. The Washington Capitals partnered with APX Labs to create a fan experience where real time stats, instant replay and different camera angles are all brought directly to Capitals fans via Glass. Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield services company, partnered with Wearable Intelligence and is using Glass to increase safety and efficiency for their employees in the field.”
Although I’m a Glass Explorer and see potential for individuals, I think vertical markets may be more important for Glass for a few reasons.
The cost of the wearable display is still expensive at $1,500; even though I expect the price to drop when Glass is available for consumers, enterprises and businesses are more likely to have the budget for Glass these days. And while the core features are useful to me as an individual, most of the same features are coming to Android-powered smartwatches through Android Wear. A watch is far less intrusive and more socially acceptable than Glass is for now.
Don’t misunderstand: I think Glass is great. As I continue to use it, however, I can see that its probably better suited to wider range of business users as consumers will soon see other similar options that will be less expensive and more “invisible” than Glass.