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Posted on August 23, 2017 by staff

Google Glass 2.0: What’s next for the wearable?

Google Glass 2.0: What’s next for the wearable?

Hunt speaking at our healthcare conference last year
Hunt speaking at our healthcare conference last year

After Google closed its Glass Explorer Programme and decided to halt sales of Glass, it was back to the drawing board for the wearable’s developers.

But Google promised that this was not the end for the device. And it seems as though the tech giant has kept to its promise.

In July this year Google Glass number two was launched. But unlike, the original device, it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing it on the catwalk at a top fashion event (renowned fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg sent her models down the catwalk wearing Glass at one of her shows).

Instead, the name for the new device, ‘the Enterprise Edition’, provides a good indication that the intended audience this time around is businesses and their employees. As a result, excitement and anticipation is building in a whole host of sectors from manufacturing to healthcare, with businesses keen to know more about what the device can able do.

So, what do we know about Google Glass 2.0?

First off, the clue is in the name – ‘Enterprise Edition’. So we know device number two is a more business-focused piece of tech.

Google Glass

Also, the new device comes with a number of important improvements. One of the biggest drawbacks of the Explorer Edition was the poor battery life. Google has fixed this issue, and Glass 2.0 now has a longer battery life – ideal for workers who may need to use the device for several hours a day.

Along with the extended battery life, the hands-free headset has been updated and now comes with a higher resolution camera (from 5 megapixels to 8). It also has a faster processor and better Wi-Fi speeds, which will suit the fast pace of the working world particularly well.

This brings us on to the biggest change that has happened to Glass. The module that sits on the device’s integrated frame can actually be removed and then placed on to other eyewear – this could be safety glasses, for example.

This feature could benefit a whole range of sectors, particularly manual industries or roles where employees are often working with their hands. For instance, an engineer who is tasked with using a piece of equipment could use Glass hands-free to pull up manuals, instructions or demos to direct them on how to complete the job.

Behind the scenes, Glass 2.0 has been tested with global giants, such as Boeing, DHL, and Volkswagen. And so far, each business has reported noticeable improvements in productivity and work quality, perhaps spelling a successful future for the device.

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Will the Enterprise Edition be more successful than the Explorer Edition?

Although the Explorer Edition fell flat very quickly with consumers, it did actually have significantly more success with business users. There were many companies that tried out the device and found it helped them to improve processes or streamline areas of the business.

In fact, Apadmi conducted a study into wearable tech, which cited that Stanford University Medical Center had started using the wearable as part of its training programme for medical students. The device was used during surgery to show students exactly what was happening throughout the procedure.

With Glass favoured more by business users, it looks like Google could well have a winning device on its hands. One of the biggest downfalls of the Explorer Edition was that consumers didn’t really know where Glass would fit into their daily lives.

But in a business setting, the benefits of this wearable appear to be much clearer. For example, features such as the hands-free screen make it particularly ideal for those working in sectors like healthcare, manufacturing and energy where workers often need to use their hands to complete tasks.

Not only this, but it could also be used to improve efficiencies and provide better training for staff in real life situations. We already saw this with the Enterprise Edition of Glass. In addition to Stanford University Medical Center using the device to train medical students, General Motors, one of the world’s biggest car manufacturers, used Glass to upskill engineers at two of its factories in Michigan. Instead of having to sit in a conference room to learn how to build cars, workers could do it all from the production line in the real life setting.

Given that Glass 2.0 has only just been launched, we’ll have to wait and see how the enterprise sector embraces the device. However, so far the possibilities seem endless, with the potential for companies across a wide varieties of sectors to integrate it into their daily operations.

Firefighters could use the device to navigate through dangerous situations. Flight attendants could use it to check flight details of passengers. Public speakers could wear the device during presentations to display their speeches. Security management and police departments could use the camera to help capture interactions with criminals or when dealing emergencies that require backup.

For now, Glass 2.0 has still some way to go to prove its worth to users before it becomes a hit. Can the second edition succeed where the original device fell short?

BELOW: Flick through the Q2 2017 edition of BusinessCloud’s interactive digital magazine

E-edition cover