Google recently stopped sales of the Glass prototype which has been available for a couple of years, and announced that the product will be moved out of the research oriented Google X unit and into a separate division for continued development.
There has been a lot of press speculating what this all means for the future of Glass, but for the most part it seems like this is just the first step in seeing a broader, more consumer-oriented release. Instead of focusing on the consumer aspect though, I wanted to share a couple of links which highlight possible business applications for the device, specifically in B2C and B2B commerce.
One of the benefits of a device like Glass is the ability to provide the wearer with data in a context where it previously either was unavailable or difficult to deliver and consume quickly. Leveraging this capability is the driving force behind a couple of ideas being investigated by hybris, one of the leading commerce platforms in the industry.
Here’s an example of how Glass can be used in a B2C scenario. A customer browsing online selects products they are interested in purchasing. Once they arrive at the retail store, a clerk is alerted via Glass and has the products the customer selected available in their display, including key information such as product features and location in the store. The video is only a couple of minutes long but provides a good idea of how this integration of technologies can make the transaction more “frictionless” for the customer:
In this article, hybris’ Jacqueline Toms outlines many of the benefits Glass can provide in the B2B world. Here’s one of the compelling use cases from the article:
“Picture yourself as a planner in a logistics department. You’re waiting on a truck delivery of packaging materials; you’ve been informed that it is running 40 minutes late and you know this is going to cause trouble. You have a colleague in manufacturing demanding the materials now, and a customer expecting full delivery of his order the next day. With no further information to go on, you head for an important meeting that you can’t miss. Suddenly, as you walk through the door to the meeting room, your Google Glass beams you all the information you need – live picture from the truck of the traffic density and a newly-computed arrival time. You can now react instantly, quickly communicating this information so everyone can take necessary action and resume your place at the meeting table.”
Google Glass and wearable computing is still very much an evolving field, but it’s exciting to see some of the possibilities for commerce applications.