Google Glass has been released to 10,000 consumers and developers. As a member of the Glass Explorer program, we’ve discovered Glass can be used for more than just taking pictures, recording video, and posting updates on social networks.
For field service teams, Google Glass is an opportunity to have real-time video in a field representative’s peripheral vision at any time. Think about when a new technician performs a repair on a product he’s never seen before, except during training. With Google Glass, a remote technical support representative can observe as the technician completes the repair, and offer audio assistance in real-time.
The most exciting aspect of Google Glass is its platform nature. The device itself (in its early beta state) is respectable. It boasts a 5-megapixel camera capable of capturing 720p video, a 1 GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, and about 12GB of storage. It’s already capable of doing much of what a modern smartphone can do, albeit with significantly less battery life.
As a platform for field service apps, Google Glass will support applications that will allow remote manual access, for example. Imagine having the relevant product manual and part numbers instantly available in the same visual field as the product you’re working on. Within two years, this will be a reality.
Google’s first iteration of Google Glass is not without flaws. The limited battery means an external battery pack often must be used for extended use. The touch-based interface also can be tricky, since all the device’s functions must be controlled either through voice or a small touchpad. Video image quality is acceptable, but will quickly improve as Google ups the specifications of the device in future iterations.
As Google continues to invest resources in building out Google Glass, we in the field service community will quickly find that other industries are taking a hard look at how to integrate Glass into their operation. While smartphones and tablets are the technological best-in-class of today, a device that allows field service technicians to have their hands free while accessing a whole universe of information is extremely promising.
Here's our brief demonstration of one use of Google Glass:
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