Nov 30, 2015

You will dump your Smart Phones in 5 Years


e are proud to say that we have just been recently appointed at the official reseller of the Vuzix Smart Glass here in Singapore. This is in line with my belief that Smart Glasses will take over the Smart Phone in 5 years. Some might bring up Google Glass missing the consumer market due to privacy concerns and why people should buy the device, but the product sparked interest in smart glasses among enterprises. I recently read a Forrester report on "How Enterprise Smart Glasses will drive Workforce Enablement" that offers a full forecast of US enterprise adoption of smart glasses through 2025. Here are 3 main key takeaways from this report.

1. Over 14 Million US workers will use Smart Glasses by 2025.

This means 8% of workers will use Smart Glasses as part of their job and Enterprises will spend over $30 billion on it through 2025. This is purely just the hardware alone, excluding spending on software, services or training! In just the next two years, 2.6 million workers in the US will use smart glasses for their job

2. Smart Glasses Help Workers with specific skills and workflows

Workers ranging from field technicians, mechanics, repairers, installers, electricians, packers, nurses, inspectors, industrial vehicle operators and even museum curator.

These jobs benefit from smart glasses' ability to help with tasks like :

  1. Active Learning
  2. Complex Problem Solving
  3. Maintenance
  4. Installation
  5. Instructing
  6. Mathematics
  7. Monitoring
  8. Repairing
  9. Troubleshooting
  10. Time Management
  11. Operation control & analysis

For example, senior technicians in a central call center can see what onsite technicians see in order to tutor them through the job, lowering travel costs by removing the need for multiple technicians onsite.

3. Use POST to Operationalise your Smart Glasses Strategy.

At this early stage of the market, most companies are focusing on proofs of concept (POCs). To succeed with your POC, you should follow POST (People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology) :

People - identify roles and workflows. : Identify those that could benefit from smart glasses and interviewing people in those jobs to better understand their day to day tasks.

Objectives - engineer business alignment : Determine the overall objectives for your pilot during this alignment exercise.

Strategy - determine what services and content to offer : A POC pilot will be key to establishing the business value of smart glasses. You can't determine the strategic ramifications without real-world insights. The focus should be on understanding various scenarios like notifications, communications, visualization, video, etc.

Technology - choose the right smart glasses hardware and software vendors : Don't neglect software providers at this phase of evaluation; software and hardwire are closely interwoven and must be selected together.

My Conclusion

Most smart glasses available now are limited by its navigation. You can't simply swipe at it unless there's some way to detect your hands. Some higher end smart glasses (that easily cost over $3000 each) can already do that but due to its cost, it does not make business sense. Most smartglasses comes default with either a secondary "mobile navigational device" (wasn't the idea is to be handsfree?) , "wearable navigational device" (eg ring or armband, yes this are real) or tapping and swiping the side of your smart glasses. There are ways to get around this and at the same time enhance the overall smartglass experience. Here are some examples.

a) Voice Command - instead of going linearly tapping through a few screens to get to what you want , you could use voice commands to directly dive into functions instantly. Fortunately, most smart glasses comes with this feature. However, being audio sensitive , means it is applicable in a less noisy environment and a certain accent.

b) Smart Bluetooth - if your application is location specific, then there's a slew of BLE beacons that detects you, motion, temperature, light and even touch for you to retrieve your content or function. This could really help in extending the reach of what your smart glass can do.

c) Digital Stamp  - I like to say , if the smart glass is the eyes then the Digital Stamp / Card is its hands. This would be great if your work environment heavily use tablets or mobile phones. Consider this simple application that have a security guard or supervisor wearing the smart glass and stamping on the mobile phones of any employees to retrieve the employees details or reports that is only viewable by its wearer.

The key here is to identify the need and simplify the application, like using it as a QR code reader / barcode reader to quickly input data into your servers while your hands are dedicated to moving the necessary physical items. The productivity gained is tremendous!

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Alvin Lee

Alvin Lee is a gamification product designer, trainer, and consultant. With it, He has consulted malls and built very successful applications for retailers. One of which was so naturally viral that it has new sign-ups every day and high usage without any marketing done! He is currently developing an invested retail tech platform that is fully gamified.‍