Administrators wondering how to best prepare students for the changing workplace need to look again at Google Glass. That’s right: The wearable mini-computers are back and the new Google Glass Enterprise Edition® may change the way many of us do our jobs.
Google, now Alphabet®, withdrew its first version of Glass in 2015 after people complained the voice-commanded eye-glasses — sporting a camera, search engine and video recorder — were downright creepy. However, the company never stopped believing in the value of the technology and continued developing its strengths and weeding out its weaknesses.
The 2017 Glass offers an updated camera, a longer battery life and improved Wi-Fi speeds. Most importantly, it is entirely decoupled from integrated frames. The glasses work with a pair of sunglasses or industrial safety glasses. That means workers can attach the wearable device to everyday gear and use the mini computers to supplement their view, accessing content like:
- Training videos
- Instruction manuals
- Safety guidelines
A doctor can use the glasses to pull up your health records. Some medical professionals live-stream patient interactions and have scribes document sessions from afar, allowing the doctors to double time spent with patients.
The professional possibilities are endless: A teacher can review grades during a one-on-one or record a class discussion for professional development. A cab driver can access a map. An interior designer can furnish and refurnish an empty room. Any form of work that keeps you on your feet is ripe territory for Glass.
Students will need to be ready for a world in which they’re expected to adapt and learn on-the-job with the aid of tools like Glass. Already, 50 businesses are using the technology with excellent results.
General Electric has seen a 34% productivity increase on wiring assembly for some of its turbines since it started using Glass instead of paper manuals. With numbers like that, other companies are sure to follow suit.
“There’s been concern about machines replacing human workers, and certainly this is happening for some jobs,” two GE reps wrote in the March 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review. “But the experience at General Electric and other industrial firms shows that, for many jobs, combinations of humans and machines outperform either working alone. Wearable augmented reality devices are especially powerful, as they deliver the right information at the right moment and in the ideal format, directly in workers’ line of sight, while leaving workers’ hands free so they can work without interruption.”
Google Glass Enterprise Edition is part of a larger trend that may change the way we experience everything from direct mail to education — augmented reality. With AR, a person uses a phone app or a pair of glasses to add a three-dimensional virtual component to a static image or to add an interactive element to a scene. For instance, you might receive an AR catalog from a clothing store with an invitation to download an app. It could look like an ordinary catalog at first, but, once you’ve downloaded the app, you use your phone to watch moving scenes unfold on the otherwise flat pages. The static reality is augmented.
For developers, the possibilities for AR go far beyond advertising. Companies envision these technologies bringing advances in science, medicine and, of course, industry. Microsoft has developed its own AR glasses called HoloLens®. Apple® has not released a version of the wearable computers, but rumors of a rival abound.
Although AR has yet to take over the education world, companies are already experimenting with enhanced AR eBooks and education apps. Such innovations suggest it won’t be long before we see technologies like Glass altering campus reality as we know it.