Is Google Glass Ready for Us?

We’ve all been fascinated by photos of Google Glass enthusiasts, who look futuristic or silly, depending on your point of view. Google Glass seems ubiquitous, yet how many of your colleagues are actually using it?  
Google Glass is an Augmented Reality Head-Up Display (HUD) that utilizes a voice-controlled computer located in a headset that looks like a pair of wrap-around sunglasses. (Google Glass options for prescription glasses became available in March.) Information can be seen in front of you as you go about your day. With a forward-facing camera, 4G connectivity and movement sensors, the product is officially named Glass.

Glass combines Google's real-time, mobile, location-aware services, including search, navigation, and music, and presents the information to the user via a small screen at the edge of one’s field of vision, as you can see in the photo above. The user interacts with the device via voice control. Glass works with Android phones and the iPhone. Apart from the GPS chip inside, Glass is dependent on your Wi-Fi or mobile connectivity to deliver its features.

For quite a while, obtaining Glass was invitation-only, or a rare one-day flash sale would appear. In May, Glass became available to anyone wanting to be a Google Glass “Explorer” in the USA and UK - at least those who can afford the hefty $1,500 (and up) price.

Above, Big Bang Theory's Kunal Nayyar wearing the Google Glass at the Emmys last September.

For daily life, Glass offers a variety of voice activated uses.  It can show social network notifications and let you communicate via the same channels. You can get traffic updates and directions to your destination, check on your flights, and even help with language translation. Google Plus users can conference Google Hangouts on Glass. Many folks have unleashed their inner artists through its photo and video capabilities.

So far, we’ve seen few examples of Glass utilized in the event marketing space.  In April, Associations Now reported that the Washington Restaurant Association outfitted its onsite staff with Glass to provide a live video feed of the 2014 Northwest Foodservice Show, complete with “on camera” interviews with exhibitors.

It’s too early to say how Glass will affect our industry, but clearly, it has potential. For example, Glass could someday provide security access to events or sessions via facial recognition.  Real-time reporting for show organizers could be done when Glass becomes capable of immediately accessing data from speaker surveys or session attendance. Another example could affect how trade shows are extended beyond the show to those who can’t attend, by viewing streams from individual booths or sessions.  Perhaps utilizing Glass with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology will someday further advance event marketing usage. (Click to read my The Future of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Technology blog.)

Before event managers can fully adopt Glass, three things should happen:

  1. Development of applications that can provide true value
  2. A decrease in price
  3. Better understanding of privacy issues

Read the June 25 TechRadar review of Google Glass which awarded Glass 3.5 out of 5 stars.  The review delves into needed improvements, including photo quality and battery life.  They said, "Google has created the most sought-after sci-fi-looking gadget that everyone wants to wear at least once. But its uses are currently limited and a Google Glass consumer edition is due out this year. Not everyone will get their money's worth with this one-of-a-kind novelty."

Do you see a use for Google Glass at future tradeshows or events?  Have you used it? We want to hear from you. Please comment here.