Look out! Google Glass is Back With Enterprise Edition

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google glass enterprise edition
Glass Enterprise AGCO

After Google Glass’ early demise a couple of years ago–as many of us foresaw–the optical mounted display has suddenly made its comeback!

This time though, it is not worn by any of Diane von Furstenberg’s models on the runway–it’s worn by those who will most likely compose its largest user base: factory workers.

Google Glass is considered one of Google‘s greatest failures. While it caused quite an international stir back in 2015, people who were enticed to buy the product realized that the $1,500 USD tech piece was not as cool as what was advertised.

The odd-looking glasses failed to live up to the hype. Google’s purported ‘revolutionary’ eye device encountered issues and did not work as planned.  Eventually, after being flocked by complaints and criticisms, Google Glass died a natural death–or so we thought.

But now there’s reason to check out Google Glass once again!

#GoogleGlass is alive and well #enterpriseeditionClick To Tweet

Google Glass: the Rise and Fall

Google Glass was the brainchild of Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google and now President of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company.

Brin spearheaded the development of the Glass in Google X, a division of the company that is solely devoted to technological advancements, on 2011. The first prototype of the Glass was said to weight 8 pounds, a setback during the early stages of its development.

Eventually, Google engineers were able to reduce the weight of the spectacle, making it wearable. In 2012, Google Glass was publicly announced by Brin while sporting its prototype in an event at San Francisco.

google glass enterprise edition
Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, at the $7,500-a-seat TED conference in Long Beach, Calif. | Credit James Duncan Davidson | 2013

The following year, the lighter Explorer Edition of Google Glass was made available to the US Google I/O developers for $1,500 USD.

Developers were invited to use the Twitter message and hashtag #IfIHadGlass to qualify as an early user of the then ‘limited beta‘ version of the Glass. Those who qualified were dubbed as ‘Glass Explorers.’ Around 8,000 individuals were invited to visit the Los Angeles office of Google and pay $1,500 for the unit.

After its release, the product failed to satisfy the interest of the people. Complaints about the high price, privacy, health issues, and poor public image plagued Google Glass. In 2014, instead of the promised public release of the product, Google announced that it would move to a ‘more open beta’ program that will allow non-developers to try the product.

In January 2015, just two years after the Glass was introduced to the public, Google announced the end of the Explorer Program.

Google Glass Program: the Return

While we were all lead to believe that Google Glass was already dead, it appears that the infamous eye wear is very much alive!

On Tuesday, Alphabet announced the newest version of the Glass dubbed as Glass Enterprise Edition (EE). According to Wired, Alphabet commissioned a small group of researchers and engineers to develop a version of Google Glass for the workplace.

enterprise edition
DHL employees use Glass in doing their inventories. | CC Jay Kothari

In a blog post by Jay Kothari, Glass project leader, the Glass has been in use for the few years by businesses such as AGCO, DHL, Dignity Health, NSF International, Sutter Health, The Boeing Company, and Volkswagen.

According to Kothari, they spent the last two years working with more than 30 expert partners to build customized Glass software and business solutions for people deployed in different fields of industry.

#GlassEnterpriseEdition is so epic!Bravo #Alphabet! You finally got it right!Click To Tweet

Some of these fields include manufacturing, logistics, field services, and healthcare. The team also made the new Glass more lightweight and comfortable to wear.

In AGCO, an agriculture solutions provider, the Enterprise Edition helps workers reduce the amount of time spent accessing checklists, viewing instruction manuals, or sending photos from tablets or laptops. Apparently, Glass successfully reduced the company’s machinery production time by 25 percent and inspection times by 30 percent.

google glass
AGCO workers use Glass for following assembly instructions, making reports and getting remote video support. | CC Jay Kothari

According to Peggy Gulick, AGCO Director of Business Process Improvement:

“Employees are now working smarter, faster and safer because they have the information they need right in their line of sight.”

The Glass Enterprise Edition has a camera button found at the hinge of the frame. The button acts as a switch that enables the removal of the electronic unit part or Glass Pod from the frame. After that, the Glass Pod can now be connected to any compatible safety glass frames for the factory floor.

Other new features found in EE include faster and more reliable WI-FI connection, beefed-up processor, longer battery life, camera upgrade from 5MP to 8MP, and a green light indicator that goes on when a video is being recorded.

With its announcement, Alphabet also lifted the non-disclosure requirements on its Glass EE partners. This move by the company gave other businesses the opportunity to join the Glass program.

Has Alphabet learned from the mistakes of Google Glass? Will the Glass Enterprise Edition survive as a feature of factory workers and gain success this time around?

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