When we talk about application of technology in business we often tend to focus on office work, but the activities on the manufacturing floor, field engineering, and the warehouse are just as ripe for innovation as marketing, sales, and financial functions. Wearables — especially smart glasses — like Google Glass and the recently announced Epson Moverio BT-200 — are poised to radically change the work of these out-of-the-office disciplines.
This week, Google announced the first five Glass Certified Partners, and looking at what they intend to roll-out is pretty mind-blowing.
APX Labs makes Skylight, which is ‘the leading business software for Glass’ according to the company. The platform supports a number of applications that bring real-time data from enterprise applications, and the means for workers to interact with those applications — and through them to other people.
Here’s a screenshot from a video at their site, representing a real-time message (at the bottom right) appearing in the glasses of a field engineer. To the left you see a schedule of events (‘Incoming Port 12′, etc.), as well as a tally of other workers presence status.
And in another screenshot, a medical application is shown:
A third shows a military application, including facial recognition of belligerents.
I don’t even have to add much commentary to get the message across: For a large swath of workers, augmented reality — a la Google Glass — is about to become a game changer. Their work lives are going to be massively disrupted, and the nature of work for many will be propelled into the 21st century and out of the 19th.
I intend to start a series on wearables, interviewing people with deep insights into what they mean for the enterprise, starting this week. More to follow. But what is already clear is that we are at the very early stages of something as revolutionary as the internet, or PCs.