By Christophe Primault, CEO of CloudWork
How do you take a feel good product and turn it into a business tool?
The latest round of Google Glass presentations wrapped up at SXSW last week, and while the hype level was high, the reality factor was low when speaking of the app that let’s you pair mart glasses with an integrated heads-up display and a battery hidden inside the frame to produce experiential pictures. Attendees saw a showcase of cool stuff like taking a picture of a crowded room with your eyes, or downloading news headlines to your peripheral vision, but were still left in the dark around the basics like when the tech will be available to purchase and how we will incorporate Glass into our daily lives.
While the date that Google Glass will hit the shop shelves is still an unknown, the coding interface that will let developers fashion real-world applications is now more publicly available. Details emerged at SXSW around how the “Mirror API” will enable apps to integrate with the new Google Glass as a technology platform. The New York Times, Evernote, Gmail and social network Path are already on board, providing examples of what will be possible.
Despite the hype around how Glass is set to “improve your life” (as advocate Timothy Jordan evangelizes), end users were wary of the additional noise the tech may create, with at least one SXSW attendee warning “I don’t want to post more social network crap.” One of the examples given was of a Glass wearer taking a photo of a room of people, tagging who is present with Evernote’s image app Skitch, and then posting the tagged image to the yet-to-really-take-off social network Path. Cool, we guess, but is that all that useful?
With the expected access to the Google Glass coding interface set to expand in the coming weeks and months after its SXSW showcase, clever app integrations will begin to emerge to show how Google Glass can be used in real world business practice. At CloudWork, we conduct daily research into real business cases for linking cloud-based software to extend business processes. Based on how we know CloudWork users are connecting their business apps, here are 5 ways that Google Glass will change the very nature of how we all do business.
1. Pull up contact information while speaking with a sales prospect
Google Glass could integrate with a contact management database (like Zoho CRM, Highrise, or SugarCRM) so that when you attend a trade show or business event, you can access data on any leads or previous contacts attending. While maintaining a personal rapport with a prospect, you can steer the conversation towards a sale by being able to see when they were last in touch and what they asked about when they contacted you. For bonus points, you could swap over to a Glass feed of your Evernote notebook to access your ideas files and show your prospect how quickly you can think on your feet.
2. Have support identify and order maintenance parts and service
Equipment-leasing businesses and service companies will let customers use Google Glass to take a snapshot of their equipment and send it straight to the support desk (or virtual support like Zendesk or Desk.com). Your support team will use the image to identify what maintenance is required and order service support or organize parts replacement as needed.
3. Add receipts to your book-keeping whenever you buy something
While travelling for business or managing your petty cash, you could take a photo with Google Glass of any receipt received from cash purchases and automatically file it in your book-keeping software (like FreshBooks or Shoebox).
4. Draw on project management tasks while on location
While attending at an event management venue site, walking through your workshop or production site, or meeting with your 3D printer, you could check current project management tasks (from software like Trello or Asana) and update any on-the-ground staff or suppliers as to the latest workplan you just viewed through Google Glass.
5. Store a record of what is actually happening
Sometimes, it would be handy to have before-and-after photos of something we are working on, or be able to record the stages of a process while they are underway. Google Glass stores data in timeline cards that can be grouped together as bundles. Users could collate information, customer feedback and event processes together into a timeline card bundle and then upload a record of exactly what happened into cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive or Box.
All of these ideas will be possible fairly shortly after the release of Google Glass thanks to the Mirror API. While there are no doubt more science-fiction-like blue-sky visions for how to use Google Glass, these 5 possibilities are based on how businesses currently use app integrations to get work done, and show that business is ready to extend the task workflow from their business apps to the experience right in front of their eyes and hands. Business will never look the same again.
About The Author:
Christophe began his career at NCR as sales director and then as vice president of global marketing. He also served as CEO for two security software startups.