THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
18 July 2014, Written by Karen Rickert
THE rise of wearable technology is set to change how the business community operates and Google Glass is among those leading the charge.
The futuristic glasses allow users to answer text messages, emails, browse the web and take photos without the touch of a button.
Instead it uses voice activation, gestures and movement – proving to be the ultimate tool for the multi-tasker.
Google Glass isn’t commercially available in Australia, with the company releasing beta test devices to US citizens as part of the Glass Explorer Program.
Brisbane-based technology services provider The IT Bunch is one of the few recipients, with managing director Jon Bunch (pictured) calling it a smart phone on sunglasses.
“You can load a full Android platform on it with its own processor and RAM (random access memory), so it’s basically a phone on your face,” Bunch says.
“Voice recognition has become so much better in Google an Android – I do a lot of communication via voice now and that was before Glass.”
He says clients will wait until the product becomes more affordable before purchasing it, having paid $2100 for his pair with customs duty, tax and shipping.
Mobility is the biggest drawcard, with Bunch noting a number of industries recognising the potential benefits.
“If you were in real estate or anything centric to taking pictures, it’s really helpful because you can set it to take a photo with the blink of your eyes.
“It’s very helpful not having to lug around a camera and then being able to share images instantly on Facebook, Google+ and Hangouts.
“They’re already trialling Google Glass in healthcare, while some clients in mining have said it would be really handy during repairs.
“Having your hands free, instead of holding a phone or a manual, allows you to focus on your job and they reckon that would be safer.”
Bunch says a history of interactions is stored on the device, allowing you to quickly return to tasks or emails at your convenience.
He anticipates that Google Glass is on the same trajectory as the smart phone, an item that many business people can’t live without.
"Everybody back then thought it was so cool, but these days it doesn't seem like it's that far off."
“I think what happens is that we’re dependent on things we don’t really know we’re dependent on and Google Glass will be another step in the evolution.
“There was a movie in the 80s with Clint Eastwood called Firefox, where he steals a Russian plane controlled with his thoughts under his helmet.
“Everybody back then thought it was so cool, but these days it doesn’t seem like it’s that far off.
“If you think about having all the benefits of your phone without having to touch it, how cool would that be?”
The Australian release is yet to be confirmed, with the device facing hurdles from state and federal privacy laws.
The Australian Law Reform Commission has released a discussion paper arguing wearable technology should be considered a surveillance device.
Bunch says he feels very strongly that the politicians have it wrong and welcomes anyone wanting a demonstration to get in contact.