Barcode scanning apps have been on the App Store since it first arrived, but they’re still popular – and with good reason. Scanning a product and automatically finding better prices or deals has been one of the most prolific uses for these types of apps.

So it’s no wonder they’ve started entering the wearable space. eBay has already released a Google Glass version of its popular RedLaser app, allowing users to scan products and then find the nearest location of where they are for sale – including directions.

At first glance this seems to be a sign that Google Glass is being adopted by bigger players in the retail market, which leads to more assumptions that such wearable technology will end up dominating the retail space.

Glass Barcode

The reality is slightly more sobering. Google Glass is only about several thousand units strong, and arguably above the price-point where most personal tech devices are finding success. The real benefit here is not necessarily found in the public space – although it certainly has ramifications – but in the enterprise.

The idea of scanning barcodes and other information contains benefits for warehouse workers and others in the logistics field. A truck driver being able to scan boxes, for instance, could automatically scan information to a database rather than relying on paperwork.

Not to mention the potential benefits retail workers could find in managing a stocktaking database at the end of the financial year.

Like with so many technologies, the real benefit may not be seen in the space for which it’s originally designed. The idea of wearing Google Glass might take many shoppers aback – but a worker relying on Glass to scan barcodes makes the a potentially gruelling job easier.

Time will tell whether this particular wearable is welcomed by the public – no doubt eye-based technologies have their space. For now, however, the fact such a large company is focusing on the wearable space with a retail component suggests it’s not a matter of if this technology takes off, but when – whether it be this current iteration or one several years from now.