Wearable tech certainly made a splash at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show and has set the tempo for discussion. With Samsung already underway with its Galaxy Gear series – an update of which will surely come this year – and Apple expected to release its watch by Christmas, the industry is heating up.
But Google Glass continues to putter along. Having been released to some developers nearly two years ago, the number of people who now have the technology and wear it on a day to day basis continues to grow.
But perhaps not in the way you might think. In a story over at The Verge, a firefighter from the American state of North Carolina has started developing apps for Glass in order to improve safety on the job. One app notifies fellow firefighters of emergency calls, and then starts up a turn-by-turn navigation system in order to get to the location in question.
Another app allows the user to quickly find the nearest fire hydrant wherever that emergency occurs.
An even more detailed app would allow firefighters to see blueprints of a building while standing alongside them, including emergency exits and other information, and another program would access schematics for a vehicle to help access people who are trapped inside.
It’s a fascinating concept, but it’s not the first time someone has used Google Glass to improve the workplace rather than as a consumer-focused app. An Australian health and safety business has already started working on an app which would help workers in a number of professions remain safe – such as an apprentice who needs guidance from a supervisor while conducting a dangerous task.
The revelation of the firefighting app also comes at an interesting time for Google Glass overall. Overnight a story emerged of a man in the United States who was thrown out of a cinema while wearing Google Glass, due to fears he may be filming the movie in order to distribute it illegally.
This comes alongside the separate discussion of turning Google Glass into a fashion accessory – right now, few users would actually want to wear something bulky and obvious in public.
As a result, there is a significant discussion occurring about whether wearable tech such as Google Glass has a place as a consumer item, or as a tool to enhance the workplace. With apps already being developed for a variety of workplace environments, it appears enterprise, rather than the consumer base, is winning out.