The future is in the eye of the beholder… literally. With a great deal of excitement surrounding its release, this January Google Glass is expected to be sold to the general population. The glasses incorporate augmented reality technology and will allow the user to give commands to a wearable computer in the form of digital eyewear. The user will be able to perform everyday functions wearing the glasses and will only have to look in the upper right lens to view the computer. Though currently touted as a novel plaything, there are also at least four ways for the small business owner to profit from the Google Glass and augmented reality.
Many of the features of Google Glass that have been publicized in the media include entertainment, GPS, social media, and video and photography functions. However, the combination of augmented reality software with the glasses provides opportunities for small businesses to be seen by a targeted audience. Providing the software platform or “brain” for the glasses, Infinity Augmented Reality (Infinity AR) makes it so the glasses or other digital devices can anticipate what the user wants. For example, if the user always has coffee from a particular coffee house at 9:00am, the tablet, smartwatch, digital eyewear, or any other digital device will alert the user that it is not only time for coffee, but will order the coffee for him and allow the user to pay for the coffee from the digital device. In addition, the coffee house will send a coupon for a muffin as well.
Based on the user’s tweets and other social media communication, the software picks up on the desires of the user and integrates all the user’s devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.), and enables these devices to absorb all they can about the user in order to facilitate that knowledge to simplify his life. The potential is endless whether the user is looking to buy gaming software, plan a vacation, or go to a concert. Your business can be the only one seen by the user as providing the service or product. The advertising platform will be the similar to Google Adwords and allows your business to be found by your targeted market.
Augmented reality has been around for quite some time, but the use of the technology continues to evolve. Using digital glasses such as Glass or Meta, the user can view more about a business than meets the naked eye. To give a more in-depth view of your business, the utilization of Infinity AR’s or Total Immersion’s software can give your prospects and customers a clear view of your offerings from their computer or digital device. This not only takes “seeing is believing” to a new level, but it also provides convenience for your customers and allows them to shop as if they were at your place of business.
Before building your next office or constructing the next product, use augmented reality to see it before doing it. In its raw form, augmented reality is a technical term for overlaying data onto real world scenes. Using an augmented reality app that could take blueprints or 3D models and overlay could save in both labor and material costs. The built-in camera in Meta and Google Glass can help to report the progress or any challenges found on a project. This concept, for example, will work perfectly in the construction industry, but it is also useful in the concept-building phase of any product. Voice-activating the Glass for sending messages, videos, photos, and more from the site of a project is invaluable for saving time and money.
The director of sports medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Dr. Christopher Kaeding, was the first to use Google Glass while performing surgery. He used the technology to work with a distant colleague using a live, point-of-view video from his operating room via Google Glass. Dr. Kaeding stated, “To be honest, once we got into the surgery, I often forgot the device was there. It just seemed very intuitive and fit seamlessly.” Via voice commands, Dr. Kaeding was able to instantly call up X-ray or MRI images of their patient, pathology reports, and reference materials.
You may not be performing surgery with Google Glass, but you can creatively use the augmented technology for catapulting your business into success. According to research firm IHS, shipments of smart glasses could reach 9.4 million units between 2013 and 2016, with demand expected to accelerate by 250% in 2014. That is just in digital eyewear. Smartwatches and other digital devices increase the number considerably. That means that more and more people will be wearing computers which give your business greater opportunities for exposure and capitalizing on this innovative technology.
One creative use is to provide an experience for your prospects and customers. New augmented reality software can give the user an experience like no other. Wearing digital eyewear, the user can now enjoy a live concert as if she was there without leaving her living room. You can give the user an opportunity to use your product or service without actually being at your business. The user can try on clothes and shoes, drive a car, touch objects, and receive updates on products.
Computers, mobile phones, and social media are all examples of disruptive technologies that took off and left many business owners wishing they had taken advantage of opportunities earlier. Augmented reality and wearable computers are here and it is worth investing time and energy in utilizing them for your business’ growth. These four examples only scratch the surface of what this innovation can do to help your business become more profitable.