Google Glass, the futuristic hardware that was conceived for you to wear like glasses and utilize to see all emails, documents, and postings on YouTube, was the golden child of Google. Due to the failure to grab consumers in the regular market, Google seemingly closed its doors on any future projects for Google Glass in January 2015.
However recently, Google came out with Glass Enterprise Edition. This is not Google Glass for the regular consumer, but for employees in the common workplace such as hospitals and factories. This new hardware is specifically designed for working people. Maybe it is to replace a laptop or tablet at a tractor factory in Minnesota or to replace paper files in medical facilities in New York. Using the hardware while working allows staff and others to access instructions and information. Executive teams found that productivity increased due to the use of such hardware.
However, this seems to be only an introduction to a select few industries. While it is allowing some factory workers to stay in one place and access data through the GEE, would it work across all types of production? Boeing, GE, and Volkswagen are currently testing it. One problem that is possible could be that incorporating technology into the workplace might bring up issues with older generations of workers adopting new technology.
It has been reported that older workers are a bit skeptical about the use of GEE. If they continue to be skeptical or outright refuse to use technology to perform a job they have been doing the tried-and-true way, what happens then? Is it an absolute that everyone must use Glass Enterprise Edition? Older workers could find themselves out in the cold.
Companies have uploaded their own instructions for factory workers to access while on the job. What happens when there is a re-write or a new edition? That means 100s, if not 1000s, of devices to update. Technology does not always work the way we want it to. Issues like crashes or missing data could arise at any time. What happens when the product becomes broken? Obviously, it would be replaced, but it could be a costly investment for the company. The worry that workers should do their best not to break it will always be present and may slow production in some cases.
Having extras, even many extras, to prevent downtime would have to be budgeted. What if there were not any extra Glass Enterprise Editions left to spare? Would the workers still be able to perform their jobs without it? In the example of the tractor engine factory in Minnesota, current workers who are testing it out could possibly do without it, should it malfunction as they have done the work on their own before. Previously, they were using laptops to input data. If they discontinue the use of laptops, there will still need to be something as a back-up in case of GEE issues. Newer workers will still need to be able to perform the job without instructions displayed for them instantaneously.
Having data displayed instantaneously can also be a danger, as our culture of getting everything we need right now, this instant gratification has caused a new generation to lack patience. Could this mentality also become an issue within the workplace? My opinion is that in the near future no, however, the issue is more likely to arise in the next generation of workers and onward.
It is definitely a careful decision to make, and one to also make wisely.