Google Glass has landed in the UK. Take a trip down to the new Glass shop in Kings Cross, London and you can see for yourself whether the £1,000 eyewear represents the evolution of wearable computing, or whether it’s a consumer innovation that burns brightly for a brief moment, but then crashes and burns when it comes to sales.

What no one doubts is the momentum behind the technology. This concept of “wearables at work” is predicted to grow about 40% in the next few years, according to ABI Research, and Google has already announced its first enterprise developer partners. Augmedix, for example, is working with healthcare organizations to enable doctors to view electronic health records and other content through Google Glass, so spending less time on their computers and more time with patients. And APX Labs is developing “Skylight” as the leading business software for Glass, to give workers hands-free, real-time access to enterprise data and the expertise they need to do their job.

In Forrester Research’s April 2014 report “Quick Take: Google Makes Glass Visible To The Enterprise”, the analyst house sees limitless enterprise scenarios. Oil services giant Schlumberger, for example, equips field technicians with Google Glass, who might be “elbow-deep in grease” while using the device. Firefighters can pull up an architectural schematic of a burning building before they run inside, or locate the nearest fire hydrant with Google Maps for Glass. And Virgin Atlantic Airways is piloting Glass in its Upper Class lounge at Heathrow airport. In theory, staff there can offer faster, more personable service with Glass than by sitting behind a computer terminal typing away.

However, whenever a new technology enters the workplace, it’s not long before the inevitable question of security rears its head. It was the same a few years ago when smartphones and tablets began to infiltrate organizations and catapulted the concept of “bring your own device” into everyone’s lives. Security was the big headache. In fact, as Huddle’s recent research shows, mobile security is still a threat: according to the research, 51% of office workers keep work documents on personal laptops, 42% store work files on personal smartphones, while 37% of workers store work documents on their personal laptop.

Organizations certainly need to prepare themselves for the inevitable surge of interest in Google Glass—and prepare the appropriate security framework. The problem here is that when Google is showcasing Google Glass to customers, they are typically targeting senior executive decision makers—not the IT staff that need to integrate the technology. It needs to be the other way round: enterprise connectivity benefits are only achieved when end-to-end solutions—including security and management services—support the devices and connections.

A final thought: what about the consumer market for Google Glass? Many consumers’ first Glass experience might well be when it’s used by a customer service representative. They won’t find the technology particularly fashionable if they see it as a tool of work akin to a doctor’s stethoscope or a UPS driver’s electronic clipboard. Maybe the enterprise version of Google Glass should be differentiated from the consumer model.

The coming months and years will be fascinating for the technology. As long as Google Glass keeps an eye on security.


Request a Demo

© 2006 - 2019. All Rights Reserved.