Google Glass is a bold attempt to embrace wearable technology.
It's the result of an ambitious, but not original, idea from Project X.
With wearable technology comes concerns about privacy, copyright, intellectual property and social norms.
Developing social conventions while wearing Glass (never Glasses) has already led to some over enthusiastic early adopters being labelled Glassholes.
Google Glass Hype
There's a lot of interest in Google Glass from the event industry. The hype is undeniable but does Glass live up to expectations? And how will it impact events? I took the chance to experience Glass at a recent Guardian Masterclass.
Glass is voice and head movement activated with the odd button press. It's good for taking photos and video and making simple voice activated searches. Since Glass is hands free and the image is equivalent to an excellent 27" flat screen, the potential for Augmented Reality becoming useful is huge.
However, the current hardware and software performance is limited. The battery is weak with only an hours use on a single charge. At the moment, Glass won't help you tackle messages, email, make a call or create content.
But many disruptive technologies, from the first printing press to the web itself, suffered from significant early weaknesses.
Wearable technology is still in nappies. (Seriously, don't bet against smart diapers.)
How will Google Glass impact events?
1. Facilitator Glass - Glass Head Up Display is the perfect tool to provide feedback to a facilitator or table host. Glass will provide timely audience feedback, content and information. Augmented Reality with facial recognition will identify delegates showing their name and biog along with what they have asked, shared, liked or are interested in. Event journal C&IT Magazine has covered the potential for Glass to 'empower moderators'.
2. Participant Glass - until the technical limitations of battery life are resolved, I don't think the delegate experience will be much affected beyond eye catching gimmick.
Longer term, consider the impact on the delegate of a combination of voice activation, augmented reality, facial recognition, indoor location positioning and social media built in to a Glass-like device. There is incredible potential for wearable tech like Glass to transform the delegate experience even further than the iPad.
3. Live Streaming - delegates participating in table activities, breakouts, discussions, Q&As, interviews and will be live streamed to main screen by the Glass camera. Any activity can be streamed or recorded for plenary playback or posterity. Glass will make film directors of all event attendees, enabling delegate generated content.
4. Registration Glass - with the power of facial recognition, welcome desk hosts will use Glass to banish registration queues.
One day, we will all wear technology. Just don't be a Glasshole!
Read more about Glass at Google and at Wikipedia.