Smartglasses: What Could Businesses Achieve With a $300 Pair?

1 - Smartglasses: What Could Businesses Achieve With a $300 Pair?
2 - Google Glass: When Less Can Be More
3 - Epiphany Eyewear
4 - No Learning Curve
5 - True Tech Accessory
6 - Much to Be Said for Discretion
7 - Pivothead
8 - Rugged, Enterprise Applications
9 - Back It Up
10 - The Opportunity
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Smartglasses: What Could Businesses Achieve With a $300 Pair?

by Michelle Maisto

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Google Glass: When Less Can Be More

Google introduced smartglasses to the mainstream (even if the mainstream couldn't buy them) with Glass. Glass offers an augmented reality experience and can perform a variety of tasks when prompted by voice. But it costs $1,500, and it's very obvious. So much so that Google recently offered users some etiquette tips for wearing them.

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Epiphany Eyewear

Epiphany Eyewear for now makes a single style of smartglasses in the mold of Ray-Ban Wayfarers. They can be worn with clear lenses, prescription lenses or sunglasses. The camera is located just above the wearer's right eye. When the camera is recording, a blue light blinks—a privacy gesture intended for those around the wearer, so there's no question about whether or when the glasses are recording.

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No Learning Curve

To begin and stop recording, users press the logo on the frames' arm. According to Cory Grenier, Epiphany's director of marketing and sales, the Epiphany glasses feature a 160-degree, wide-angle lens that "allows you to capture what you're actually viewing." Other smartglasses, including Glass, he said, offer nearer to a 75-degree viewing angle.

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True Tech Accessory

That the glasses don't stand out as smartglasses is important. For example, a retailer could potentially have employees wear Epiphany Eyewear to record sales transactions during training. With more obvious smartglasses, the experience, from the customer's end, would be different.

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Much to Be Said for Discretion

According to Grenier, Epiphany has been contacted by a number of enterprises, including a pharmaceutical company, a major retailer and the Olympic Committee. Another request recently came from a Ukrainian national, who wanted to use the glasses to discreetly film the recent protests.

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A company called Pivothead makes comparably priced glasses ($269) that feature a 1080p HD camera between the wearer's eyes. While it's easy to imagine someone wearing these to film a run down a ski hill, or maybe for field service uses such as documenting deliveries, it's harder to imagine them easily slotting into the mainstream and being worn by young women for fun or fashion.

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Rugged, Enterprise Applications

XOEye Technologies makes wearable devices for blue-collar industries and has a handful of prototype smartglasses. Gartner Research Director Angela McIntyre says camera-focuses smartglasses (without augmented reality) are being piloted in areas such as training, field sales, field service, inspections, manufacturing and warehousing.

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Back It Up

Grenier says another nice feature of Epiphany's smartglasses is that they don't only store video; when connected to another device via microUSB, they can store any kind of multimedia files. "We find ourselves carrying around our press kits in our glasses," said Grenier.

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The Opportunity

Neil Mawston, executive director of Strategy Analytics' Global Wireless Practice, says Epiphany may be a bit early to a market that's only slowly coming together, but that there is an opportunity—given that 1 billion people in the world wear glasses, contact lenses, goggles or sunglasses. Below, Katie Couric tried out some Epiphany Eyewear smartglasses on her television show.

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