How Is Google Glass Doing in Enterprise and Industrial Settings?
Andrew Wheeler posted on March 02, 2020 |
How is Google Glass being used in manufacturing, training, maintenance and repair operations?

This version of Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 is very similar in form factor to the original Google Glass Enterprise Edition. (Image courtesy of Alphabet.)

Google is one of the world’s most profitable companies. Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world. Google owns YouTube. Google is a verb. Et cetera. One of the company’s early hardware projects, Project Glass, came to light in 2012. Project Glass came to market ($1,500) in 2013 and sold from 2013-2015 despite being widely panned as a privacy-intrusive and unpopular hardware product in the form of Google Glass Explorer Edition. 

The original Google Glass concept derives from the computing industry’s borderline mystical and currently unanswerable question of: what comes after the smartphone? Anything? What is the next mass-produced computing product that will succeed the smartphone? Is there one? Many people think the answer is smart glasses. But it is not Google Glass Explorer Edition. Seven years later, Google Glass Explorer Edition is receiving a “final software update.” Google is removing the ability to use your Google account on Glass Explorer Edition with your associated Google account. In addition, Google Glass Explorer user’s connection to back-end services. Google retooled its Glass product for enterprise and industrial applications.

Google Glass Enterprise Edition 1 and 2

Differences in technical specifications

The first and second Google Glass Enterprise Edition products aren’t all that much different in their design concept. The hardware for the second version has been upgraded a bit, and there is an option to have different frames that seem more like regular glasses.

Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 with a more “regular frames” design to them. (Image courtesy of Google.)

Glass Enterprise Edition 2 launched in May 2019 (moving out of Google’s storied moonshot factory to the Google AR & VR division) for $999 with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 chip running on Android Oreo X moonshot factory to the Google AR & VR division.

What Is Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 Best Used for in Industrial and Enterprise Settings?

In industrial and enterprise settings, Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 (EE2) is best suited for workers who need a hands-free computing assistant. Google Glass EE2 is perfectly suited for item picking and complex assembly. Quality assurance (QA) and in situ training are other good situations for hands-free work that can be augmented by smart glasses like Google Glass EE2. 

If you look at the Google Glass Enterprise Edition partner page, you’ll see 29 different partners that are using the EE2 headset in different capacities. Glass EE2 is currently used in areas such as manufacturing, maintenance, repair and logistics. 

DHL Is Using Ubimax Software for Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2

DHL ran a pilot program using the original Google Glass Enterprise Edition hardware and xPick, software created for logistics and supply chain management. With the arrival of Google Glass EE2, DHL is expanding its pilot program as part of a larger Industry 4.0 strategy. (Image courtesy of DHL.)

Upon further inspection of the partner page, you’ll see that some of the partners are using software from a company called Ubimax. For example, DHL uses augmented reality software created by Ubimax called xPick that runs on Google Glass EE2. Known as Ubimax’s “vision picking” program, DHL’s warehouses around the world will be using it with Google Glass EE2. Part of the reason DHL is expanding the use of Google Glass EE2 is because data from the 2015 pilot program showed an increase in productivity of 15 percent.

In the original pilot program, workers wore the headsets and accessed a digital heads-up display with xPick software from Ubimax. The heads-up display replaced a combination of tools usually used for locating, scanning, sorting and moving inventory: a handheld scanner and hard copies of referencing forms.

According to DHL, workers were able to not only pick faster and more efficiently with Glass EE2, but they also made fewer errors than with the handheld scanner and reference material. DHL’s vision picking program is set to expand to its logistics hubs in Chicago, Cincinnati and New York City as part of a larger strategy to digitize supply chain management and delivery using Industry 4.0 technologies such as autonomous vehicles, drones and wearables.

Manufacturing, Assembly and Quality Control: AGCO and Boeing

Boeing

(Image courtesy of Boeing.)

Boeing Ventures was part of a Series B round of funding to augmented reality (AR) startup Upskill, whose Skylight platform was designed to improve efficiency in manufacturing and assembling complex parts in the aerospace industry. Skylight works with Google Glass EE2, and helped Boeing minimize error rates and reduce overall production time by 25 percent. Electrical wiring of aircraft is complicated and must be accomplished so precisely that there is literally zero room for mistakes. Using Google Glass Enterprise Edition and Skylight, Boeing technicians were able to see and use digital interactive 3D wiring diagrams that were overlaid on their headsets as they worked on one of many assembly lines. 

In this case, the AR headset replaced huge 20-foot-long 2D drawings that technicians would use to manually check their work as they went about wiring aircraft assemblies. One common issue with 2D drawings versus 3D schematics is that a technician has to imagine 2D in 3D. With zero room for error in such a highly regulated industry like as aerospace, the pressure to get everything right is huge.

AGCO

(Image courtesy of AGCO.)

AGCO uses Glass at its manufacturing facility in Minnesota for quality control, training, assembly and paint preparation. After implementing an AR program featuring Glass, AGCO reported 30 percent less time spent on inspection. The company also reported a 300 percent increase in the efficiency of training individuals using the headsets. 

With fast hands-free access to digital checklists and instructions required for assembling products, workers became nimbler and more efficient at their jobs. But training staff on cross-functional operations using Glass changed the average learning curve from 10 days to 3 days. Overall, after implementing the headsets, AGCO improved overall processing time by nearly 30 percent while reducing cross-functional employee training and new hire training by 50 percent.

Bottom Line

In industrial and enterprise applications, Google Glass EE2 is best suited for workers who need a hands-free computing assistant. Item picking and complex assembly are perfectly suited for Google Glass EE2. Quality assurance and in situ training are other good situations for hands-free work that can be augmented by smart glasses like Google Glass EE2. There are some immediate issues with Google Glass EE2, one of which is that it is right-eye dominant. It also isn’t ruggedized, so it isn’t appropriate for certain industrial work environments that require ANSI-certified gear such as hard hats. The now defunct DAQRI smart helmet was ANSI certified, and the Trimble HoloLens 2 is ANSI certified as well.


Others who read this also liked:

 

Recommended For You