New Wearable Tech, New Problems

Sara Peters, Editor in Chief | 5/7/2014 | 55 comments

Sara Peters
There's a new player in the wearable technology market. While it has a new attitude and a new business plan, it also seems to have new problems that may cause it to miss the mark and the market.

Yesterday Epson announced the commercial availability of its Moverio BT-200 smart glasses. The Moverios are absolutely the principal competitor to Google Glass, but they're aimed squarely at the business market, not the consumer market.

One of my main quarrels with wearable technology of all kinds, and Google Glass in particular, is that it's usually hideous. Google has been addressing that fashion problem by teaming up with top designers to create glasses that look good, but as I've said before, I still wouldn't be caught dead in them.

Epson is simply avoiding the style problem by creating glasses that are meant to be worn someplace where you don't need to look your best -- like a factory or a lab. From the press release:

    [Augmented reality] smart glasses can improve worker efficiency in vertical markets such as healthcare, logistics, field service, energy, manufacturing, education, retail, and more. Developers such as APX Labs and Metaio are already working with Epson and enterprises to incorporate the Moverio BT-200 smart glasses’ “see-through” augmented reality technology to allow for use cases such as retail and wholesale supply chain tracking, surgical training for doctors in the operating room, and remote field service support for complex repair assistance.

By ignoring the consumer market, Epson is smartly both avoiding one of wearables' biggest problems and differentiating itself from Google. Further, while Google Glass's $1,500 price tag is suitable for a luxury item, the Moverio BT-200's $700 price is a bit easier to get past a CFO. Unfortunately, the Moverio glasses have a different problem: They need to be plugged in -- not to a wall outlet, thankfully, but they do need to be plugged into an Android phone.

On its own that's not a dreadful inconvenience. Workers can clip their phones to their belts or slip one in a pocket. If Epson modified the Moverios so that they could communicate with phones via Bluetooth, that would eliminate the need for annoying wires. However, the phone isn't just used to power the glasses. It's used to operate the glasses' features. In other words, you still need your hands.

It's a bit of a stretch to consider these glasses solely "wearable," because to use them you still need to carry a handheld mobile device. Since you'll need to operate them with your fingers, it will still be messy to try to use the glasses when you're a mechanic covered in grease or a surgeon covered in blood. Still, if you are a mechanic or a surgeon, and being covered in grease and blood isn't going to stop you from using computer equipment, then the Moverio glasses might be far preferable to a laptop, tablet, or projector.

Further, industries could take advantage of the Android connection by building custom apps for the Moverios. Nevertheless, it seems that at the moment, the fashionable smart glasses fall short on fashion and the useful smart glasses fall short on utility.

How might your organization use smart glasses for business purposes? Does the smaller price point make the Moverios more attractive to your company than Google Glass? Is the need to control the glasses with an Android device less of a hassle than I imagine? Let us know in the comments below.

View Comments: Oldest First | Newest First | Threaded View
Page 1 / 6   >   >>
Nicky48   New Wearable Tech, New Problems   5/7/2014 5:39:03 PM
Smart watch over Smart glasses
I am so looking forward to an Apple smart watch. I will totally skip the glasses though.

They might be a fad for a while but not for long - at least that's my prediction. 
zerox203   New Wearable Tech, New Problems   5/7/2014 8:25:24 PM
Re: New Wearable Tech, New Problems
agreed on all counts, Sara. I am skeptical that if someone handed me these glasses, scott-free, and asked me to wear them and use them for work, whether or not I would really get much use out of them. Slap the $700 price tag on top of it, and you can be sure I'll be staying very far away from the Moverio BT-200. Like Google glass, I'm very keen on the novelty, and very willing to accept that the lackluster quality of these early offerings may be necessary first steps on the road to the sci-fi future we all want to imagine.

Nevertheless, it almost feels like the wearable computing trend has already come and gone without making much of a splash. Now, to be fair, that's all talking about personal use - maybe, as Moverio is hoping, there's a whole other enterprise market to tap into... somehow, though, I doubt it. Will the $700 price tag be enticing to CFOs? Well, think of all the CFOs you know... doesn't sound right, does it? Curt wrote last month that Shelby Motors uses just 1-2 tablets on their factory floor - I think that's evidence right there that the age of the smart glass might still be a ways off.
soozyg   New Wearable Tech, New Problems   5/8/2014 9:26:36 AM
Re: Smart watch over Smart glasses
They might be a fad for a while but not for long

I agree. We will probably talk about both the consumer and the B2B glasses for a long time, then they will finally be produced, a few rich people and corporations will buy them for a year or two, many flaws will be discovered causing limited usability, and then no one will talk about them again.
soozyg   New Wearable Tech, New Problems   5/8/2014 9:28:52 AM
liquids
being covered in grease and blood isn't going to stop you from using computer equipment,

I don't think it's a mess issue; if such an expensive instrument got anything on it--liquid, dust, vapor--it would probably make the glasses malfunction.
Zaius   New Wearable Tech, New Problems   5/9/2014 12:13:20 AM
Re: liquids
At first we need to get the wearable things right. After that we might think about the elements and their effects.
Susan Fourtané   New Wearable Tech, New Problems   5/9/2014 5:31:54 AM
Not ready for the market
Sara, 

I don't see much convenience in usability here. Epson seems to have launched a product that was not ready yet.

Google Glass comes to the market soon next month, if I remeber well. Google Glass comes with a price tag of $600.

It is already being used in helathcare by surgeons who don't need to put their bloody hands on the device while wearing Glass. 

-Susan
User Ranking: Blogger
SaneIT   New Wearable Tech, New Problems   5/9/2014 7:28:21 AM
New solutions
"the Moverio glasses have a different problem: They need to be plugged in -- not to a wall outlet, thankfully, but they do need to be plugged into an Android phone."

 

I don't see this as a huge problem.  As a first generation device I don't mind at all that it would be a "display" and use an Android device as i's computing power.  In my eyes this is a smart move.  I would like to see a wireless connection in the next generation of the glasses though.  I see smart phones becoming good enough to be used as the processor, memory and storage space for a desktop so why not just have different interfaces for the display like this pair of glasses.

 
soozyg   New Wearable Tech, New Problems   5/9/2014 8:24:10 AM
Re: liquids
Ah, see, I don't think we'll ever get it right with the glasses. I think there will always be issues, as there always are with any computer system.
Pedro Gonzales   New Wearable Tech, New Problems   5/9/2014 9:35:46 AM
Re: New solutions
I agree. for a first generation device it still has many things to improve but i think it is going in the right direction.  May be as people get it and they get more feedback they will be able to resolve some of this issues.
Damian Romano   New Wearable Tech, New Problems   5/9/2014 10:17:13 AM
Potential solutions.
The only business case I can currently see for google glasses is perhaps attending webinars from anywhere. Instead of having a need to fire-up and stare into a laptop or any other device, this would make sense. I envision those people riding the subway and watching a presentation. 
Page 1 / 6   >   >>


The blogs and comments posted on EnterpriseEfficiency.com do not reflect the views of TechWeb, EnterpriseEfficiency.com, or its sponsors. EnterpriseEfficiency.com, TechWeb, and its sponsors do not assume responsibility for any comments, claims, or opinions made by authors and bloggers. They are no substitute for your own research and should not be relied upon for trading or any other purpose.

More Blogs from Sara Peters
Sara Peters   5/30/2014   18 comments
Before I throw my knapsack over my shoulder, head out the door, slouch my way down lonely roads, and try to get a kind stranger to give me a lift to DarkReading, I want to bid a fond adieu ...
Sara Peters   5/1/2014   32 comments
It's time for an intervention. This addiction to Windows XP has gone too far.
Sara Peters   4/10/2014   21 comments
The race is on to restore trust in the very security tools that are used to ensure online trust. Websites, applications, and services are hastening to patch Heartbleed, a flaw in the ...
Sara Peters   4/4/2014   17 comments
Tablets are becoming more affordable all the time, but they're not so inexpensive that you wouldn't worry if kindergartners treated them with the same care they treat construction paper ...
Latest Archived Broadcast
We talk with Bernard Golden about accelerating application delivery in the cloud.
On-demand Video with Chat
Register for this video discussion to learn how tablets can provide true business usability and productivity.
E2 IT Migration Zones
IT Migration Zone - UK
Why PowerShell Is Important
Reduce the Windows 8 Footprint for VDI
Rethinking Storage Management
IT Migration Zone - FR
SQL Server : 240 To de mémoire flash pour votre data warehouse
Quand Office vient booster les revenus Cloud et Android de Microsoft
Windows Phone : Nokia veut davantage d'applications (et les utilisateurs aussi)
IT Migration Zone - DE
Cloud Computing: Warum Unternehmen trotz NSA auf die „private“ Wolke setzen sollten
Cloud Computing bleibt Wachstumsmarkt – Windows Azure ist Vorreiter
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Enterprise Efficiency Twitter Feed
Site Moderators Wanted
Enterprise Efficiency is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations with IT industry leaders; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail:
[email protected]
Dell's Efficiency Modeling Tool
The major problem facing the CIO is how to measure the effectiveness of the IT department. Learn how Dell’s Efficiency Modeling Tool gives the CIO two clear, powerful numbers: Efficiency Quotient and Impact Quotient. These numbers can be transforma¬tive not only to the department, but to the entire enterprise.

Read the full report
The State of Enterprise Efficiency in the Virtual Era: Virtualization – Smart Approaches to Maximize Gains
Virtualization is a presence in nearly all enterprise data centers. But not all companies are using it to its best effect. Learn the common characteristics of success, what barriers companies face, and how to get the most from your efforts.

Read the full report
Informed CIO: Dollars & Sense: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Cut through the VDI hype and get the full picture -- including ROI and the impact on your Data Center -- to make an informed decision about your virtual desktop infrastructure deployments.

Read the full report
SPONSORED BY DELL
CASE STUDIES
EBOOKS
PUBLIC SECTOR RESOURCES
VIDEOS
WHITE PAPERS
WINDOWS SERVER 2012 RESOURCES
A Video Case Study – Translational Genomics Research Institute
e2 Video


On the Case
TGen IT: Where We're Going Next

7|11|12   |   08:12   |   10 comments


Now that TGen has broken new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions, the company discusses what will come next for it and for personalized medicine.
On the Case
Better Care Through Better Communications

6|6|12   |   02:24   |   11 comments


The achievements of the TGen/Dell project could improve how all people receive healthcare, because they are creating ways to improve end-to-end communication of medical data.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Are Now

5|15|12   |   06:58   |   6 comments


TGen is breaking new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Were

4|27|12   |   06:45   |   10 comments


The Translational Genomics Research Institute wanted to save lives, but its efforts were hobbled by immense computing challenges related to collecting, processing, sharing, and storing enormous amounts of data.
On the Case
1,200% Faster

4|18|12   |   02:27   |   12 comments


Through their partnership, Dell and TGen have increased the speed of TGen’s medical research by 1,200 percent.
On the Case
IT May Improve Children's Chances of Survival

4|17|12   |   02:12   |   8 comments


IT is helping medical researchers reach breakthroughs in a way and pace never seen before.
On the Case
Medical Advances in the Cloud

4|10|12   |   1:25   |   5 comments


TGen and Dell are pushing the boundaries of computing, and harnessing the power of the cloud to improve healthcare.
On the Case
TGen: Living the Mission

4|9|12   |   2:25   |   3 comments


TGen's CIO puts the organizational mission at the heart of everything the IT staff does.
On the Case
TGen Speeding Up Biomedical Research to Save More Lives

4|5|12   |   1:59   |   6 comments


The Translational Genomics Research Institute is revamping its computing to improve speed, storage, and collaboration – and, most importantly, to save lives.
On the Case
Computing Power Helping to Save Children's Lives

3|28|12   |   2:13   |   3 comments


The Translational Genomics Institute’s partnership with Dell is enabling them to treat kids with neuroblastoma more quickly and save more lives.
Tom Nolle
The Big Reason to Use Office

3|18|14   |   02:24   |   46 comments


Office and personal productivity tools come in a first-class and coach flavor set, but what makes the difference is primarily little things that most users won't encounter. What's the big issue in using something other than Office, and can you get around it?
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Mobile Security — A Use Case

3|4|14   |   04:27   |   16 comments


New mobile security solutions can accommodate a wide array of needs, including those of a complex university environment.
Tom Nolle
Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money

1|16|14   |   2:13   |   16 comments


The DC Court of Appeals voided most of the Neutrality Order, and whatever it might mean for the Internet overall, it might mean better and cheaper Internet VPNs for businesses.
Tom Nolle
The Internet of Everythinguseful

1|10|14   |   2:18   |   19 comments


We really don't want an "Internet of Everything" but even building an Internet of Everythinguseful means setting some ground rules to insure there's value in the process and that costs and risks are minimized.
Tom Nolle
Maturing Google Chrome

12|30|13   |   2.18   |   25 comments


Google's Chrome OS has a lot of potential value and a lot of recent press, but it still needs something to make it more than a thin client. It needs cloud integration, it needs extended APIs via web services, and it needs to suck it up and support a hard drive.
Sara Peters
No More Cookie-Cutter IT

12|23|13   |   03.58   |   21 comments


Creating the right combination of technology, people, and processes for your IT organization is a lot like baking Christmas cookies.
Sara Peters
Smart Wigs Not a Smart Idea

12|5|13   |   3:01   |   46 comments


Sony is seeking a patent for wigs that contain computing devices.
Tom Nolle
Cloud in the Wild

12|4|13   |   02:23   |   15 comments


On a recent African trip I saw examples of the value of the cloud in developing nations, for educational and community development programs. We could build on this, but not only in developing economies, because these same programs are often under-supported even in first-world countries.
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Is Malware Evading Your IPS?

11|18|13   |   03:16   |   4 comments


Intrusion prevention software is supposed to detect and block malware intrusions, but clever malware authors can evade your IPS in these five main ways.
Sara Peters
Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

9|27|13   |   3:15   |   38 comments


A good professional mentor can change your life for the better... but where do you find one?
Tom Nolle
SDN Wars & You Could Win

9|17|13   |   2:10   |   5 comments


VMware's debate with Cisco on SDN might finally create a fusion between an SDN view that's all about software and another that's all about network equipment. That would be good for every enterprise considering the cloud and SDN.
Ivan Schneider
The Future of the Smart Watch

9|12|13   |   3:19   |   39 comments


Wearing a bulky, oversized watch is good training for the next phase in wristwatches: the Internet-enabled, connected watch. Why the smartphone-tethered connected watch makes sense, plus Ivan demos an entirely new concept for the "smart watch."
Tom Nolle
Cutting Your Cloud Storage Costs

9|4|13   |   2:06   |   3 comments


Cloud storage costs are determined primarily by the rate at which files are changed and the possibility of concurrent access/update. If you can structure your storage use to optimize these factors you can cut costs, perhaps to zero.
Sara Peters
Do CIOs Need an IT Background?

8|29|13   |   2:11   |   23 comments


Most of the CIOs interviewed in the How to Become a CIO series did not start their careers as IT professionals. So is an IT background essential?
Ivan Schneider
The Internet Loves Birthdays

8|27|13   |   3:25   |   69 comments


The Internet has evolved into a machine for drumming up a chorus of "Happy Birthday" messages, from family, friends, friends of friends who you added on Facebook, random people that you circled on G+, and increasingly, automated bots. Enough already.