Credit: Richard Manley/U.S.Navy
The world's largest long-haul airline wants both employees and customers using smart glasses.
Emirates Airlines, based in Dubai, revealed this week that the company sees smart glasses as a strategic initiative that should help them fend off discount airline rivals.
Airlines succeed when they can treat passengers with a personal touch and top-notch customer service. For example, flight attendants can call passengers by name, provide personalized meals (that are, say, vegetarian or kosher), give extra attention to nervous fliers, provide added service for loyalty-card members or keep an eye on passengers with a history of disruptiveness.
This kind of service is hard to provide because of the lack of readily accessible knowledge.
Flight attendants wearing augmented reality smart glasses, however, could use face recognition that identifies a passenger, with a heads-up display (HUD) that shows the airlines' notes about each individual. The end result is that these employees will perform like they have incredibly actionable knowledge -- as if they recognize each passenger and "know" exactly what they need for optimal service.
Emirate's initiative strongly hints at the the five surprising and important things you need to know about the coming world of smart glasses.
1. Google Glass was a success
The best-known smart glasses product is Google Glass. The false narrative around Glass is that Google tried to rush it into the market and that it was rejected by the public, and therefore failed.
The truth is that Google's R&D lab launched a splashy and expensive public beta program, expressly to determine what this new technology could best be used for. They learned all they could, then transitioned the project out of the lab and into a division for developing glass as a product.
The first Google Glass product is called Glass at Work. Google runs a Glass at Work developers program for the creation of enterprise applications for Glass.
One of the biggest and earliest users of Google Glass in manufacturing is Boeing, whose workers use Glass for building airplanes.
Specifically, Boeing airplane manufacturing involves a complex process of connecting all the wiring that controls a plane's many electrical systems. The process is massively knowledge intensive. Google Glass enables workers to function as if they've memorized all the complexities of connecting the wires. They behave as if they have perfect knowledge, and keep their hands free to do the work itself.
One inspiring project at Silicon Valley's Stanford University called the Autism Glass Project is using Google Glass to help children with autism form emotional bonds with people by helping them read facial cues and other forms of emotional communication.
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