How Google Glass could drive workplace innovation

Which industries will benefit most from smartglasses?

Google Glass isn't even on the market yet (you might see "Glass Explorers" wearing them around), but smartglasses like Glass are already expected to bring major changes to the workplace.

In a new report, Gartner says that smartglasses have the potential to improve workplace efficiency in numerous industries.

"In the next three to five years, the industry that is likely to experience the greatest benefit from smartglasses is field service, potentially increasing profits by $1 billion annually," said Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner. "The greatest savings in field service will come from diagnosing and fixing problems more quickly and without needing to bring additional experts to remote sites."

If used in manufacturing and other heavy industries, where Gartner also sees smartglasses to be the most useful, the glasses could be used for tasks like on-the-job training or assisting with repairs. The impact on industries like retail and healthcare is expected to be less. Those industries would use the smartglasses mostly for looking up information -- a store clerk searching the inventory. We've also seen Google Glass used in the operating room . "Weightless industries" -- insurance, media, banking -- are expected to have the lowest impact from smartglasses.

Currently, less than one percent of companies in the United States use smartglasses, but that number could increase to 10 percent in the next five years. It should help that numerous companies -- including Microsoft and Samsung -- are working on their own versions of smartglasses. The competition should help drive down costs and help increase the number of companies investing in them and testing their various uses.

It's still extremely early in the life of smartglasses, but it will in fun to see the other innovative ways industries use the technology that we aren't even thinking of yet.

Photo: Flickr/Thomas Hawk

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