Google Glass, Lifecasting and the Future of Business Video


 

Welcome to the billion channel universe.

{Overheard somewhere in the distant future, say…. next year.} “CSI Toledo is a re-run and there aren’t any new disasters on CNN, let’s watch Roger Kaputnik’s lifecast and see what he’s up to! The implications of Google Glass are far-reaching. From privacy issues, to changes in lifestyle, to new forms of entertainment and gaming, to education, to global communication, to new business behaviors, this is a big deal.  While it’s difficult to say which new wearable devices will be the next big thing, or how these devices will be adopted, one thing is certain – we are going to be capturing more and more of our lives on video and we’re going to be augmenting our daily living with easily accessible information and this is going to have a significant effect on all businesses.

We never really see these things coming.

No one saw the internet coming. Even years after it arrived most businesses dismissed it. Same with mobile, social media, tablet computers, and almost everything else. Sometimes mass adoption takes time (although the adoption cycles are getting much shorter) and being an early adopter is not always the best use of scarce resources. Google Glass is a class of device that is going to do two things: 1. Augment our lives with relevant and contextual information and 2. Record and broadcast our lives. Should businesses care if we all begin to stream our geo-tagged, time-coded and narrated life experiences wirelessly to our personal storage accounts where these visual data streams will be parsed, packaged and organized ready for us to add a soundtrack, Instagram ‘look’ and a bit of meta-tagging to so that we can broadcast our every living moment to the world? Yes, businesses should care. Here’s why:

The ‘outernet’. 

This isn’t just ‘augmented’ or ‘virtual’ reality, this is real reality. We’re going to start using technology to capture and share our life experiences, unencumbered, in real-time. This isn’t us behind our first, second or third screens, this is us living, communicating, learning, sharing and recording. The mobile phone got us out from behind our desks. These new devices will integrate with our day-to-day lives and the effect on business will be dramatic.

Customer experiences. Customer testimonials are one of the most powerful marketing tools you can employ. They are social proof – that last thing we need to ice our decision to buy that 7 blade razer. What if instead of a testimonial you could share real customer experiences.  Imagine a POV video that someone shared right after they had an exceptional customer experience with your brand. Or conversely, what if someone shared a nightmare experience with your product or service. (Remember that video of the FedEx guy heaving the computer monitor over the fence… now multiple that by a hundred or a thousand.) What would that do to your brand? Simply put – your company will have nowhere to hide. If your product or service sucks – everyone is going to know about it. If your product or service rocks – that story is going to be shared.

Hyper-Social. Most established companies still don’t ‘get’ social. Many new companies, especially tech companies, exist because of social. These new devices will make us hyper-social. We’re human – social is our nature (except for my crabby neighbor Ned…) and these devices will accelerate this trend. Sharing text and photos was just the first step. Sharing our life experiences will be commonplace and we’ll start to do this across geographic boundaries. We’ll all learn a bit more about each other – that’s a good thing. Businesses have to pay attention.

Customer Support. Imagine being able to share (not explain… not show… but truly share) your experience with someone at the help-desk who can see and experience what you are experiencing – that would be remarkable. Customer support will be a critical success factor for any business that has any degree of complexity in their product or service offering. The best products are the ones you can just use right out of the box (I.e. Apple stuff…). But for those products or services that need explanation, or for when that product isn’t working the way it should, nothing will engender customer loyalty like having someone there to guide you in real time.

Advertising and marketing. (Google has stated that advertising isn’t a priority for this new product. I laughed out loud when I read this.)  There’s already been some pretty good Google Glass parody videos and you can imagine how distracting ads could be with this device but promotion doesn’t need to take form of graphic images or video – it can just be contextually delivered information based on your current situation. This has always been the great promise of Mobile but aside from Foursquare and a few other apps and games, mobile advertising has yet to live up to it’s promise. This will change. The purpose of these glasses is to help you acquire contextually relevant information. That search will be supported by audio queues from you and also by your circumstances. Visual search will also be part of this experience. (Where am I? What is this? Where do I go? Show me who I know is around. etc.) All of these things are advertising and promotional opportunities. Many of these exist today on your cellphone but it’s a kludge. Contextual awareness today is rudimentary. A head’s-up camera is a game-changer. Now your device and apps will be able to interpret your circumstances in real-time and provide relevant information based on your voice requests and preferences.

Market Research. Get a bunch of people together all wearing Google Glass for your focus group sessions and send them off on a brand quest to use / experiment with your product. This is research gold. Real-time feedback amongst peers all sharing and talking about a real-world brand experience – not behind a two way mirror. There is no better measure of a product or service than seeing how it performs in it’s normal environment under normal circumstances. This isn’t just eye tracking, it’s limb, torso, full body and attitude tracking all rolled into one experience.

Internal Communications, Public Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility will all take on new meanings and mandates when you can share the experiences that you are trying to communicate. Instead of stating that ‘our company cares about this, you can prove it by showing what you’ve been doing about it. Talking is good, but real life examples are better.

Get everyone moving again. Over the last few decades we’ve become a society of people who sit at a desk and stare at a piece of glass all day. It’s interesting to note that we spend billions now on air quality, environmental efficiencies and workplace health and safety standards and yet we totally ignore the one thing that is doing us the most harm – sitting all day. These devices could help to reverse that unhealthy trend.

The implications of always communicating, always connected and always recording are huge. Just because 98% of our lives are not that interesting doesn’t mean we’re not going to record them. I’m sure Google is working on an algorithm right now to determine who’s life get’s moved to the first page. Maybe we will start watching each others ‘casts’ instead of television – isn’t this the evolution of Facebook.  (BTW – If anything is going to dislodge Facebook from it’s social perch… this would be it.) This is a development that businesses can’t ignore. From a  shopping experience where access to real-time information such as product specs, reviews, and comparative pricing is available to getting immediate help assembling your new ‘Bjorgen Huugen’ shelving unit, businesses are going to be able to engage with their customers in ways far beyond the mobile capabilities of today.

Bonus video – check out this video put together by college students to demonstrate the creepy, but entertaining possible evolution of this idea.

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2 thoughts on “Google Glass, Lifecasting and the Future of Business Video

  1. The Bonus video at the end of the article was very interesting and makes you think !!! 🙂 It takes your imagination on a ride on what the future possibilities are with the Google Glass… Thanks for sharing..

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