My first exposure to Google Glass was in the summer of 2013, when the Medical Device Daily and BioWorld Today staff were given a chance to demo the technology at the Thomson Reuters’ Atlanta office. My first reaction to Glass, was that this was something straight out of those old Dragon Ball Z cartoons that I use to watch when I was in college.
You know the ones where the character would wear glasses and a glance through the fictional technology would give the stats on his opponent, or maybe not and I’m the only anime fan here - but I digress. Fast forward to 2014 (which is almost over) and I’m just wrapping up writing a series on Google Glass, a little more than one year removed from my first exposure to the technology.
After various interviews with developers, analysts, entrepreneurs, and large medical device companies developing for Google Glass, I came up with the following conclusion. Google Glass is a concept that has the potential to change the way physicians and clinicians go about their day to day tasks. The thought of reading a patient’s chart and gaining access to their medical records, without having to carry around a clunky e-tablet (never thought I’d type that phrase), is not only appealing but is also crucial in an environment where multi-tasking is paramount. Hands free access via cutting edge technology? You’re going to be hard pressed to find a physician that can argue that point.
And developers of the apps on the technology love it. Number one, they aren’t reinventing the wheel. they’re developing already existing apps for a game-changing platform and number two, they’re getting a second chance to get on the ground floor of a game-changing technology. (E-Tablets and smartphones were the first for those who are keeping score).
But there is an issue with Google Glass. Before it can catch on and make an impact on the healthcare landscape, it has to be accepted by the most important group of all - the average consumer. And at this point, it’s failing its mark with attracting this particular audience. Google Glass quite frankly isn’t being viewed as being as “cool” as say the I-Pad was when it was first introduced and that is a problem.
Apple was able to seamlessly integrate its e-Tablet into the culture and into general society. Apple did this so much so that you even have toddlers and pre-schoolers using the devices (I should know, my three-year-old has had one for more than a year now). If a technology is going to catch on then it has to have a strong ecosystem surrounding it.
Now it should be noted that Glass is just in its prototype stage, and Google is just investigating the utility of the device. Which some say is sound logic, and I can’t entirely disagree with that. Glass has the potential to usher in new waves of hands-free technology and to change how we consume data. The question is, if it will be some iteration of Glass itself, or will it be some other technology that capitalizes off of the door that Google has opened.