There’s nothing wrong with Google Glass, but they defined their audience wrongly

Google Glass courtesy of Fast Company
Google Glass courtesy of Fast Company

One of the most important elements of creating a brand is deciding who your audience is. Most of us think we know intuitively. And yet for me, really putting the work in here is often overlooked. The more you understand the needs, thoughts, desires and motivations of your REAL audience, the more fully you can wrap the brand around them. You create something they need before they realise they need it, rather than reacting to others.

So, in the last few weeks, Google have just admitted with Google Glass that they got this audience definition completely wrong at launch. It was aimed at techies and geeks. All of us have probably laughed at someone at a trade show talking to their glasses whilst recording everything they see?

So whilst there has been some celebration in it being scrapped as it has been unpopular with consumers for reasons of privacy invasion, its real use was in a professional environment.

With the need for medical staff to both protect themselves from litigation and bring in external help when they need it, Glass is perfect. It allows a paramedic at a scene to call upon external expertise in an instant. Who would laugh at that? And it also allows a doctor to record every part of a procedure and log it with a patient’s records, in case anything goes wrong, or more positively if anything unexpectedly goes right and they can refer back as to why.

So, good on Google for admitting their mistake and repositioning. It’s not often a product that was given such a big launch and failed is given a second chance. In the longer term, I can see this, or its derivative, becoming standard headwear for anyone who has to deal with the general public.


Kids, iPads, conventional media and Blippar

This is a sweet little video that is in fact quite scary. A small child that is so used to the moving media that an iPad presents, that they are completely stumped when they are presented with a magazine and it’s contents.

It’s probably quite worrying to the owners of the print based media businesses how irrelevant their media is to younger audiences, who consume more through video than through print or conventional reading (sadly).

But Blippar may have an answer, as they are linking the two. It’s early days yet, but i’m quite hopeful about the way this augmented reality technology is going and the opportunities it offer for brands.

Gaming takes on a new dimension

This is a tough one to call. Is it a fake, is it a spoiler or is it the face of things to come in the future?

It’s almost like a usable version of augmented reality.

My belief is that it is a demo to see the public reaction to a new gaming format. This takes what the Eye Toy first delivered on the PS2, which was then picked up by the Nintendo Wii and delivers it in a far more seamless and intuitve fashion.

Whilst I’m not a gamer and can’t be bothered with any of the formats really (although I do like a bit of Tiger Woods golf on the Wii) what this does deliver (if you have an enormous house with no furniture to kick over as in this demo) is a gaming format that forces you to expend some calories whilst you play. Anything that gets kid playing properly and physically has to be a good thing, so i’ll watch with interest.

Sixth sense ‘Minority Report’ user interface in the real world

In the 2002 film Minority Report, with Tom Cruise, We see the most amazing example of a totally intuitive interactive user interface. Here’s a clip for you to remind yourself of what a clever film it was and how quickly ideas that are being posed, are now being delivered.

I remember watching it at the time, thinking how incredible it would be if we all started relating to our embedded computer systems like this. It’s as though the boundary between reality and computer is being continually blurred.

But now this new TED lecture from Pattie Maes at MIT Media Lab, Fluid Interfaces Group (what a cool title that is!), shows that this virtual or even augmented reality is almost achievable now.

It starts off a bit slowly, but then you can hear the crowd gasping at what is possible. From something as simple as your own hand becoming a keypad, to your own shopping preferences being overlaid onto available shopping products.

She even references Minority Report and then goes on to prove that they can deliver it today, for about the same price as a conventional mobile phone!

I am looking at the brands we work with and thinking what endless possibilities this delivers and what endless problems we now have to overcome to allow them to speak with a common voice on yet another platform in which they operate.

How Augmented Reality can begin to shape the way people are trained

If this video is to be believed, then BMW are beginning to use Augmented Reality in training their mechanics to repair and maintain their cars. I think this undermines the skill of a good time served technician and effectively ‘deskills’ the entire role to be one putting of your magic glasses and doing what you’re told. You can see it being used in wage negotiations to have an excuse to take on younger, less experienced operatives. It can turn a reasonable fitter into a master mechanic at a stroke. It even tells them what size spanner to take out of the toolbox and where that tricky screw you can never find is located.

Until something goes wrong that is, at which point the experienced person would be called straight back in to sort out the computer.

There is no doubt that it is very clever though and you can imagine it starting to be introduced into more mainstream training over the next few years. If you need to show someone how to do something, why not show them exactly, whilst they are actually on the job itself.

A brilliant Augmented reality demo by GE

I am in no way sure that I understand the point of this demo at all, but it’s very clever technology and the biggest companies in the world are starting to experiment with it.

Why not have a look at the GE page and try it for yourself. I did and it is amazing. Print the grid out here and then open the browser here. You’ll need to allow it to access your webcam. For me it worked perfectly in Firefox, but wouldn’t fire up in safari.

My very own GE wind farm created in my very own office - amazing
My very own GE wind farm created in my very own office - amazing

If the likes of GE are finding ways to embrace the power that is coming from augmented reality, I say again, as I did here and here, you’d better start thinking about how it fits into your brand.