Google Glass, wearables and the blurring of the IoT

Written by on August 19, 2015 in Opinion with 0 Comments

medical researchThe first iteration of Google Glass was laughed off stage. We were as guilty as others of poking fun at this weird new technology. We thought it would result in people wandering about, blinking and waving and (having been hacked) walking into lampposts. And, some months ago, it quietly disappeared.

A smaller, and smaller minded, company than Google would have written it off as a bad experience, or sold the technology to someone.

Now, though, Google Glass is back, and it looks as if they have found a powerful niche. Healthcare.

Health is at the heart of the wearable market, and as Brendan O’Brien explained the other day, healthcare is also the hottest market for capitalising on the IoT, and a great recurring revenue, value based healthcare, opportunity.

Google, who we love to hate, are undeniably clever. They have differentiated products in the IoT’s two strongest arenas – healthcare and automotive. In automotive, they are – literally – miles ahead, leading the field in the driverless car market (great video from TED). It will take a lot for someone to overtake them.

In healthcare, they have avoided the obvious wristband approach (except when it comes to curing cancer) and have repackaged Glass to add real value to the medical profession. One use for Glass is in toxicology. According to a report, Glass delivers quality that was acceptable in nearly 90 percent of consults, and resulted in altered treatment in over half of the cases where Glass was used, sharing the consult with a supervising physician. One of the benefits is that Glass is unobtrusive, yet powerful enough to be used as a diagnosis tool in toxicology cases, including poisons.

Several years ago, someone in Africa ‘strapped’ a microscope to an iPhone and was able to email pictures of blood samples to a university in Europe, where they could be scanned for signs of malaria. This seemed very cool, and very useful. Then someone said that if the FDA got wind of iPhones being used ‘as medical devices’ it could spell the end, if not huge delays in rolling out medical iPhone applications.

But Glass, like the iPhone with its microscope, is actually a way of sharing information, expertise and good quality data. Hopefully, its use in healthcare will continue to be proven and supported.

Having retired the consumer version of Glass (for the moment) Google is clearly targeting various verticals where its capabilities make sense. It will be interesting to follow developments.

Not only is this smart, but it marks the beginning of the blurring of the IoT. Glass, wearables and remote diagnostics is simply the way that the healthcare industry is rapidly evolving. The IoT is a term that will only be used by the communications industry to describe the connectedness of the devices involved.

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Alex Leslie

About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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