In Defense Of Google Glass

This post originally appeared on Forbes.

John C. Dvorak from PC Magazine UK recently wrote a piece outlining all of the reasons that Google Glass will fail.

He is largely wrong.

Dvorak’s primary thesis is that Google is taking a cavalier attitude towards privacy and that the public won’t stand for it. He predicts that as a result of slow sales (which he doesn’t quantify), Google will shut down Glass in the next year.

There are a few problems with Dvorak’s hypothesis:

Glass is not a walking invasion of privacy

Most peoples’ negative reactions to Glass from a privacy perspective are rooted in the camera. Theoretically, this camera could be recording at all times. Although technically true, that fear is not a logical interpretation of reality. Just because one is wearing Glass doesn’t mean that one is recording. But more importantly, new technologies don’t create new behaviors out of thin air.

In other words, if everyone was so adamant about recording their peers, what’s stopping them from doing that today with their phones? If people aren’t doing that today with smartphones, why will they all of a sudden do that with Glass? Glass’s camera is more convenient than that of a smartphone, but that doesn’t mean people will use it in the most nefarious, privacy-invading way possible. Social norms and self-image will prevent the vast majority of people from recording when inappropriate.

“But what about the creeps in the world?” you may ask.

Just because most people won’t use Glass for nefarious purposes, that doesn’t mean that some people won’t, right? And those bad apples will rot the entire tree, right?

Once again, simple logic comes to the rescue: people who want to record others in public typically don’t want others to know that they’re being recorded. Glass is a particularly awful tool at being discreet. It rests clearly on one’s face in plain sight and forces the recorder to look at the intended target. Google Glass is more likely the least deceptive technology than the most deceptive. Smartphones, given their ubiquity, are far more apt for deception.

Smart glasses in 2014 are where desktop computing was in 1978

Google initially designed and marketed Glass for consumers. Eighteen months later though, it’s clear that like desktops and cell phones before it, Glass will be adopted by enterprises first.

The first real application for desktop computers was spreadsheets (in the form of VisiCalc). In 1978, despite all of its limitations, the Apple II desktop computer was capable enough to render a 2-dimensional spreadsheet of numbers linked by basic addition and multiplication. Business analysts in finance and the corporate world immediately rejoiced because they no longer had to calculate each cell by hand. Spreadsheets made business analysts and executives 10x more productive.

In the early ’90s, Motorola released the first commercial cellphones. Despite their poor performance, poor network coverage, high price, and excessive bulk, business executives bought them in droves. Why? Because there was undeniable value in making phone calls while mobile. They would have gladly paid $1,000 / month for a phone in order to make billion dollar business decisions on the move.

The teams that built Glass intended it for wide-scale consumer adoption, but like Steve Jobs in 1978, were too early. However, early “killer apps” are emerging for Glass for use in the enterprise.

Of course, I have every reason to believe in a wave of enterprise Glass adoption. My company, Pristine, is on a mission to dramatically improve field service, training, and education through Glass. We’ve built a scalable, secure, robust, remote-collaboration suite for Glass to help local technicians fix problems that they otherwise never could have. Rather than struggle with a phone call to remotely diagnose mechanical problems, our customers empower their engineers to share what they’re seeing securely to remotely collaborate and fix mission-critical equipment, leading to massive ROI in healthcare, manufacturing, aerospace, oil & gas, and more.

What Dvorak gets right

While the killer apps for Glass in the enterprise are clear to many, Dvorak is closer to the mark in terms of consumer adoption. Currently, “consumer” ownership of Google Glass is limited to very early adopters who are trying the technology for its own sake, in absence of a truly game-changing application.

For consumers, the emergence of a killer app will be predicated on a few things:

  1. Glass won’t achieve mainstream adoption until you can no longer tell the difference between Google Glasses and regular glasses.
  2. Glass needs a killer app. It’s clear that given current hardware constraints, there isn’t a killer app for consumers. Perhaps augmented reality technologies will deliver the killer app for consumers.
  3. The price needs to fall dramatically. Luckily, Moore’s law dictates that the price will drop.

So where does this leave Glass?

Is Google going to kill Glass like other high-profile projects (e.g. Wave, Reeder, Buzz)? Doubtful. Larry Page just handed over most of his daily responsibilities to Sundar Pichai so Page can spend more time accelerating commercialization of Google’s most promising nascent technologies such as Glass and self-driving cars.

Instead, I offer this: Glass is going to change the world. But like other world-changing technologies before it (desktop computers and smartphones), Glass will solve expensive problems in the enterprise before achieving broader consumer adoption. Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at kyle@pristine.io to talk more.

Google Glass Startup Pristine Eyes Health Market

This post originally appeared on Investors Business Daily.

Google Glass, the high-profile wearable computer developed by Web search leader Google, hasn’t yet rolled out to the general public, but it is showing up in some workplaces.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Glass is being tested for use in airline customer service, auto manufacturing, medical education and remote office-machine repair, among other applications.

Health care, though, is the focus of Austin, Texas-based startup Pristine. The company’s EyeSight software transforms Google Glass into a video streaming tool for surgeons to wear in the operating room. With this software, professionals can supervise medical procedures in real time.

Pristine’s 26 customers include medical centers, medical schools and medical device companies, but the company intends to expand beyond the medical world.

The company has raised $5.4 million from lead investor S3 Ventures, some angel investors and some of its hospital system customers.

At the helm is Pristine CEO Kyle Samani, who sees the possibilities for the Google eyewear in health care, where, as he put it, “hands-free is definitely better than not hands-free.”

Pristine is one of Google’s 10 certified Glass at Work partners, a status that gives the startup regular access to Google’s experts.

IBD recently spoke with Samani about his startup.

IBD: How did Pristine get started?

Samani: I started Pristine 18 months ago. Prior to that, I was working at a company, VersaSuite, which builds electronic medical records for use in hospitals. I spent a few years there — one year in engineering, one year in technical sales, one year as a product manager responsible for all of their clinical applications. I learned a lot about health care work flows and HIPAA (the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and software development and sales.

When Google released Glass (a limited release for select users) in February 2013, I got very excited by the opportunities to build software for Glass to be used in health care. It was a natural because it’s a hands-free computer. We realized the opportunities for live video streaming were really the most compelling. That was the impetus for getting started.

In May 2013, I quit my job, along with my co-founder Patrick (Kolencherry, a consultant who studied math and statistics at the University of Warwick), who’s now chief technical officer at Pristine. Patrick and I have been friends since high school computer science class at Austin’s Westwood High School. We went off to college and did our own things and started our own careers, and then I realized I really needed a CTO. So I reached out to Patrick.

We ended up building a platform that allows the person using the Glass to stream live video through the camera to any other device anywhere in the world in a HIPAA-compliant way.

IBD: What makes Pristine’s EyeSight product compliant with the patient privacy aspects of HIPAA?

Samani: There’s nothing about this device that makes it HIPAA-compliant or not HIPAA-compliant. Where all that comes into play is the software and how our system not only encrypts data, but how we store and manage the data, how users are authenticated to get into the network, how users are provisioned to manage (the data). There’s a whole list of protocols and regulations we have to adhere to not only on Glass but also on all the other platforms we support.

IBD: How are medical device companies using EyeSight?

Samani: For medical device companies, there’s a big training aspect. Once they get clearance for a new device, they have to train tens of thousands of surgeons how to use it. They can make a training class for surgeons to watch other key surgeons doing a case.

The second side is them supporting their own staff in the field. A lot of these devices are really, really complicated . (Using Glass), they will have the surgeon, or a representative from the medical device company, giving them support, live.

IBD: How does Pristine make money?

Samani: We bill clients per Glass per month. We supply the Glass and all the training, infrastructure and software upgrades, device management tools, analytics and everything else around that.

IBD: Does Pristine develop software only for Google Glass, or do you support other smart glass makers?

Samani: We work primarily with Google Glass, although we do have other smart glasses deployed with our customers. The other primary one we are deploying today is Vuzix. They are being used in the medical side and the factory side.

We have software for Glass, for Vuzix and probably six other devices here in our office that we test on a regular basis.

IBD: What are you doing with the other smart eyewear devices?

Samani: It’s just us keeping tabs on the smart glasses space. Those guys will eventually be suppliers to our business, and they will eventually be part of our customers’ experience, so we need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each piece of hardware that’s out there and understand what different vendors are doing. We give them really candid feedback.

IBD: What is your reaction to media reports that the delayed general rollout of Google Glass to consumers has prompted some developers to quit their Glass projects?

Samani: If I were writing consumer software, I would definitely be a little frustrated with Google and the speed of the rollout. However, Google in my opinion has been making the right decisions for the long-term value of the platform. They have been taking all the feedback they’ve gotten from Glass and are incorporating it into whatever they are doing for their future plans. They’ve been a little slower than people would have liked, but I know they are investing in the right places.

Luckily for us, we’re enterprise developers, and so we don’t have to deal with the consumer adoption issues. We’re not selling a 99-cent app. We are selling the hardware as part of a broader solution, so it’s a lot more encompassing of a sale.

Our customers don’t already have Glass, and they have never used Glass as part of their production environment prior to this broad deployment. We are convincing them to buy (Glass) as part of a leased managed service. So the general complaints from developers around slow adoption don’t apply to us, because we are creating that demand.

Google is taking the right approach in terms of supporting broad consumer adoption while also recognizing there is an enterprise undercurrent. They are being wise in letting Glass lay low right now. I hope that when the time is right, they’ll make the big push.

Google Glass in Healthcare Is Here to Stay

This post originally appeared on HIT Consultant.

In the past couple of weeks, a number of press outlets have announced what is amounting to the death of Google Glass (see here and here, for example). These reports cite lack of consumer adoption and the fact that consumer-facing software companies (i.e. Twitter) have dropped support for Glass. Following this logic, Glass must be just as dead for professionals (e.g. doctors) as it is for consumers.

But, Google Glass in healthcare is stronger today than ever.

Adoption in healthcare (and enterprise contexts more broadly) continues to grow more quickly. Companies like Augmedix and my company, Pristine, are seeing more rapid adoption. Both companies are rolling out Glasses in the hundreds in clinics, ERs, ambulances, ICUs, ORs, and med schools. Although I cannot speak for Augmedix directly, I can say that the Pristine pipeline today is larger than it’s ever been in terms of dollars, number of users, and number of Glasses being deployed. I would imagine the same is true for Augmedix and others.

But, let’s specifically address a number of the concerns raised in the press:

1. Glass Technical Challenges

A number of people, including Dr. Steve Horng and Gina Siddiqui have cited the technical challenges of developing on Glass as an obstacle to adoption. Their concerns are valid, but addressable. For our part, we’ve invested aggressively in optimization for Glass. This investment has paid off, as we are rolling out HIPAA-compliant live video streaming on Glass at scale.

2. The Glass Collective

Some have expressed concern that the “dissolution” of the Glass Collective must signal the end of Glass. After all, wouldn’t Google Ventures have insight into the future of Glass? Aren’t their actions a harbinger of what’s to come? In a word, no. The Glass Collective was never more than a marketing stunt to drive entrepreneurial interest around Glass.

We met with partners from all three VCs of the Glass Collective shortly after it “launched.” They were very clear with us that the firms of the collective were making the same independent investment decisions they would otherwise; the collective was simply a way to better learn about the market opportunities around Glass. Moreover, the Glass Collective was never a specific investment entity; its “dissolution” is a simple recognition of the maturation of Glass in the market. For context, who still expects to hear news from KPCB’s iFund (announced in 2008 to capture the nascent iPhone app market)?

3. Glassomics

It’s also true that Glassomics, the self-proclaimed Glass incubator, has also dissolved. But again, I would ask, what exactly was Glassomics? We applied to their incubator shortly after it launched in July of last year, and we never heard from them. A quick Google search shows they never announced anything after founding. I spoke with the Glassomics founder, Orlando Portale, about a year ago. He made it clear that Glassomics was a side project. Since Orlando left Palomar Health earlier this year, it’s no surprise that the side project has stagnated without its originator at the helm.

4. The Glass Project Itself

What about the external indicators from the Glass project? There’s no denying that a number of high-profile executives have left Google, and that the long-awaited public consumer launch hasn’t happened yet.

The reality in this case is found below the surface of media speculation. The reality is that the Glass team continues to grow. As Glass at Work partners, we’ve witnessed a steady growth in the Glass team over the last year, and they’ve been fantastic and supportive partners as we further our efforts. And as for the absence of a grand consumer launch? The obvious answer is likely the right one: Google is refining Glass based on user input. They are waiting until it’s ready.

We have not heard the last of Glass, and what’s next is likely to be very exiting indeed. Drop me a line at kyle@pristine.io to talk more.

Watches Are For Consumers, Glasses Are For The Enterprise

This post originally appeared on Wearables.com.

From watches to socks, shirts to wristbands, glasses to rings, wearables promise all kinds of features to make our lives better. Thus, everyone seems to be building new wearables or software to run on them. The hottest sectors for wearables currently are twofold: wristbands such as FitBitJawboneBasisMicrosoft Band, Android Wear devices, and the Apple Watch (collectively dubbed “Smartwatches” for the rest of this post) and smart eyewear such as Google GlassMetaVuzix, and more (henceforth “smart glasses“).

Smartwatches are primarily being adopted by consumers, and smart glasses by the enterprise, and their adoption is driven by widely different reasons. Why the split? 

It’s all about marginal utility

Many consumers react negatively to smart glasses like Google Glass because of two hardware traits: the outward-facing camera and the omnipresent screen. The general argument is that smart glasses come with both a massive invasion of privacy (via the camera), and the ultimate manifestation of our always connected, culture (via the screen). Although these sentiments aren’t really valid, the fact that most people hold these opinions will slow adoption in the consumer market for at least a few years.

On the other hand, smartwatches don’t face any socio-cultural challenges. They just need to solve some basic consumer problems to create value and justify their cost. Indeed, there are all kinds of reasons for consumers to purchase a smartwatch, leading to to a burgeoning smartwatch market for consumers. The entrance of Apple entering the market is proof enough that we can expect fast growth in the consumer smartwatch space.

Enterprises, on the other hand, are much more objective buyers. Broadly speaking, they pay for products and services for one of two reasons: to reduce costs or to drive revenue.

What business problems can smartwatches solve that phones can’t?

The use of wearables in corporate wellness initiatives to reduce employer healthcare costs has shown some early ROI success, in terms of ROI.

But in most cases, and particularly when we talk about leveraging wearables to help employees do their primary job, the business case for buying employees smartwatches is pretty thin. Smartwatches are basically an extension of the smartphone, but with additional, strict limitations around screen size and battery. It’s these restrictions that pose a problem for their use in day-to-day work. Though smartwatches are technically hands-free devices, they impose material restrictions on their wearers that will prevent wide-scale adoption for enterprise field applications:

  • Smartwatches require the wearer to turn his/her arm, which may not not be possible in certain scenarios.
  • Many field workers wear specialized gloves and sleeves that would prevent a watch from functioning correctly.
  • Smartwatches can’t display much information because of the small screen.
  • Smartwatches lack robust input mechanisms for documentation. 

On the other hand, smart glasses can be used in almost any hands-on situation, and are a perfect fit for mobile field workers:

  • Smart glasses can rest comfortably under protective gear, and can be sanitized for use in sterile areas such as operating rooms and semi-conductor fabs.
  • Smart glasses offer large screens that can render more information
  • Voice activation on smart glasses obviates any comprises in hand-based ergonomics
  • Most smart glasses have a camera, a great tool for documentation and remote support and assistance.

This isn’t all theory, though.

Gartner predicts a $1B savings in the field service industry by 2017, a prophecy that industry players seem to be fulfilling. Companies from oilfield services to remote assistance are actively and publicly investigating ways to use smart glasses in their business. The manufacturing industry has been particularly quick to realize the value of smart glasses by deploying them on the factory floor.

Consider a production line: in this setting, perhaps more than any other, calculating the economic value of uptime is simple. Just count the number of widgets that roll off the line per day, multiply by revenue per item, and scale for % uptime. When an incremental reduction in downtime can recapture significant amounts of lost revenue, the math of smart glasses is rather simple. If a wearable-equipped onsite staff member can get a conveyor belt or laser etcher up and running quickly with the help of a remote expert, extended downtime is avoided, materially increasing revenue. Plus, the OEM has avoided travel expense for their field engineer, and satisfied their SLA at a dramatically lower cost. In other words, the price of glasses represents a mere fraction of the potential ROI.

At Pristine, we’re driving the very future outlined above. Our partners–spanning more than two dozen organizations across healthcare, medical devices, manufacturing, and field service–empower their mobile workers to communicate, collaborate, and document in the field, 100% hands free. Our customers are trading airline trips and complex workforce scheduling concerns for instant hands-free video support. More importantly, their customers are getting expert support instantly, and resolving issues faster. We’re on the crest of a huge wave–are you ready for it?

Looking At Field Service Through Google Glass

This post originally appeared on Field Technologies Online.

Why do enterprise customers of capital equipment demand guaranteed uptime? Because the capital equipment is mission critical to these organizations’ revenue streams; when the capital equipment isn’t working, the organization is bleeding money and literally dying. Worse, nonfunctional equipment can put peoples’ safety at risk (e.g. patient safety in hospitals when diagnostic machines are down). So when mission-critical equipment isn’t working, businesses cannot function correctly. Executives quickly (and rightly) grow frustrated and money is burned. In other words, time-to-resolution (TTR) is critical in field service.

Therefore, buyers of capital equipment spend extraordinary amounts of capital to purchase service contracts that ensure maximum uptime. In turn, equipment manufacturers spend extraordinary amounts of capital to satisfy service level agreements (SLAs) to guarantee that uptime. These SLAs are supported by highly trained, specialized support teams who either fly to–or are located near–the customer’s capital equipment for one simple reason: if things break, someone needs to be on site fast.

What if they didn’t have to be on site? What if the customer could be supported remotely by a centrally located expert? Google Glass and other smart glasses are making this a reality.

Why Glass? Why Not Mobile?

For mobile, hands-on workers, smartphones and tablets promised a new paradigm in information access, process control, and remote support. To a certain degree, these devices have delivered. From an information perspective, workers equipped with mobile devices are better equipped than ever before. But smartphones and tablets suffer from one critical problem: they obstruct the worker’s process. All the functionality in the world is somewhat less helpful to a worker if they’re constantly interrupting their work to glance at, tap, and swipe on their tablet. Most notably, using video for remote collaboration is somewhat less useful if the tech must hold a phone in front of their workspace, occupying one hand and obstructing their view.
Glass, then, is the natural solution to this problem. It brings all the capability of the smartphone to the field, without the obstructions. Glass is voice activated, lightweight, and stays out of the field of view. Most importantly of all, the front facing camera means that a Glass-wearer can share their point of view with anyone, while maintaining their focus and the use of their hands. Every pair of hands in the field now has access to the expertise of the entire organization, in real time.

Perhaps more interestingly, this model can be extended directly to the customer. Particular for field service and repair of capital equipment, this has powerful effects: dramatically improved time to resolution, and lower cost to provide the service.

An Example: Diagnostics In Action

Acme corporation manufactures MRIs for use in hospitals. Pines Hospital in Smithville has an MRI from Acme. It runs about 12 hours per day and generates a total revenue for the hospital of $225,000 each day (or $15k/hour). Last Friday at 8:30AM, the MRI broke at Pines Hospital. It took 3 hours and 40 minutes before an Acme service technician could arrive and fix it. During that 3 hours and 45 minutes, Pines hospital lost $15,000 * 3.67 = $55,000.

Why did it take so long to fix the MRI? Because it took three hours for the nearest ACME support representative to make it from his home in Houston to Smithville. Upon arriving, the field service technician opened the back panel on the MRI, reset the device, re-installed the system settings, and ran a few tests to ensure the MRI was correctly connected back to all of the ancillary imaging and scheduling system. The diagnostic and repair process took just 20 minutes.

Enter Glass: The Next Generation of Field Service

Meanwhile, in an alternate universe, Acme had equipped their technicians with Glass.
In this alternate universe, things occurred differently when the MRI went down. Instead of calling on a telephone, the local Pines Hospital radiology technician put on a pair of Glass and initiated a video call. In seconds, the radiology technician was showing the ACME technical representative exactly what he was seeing and hearing as he walked around the MRI. With guidance from the remote Acme technician, the radiology technician fixed the MRI machine in 40 minutes. Although it took the radiology technician twice as long to complete the actual repair, there was no time lost in transport or logistics. In this alternate universe, Pines hospital only lost $15,000 * .67 = $10,000.

In other words, remote service workflows, powered by Glass, drove material savings for Pines hospital! Plus, the shorter overall downtime kept the hospital running smoothly: patients received diagnoses on time, staff went home on time, and schedules weren’t pushed out.

From Example To Reality

This alternate universe is becoming reality! Already, industry leaders are adopting Glass to enhance their field service organizations–equipping both technicians and customers. At Pristine, we’re pioneering this reality, building software for Glass to power new field service workflows based on the “Wearable Worker.” Our customers are lowering costs, shortening time to resolution, and bringing ever more positive experiences to their customers. That’s the next generation of field service in action. Drop us a line to learn more.

3 Little Known Features Of Google Glass

features google glassIt seems like every time you turn on the TV or hop on the internet, there’s a new story involving Google Glass and other Smart Glasses. Google Glass in particular has been available for a couple years now; and though consumers have been slow to adopt Google’s eyewear (and other Smart Glasses), enterprise companies are starting to test them, and realize the benefits they bring to business operations. You can read some more Enterprise benefits here on our website.

Beyond the smartphone integrations, cameras, and basic augmented reality, there are a few cool things Glass can do that you might not know about. With that, here are three little known features about the most prominent of all Smart Glasses–Google Glass:

1. Voice Control

Most people know that Glass has a touchpad on the side of the device for user input. Additionally, there’s a common misconception that that Glass is controlled by your eye movements. But, fewer people realize that Glass is controlled by your voice and head gestures. You can nod your head to wake up the Glass, and speak commands to open applications or trigger actions.

Having the ability to control a computer hands-free challenges many assumptions of human-computer interaction. With the status quo shattered,  it’s possible to completely rethink how computers fit into business operations–for instance, how different would field service be if first line workers didn’t have to glance to their smartphones or tablets?

2. Live Speech Translation

Google Glass offers near real-time speech translation between 30 languages. This feature offers an amazing realm of possibilities as glass-wearers in a geographically disparate environments can more easily communicate with each other. Imagine the gaps that can be bridged between, for instance, factory engineers in China and design engineers n the United States. With Glass, these two functions can communicate easily to resolve equipment issues or discuss improvements. The possibilities are endless!

3. Seamless, POV Video Collaboration

Google Glass isn’t just about instant, hands free information though. Consider perhaps the most fundamental feature of all: the front-mounted camera. Glass provides a “third eye” that can be leveraged for live video collaboration to solve difficult problems. Why not FaceTime or Skype on a smartphone, then? Only smart eyewear like Glass provides a live broadcast of exactly what you are seeing to the remote viewer. This is powerful for technicians, virtual tour guides and anyone else wanting to share something live to colleagues, friends or family. Those employees in China and the United States? They are not only able to talk to each other, but can also see what is being discussed!

So, with the capabilities of smart glasses to make information available hands-free, help workers across the globe communicate, and enable powerful, collaborative connections, how can Glass revolutionize your business?

5 Reasons Google Glass Will Revolutionize Your Industry

google-glass-revolutionary-industryBy now, most people know of Google Glass as a computer, disguised as a pair of glasses, with a tiny display just above your right eye. Despite the consumer keeping Glass at arm’s length, enterprise companies are coming around, realizing that Glass will eventually be a major tool in support and collaboration in their businesses. We agree, and here’s what we see:

1. Google Glass will expedite response times – Imagine a scenario where a Boeing 777 encounters a glitch while on the ground in Singapore. The local MRO team identifies the issue but the repair will require a specialist’s input. The specialist for this issue is based in Seattle, Washington, so the airline can either ground the aircraft until the specialist can fly to Singapore to diagnose and fix the issue, or fly the aircraft to the specialist!

Consider the alternative: placing a pair of Google Glass with a local technician, enabling the specialist to “beam in” to the situation in Singapore and immediately see the issue at hand. With the guidance of the expert, the plan can be fixed more quickly. In this scenario, flight operations run more smoothly for the airline, and customers get to their destinations with fewer delays.

Plus, because airplanes only generate revenue in flight, each hour of downtime represents a significant amount of money lost (in fact more more than $50 billion per year). So by reducing what once took at days to resolve has to mere minutes saves significant sums of money for all parties.

2. Google Glass will reduce expertise cost – Keeping in line with the aircraft scenario, each airline has a limited number of expert technicians available to maintain their fleet. This holds true across industries, where the time to resolution of a complex issue is limited by the number of qualified technicians to resolve that issue. However, not every issue requires a top tier technician.

In many situations, all a qualified lower level technician needs is a little guidance from an expert to resolve a case. With Google Glass, these experts can be remotely present wherever they need to be, and lend their expertise to front-line workers. In other words, wearable collaboration directly reduces the cost of expertise.

3. Google Glass are hands free – Computers have changed the world in large part thanks to the internet, and in turn, instant access to information. This has been taken even further with the surge in smartphones. But smartphones are not ideal in many technical environments because they are not hands free. Indeed in many cases a tablet or phone presents a real distraction for the worker, despite the value of information available.

With Google Glass, a front-line field worker can still have instant access to the information they need, while keeping their hands free to complete the task at hand. Put simply, would you want your surgeon or your electrician working with one of their hands or two?

4. Google Glass will reduce risk in dangerous situations – Multidisciplinary teams in dangerous environments face a serious problem: they often need only one or a few pairs of hands, but many brains’ worth of knowledge. What if the combined knowledge of an entire team could inform the hands-on work of one person, keeping the rest of the team out of harm’s way?

Consider bomb disposal units. In these types of situations it is obviously preferred to send in one person instead of a whole team. Not only would this technician be able to transmit exactly what he or she is seeing, he or she could also do all of this hands free. Obviously in dangerous bomb situations a person could not be holding a camera in one hand and working with the other; they need both of their hands and not being worried about a camera to properly execute the task at hand.

5. Google Glass will generate significant ROI – It’s fairly simple, really. Creating support, issue resolution, and training that’s faster and cheaper improves margins, is a marketable competitive advantage, and increases customers satisfaction. Companies that leverage Google Glass into their workflow to accomplish these goals will thus see success in the form of increased margins and profits.

Companies will be able to resolve issues faster and better all while not having to hire additional top-tier technicians. Top tier technicians will simply be used more efficiently. They will go from being technicians to mangers who are experts in their related field.

The above predictions may inspire your curiosity, or you may already know exactly how you’ll use Glass in your business. Either way, drop us a line, we’d love to learn how we can help.

Are Physicians Forever Destined to be Slaves to Desktop Computers?

This post originally appeared on the Capterra Blog

Over the past 50 years, computers have evolved dramatically. In the 1950s, most computers were the size of a room. By the late 1970s, a computer could fit on a desk. By the late 1990s, laptops could fit in a normal-sized bag. By the late 2000s, a computer could fit in one’s pocket. And now in 2014, a computer can now rest comfortably on one’s face: see Google Glass.

Clinicians are highly mobile workers. They are on their feet for most of the day walking many miles. When they sit down to interact with patients, they want to direct their undivided attention to the patient.

Before the advent of meaningful use and the rise of EMRs, clinicians could look at patients and hold a clipboard in hand to document findings. Templates were dense but highly functional. The input mechanism – the pen – offered superb granularity, control, and flexibility (though at the expense of legibility and reportability).

Then federal government instituted the Meaningful Use program, which has forced computers on physicians, many of whom didn’t want to switch from their paper-based documentation styles. Although computers solve some problems that paper-based solutions could never accommodate, they have created problems pertaining to usability, flexibility, and lack of physician-patient interaction.

Why have physicians come to resent desktop computers and EMRs so much? Desktop computers were designed for white-collar, stationary workers. The primary input mechanisms – the keyboard and mouse – are robust and granular, but extremely inflexible in terms of physical human-computer interaction. The desktop was never designed to accommodate the ergonomic needs of mobile healthcare workers.

Tablets… The Dream That Never Was

When the iPad was announced in April 2010, many saw an opportunity to rectify all of the wrong-doings of the desktop. The iPad looked and felt like a digital clipboard. It could be held the same way and was approximately the same size. Many heralded the iPad as the tool that would save medicine from desktop hell.

A few years later, we’ve learned that the iPad is not an adequate desktop or clipboard replacement. Although it holds immense promise at first glance, it simply isn’t robust enough:

  • Typing on the software keyboard is woefully inadequate for complex narratives.
  • Structured fields that require date/number/list pickers are cumbersome and slow.
  • The human finger isn’t nearly as precise as a mouse, and as such, digital forms can’t be as dense as paper based forms.

Will healthcare providers be slaves to desktops forever? I think not.

Enter Smart Glasses

Google Glass is by far the most widely recognized set of smart glasses that’s commercially available. But there are many others: ODG, Vuzix, Atheer. Samsung, Sony and others are also rumored to be building smart glasses.

Glass was designed for the mobile worker. It’s handsfree and omnipresent. It knows when it’s being worn so it doesn’t require the user to authenticate (type in a password) upon each use. It is transparent and out of the way. Rather than force awkward manipulation and ergonomics, Glasses finally free physicians to focus on the patient at hand and maintain sterility.

Although the screen is still small and the user input mechanisms limited, the form factor holds great potential. In the next few years, we’ll see massive innovation in optical technologies that will accommodate massive screens and granular hand-tracking technologies for precise data manipulation and selection. Coupled with ever-improving voice-recognition and natural language processing technologies, Glasses will come to be an integral part of the physician workflows.

Indeed, Google Glass is already being adopted by many of the top US hospitals: UC Irvine, UCSF, Stanford, Dignity Health, University of Washington, Beth Israel Deaconess, Sutter Health, Brown, Brigham and Women’s, UCLA, Banner Health, and more. Although none of these institutions have deployed full-blown EMRs on Glass, they are inching towards it.

Of course, the evolution and deployment of Glasses will be slower than desired. Although the hardware is quickly evolving, it will take several years before EMR vendors redesign EMRs around the new form factor. Some will be slower than others, and many will make horrible design decisions as they adopt desktop and mobile design conventions to Glasses rather than Glasses-native design conventions.

But even still, the potential is exciting. Most new form factors are met with great resistance. Almost nobody outside of Apple recognized the potential of the iPhone at launch and indeed it was highly criticized for its lack of traditional smartphone features. Many thought the iPad was doomed to fail because it was just an oversized iPod Touch.

Similarly, many don’t yet see the massive potential that Google Glasses offer, but as hardware and applications evolve, the value will become clearer and the potential realized.

Doctors, you won’t be slaves to your desktops forever.

The Pristine Story: Glass Certified Partners!

We’re very pleased to announce that Pristine is now a Glass Certified Partner!

From our birth as a company, we’ve dedicated ourselves to delivering wearable solutions that make a meaningful impact. Joining the Glass at Work program fuels our drive to bring Glass to the enterprise, powering wearable workers in healthcare and beyond.

For more, see the official announcement embedded below:

The Pristine Story: Venturing Forth

We’re thrilled to announce today that we’ve raised $5.4 million in Series A financing!

I speak for our entire team when I say that we’re incredibly excited about this milestone, and we’re ready to put this new financing to work. In service of that mission, we’re very glad to be working with our lead investors at S3 Ventures here in Austin to capitalize on our early success, expand our team, continue building our groundbreaking products, and grow our business in healthcare and beyond. The official press is copied below.

If you’re an avid reader of the Pristine story, you know that the last 18 months or so have been a whirlwind for us. Not so long ago, the notion of Google Glass in healthcare seemed fanciful to many. Now, that very notion is seen as a potential game-changer in healthcare delivery. I can’t thank our team enough for everything they’ve sacrificed to make this happen.

Mirroring Glass’s growth, Pristine too has come a long way in the last year and a half, as a company. We’ve gone from our first pilot to dozens of clients, from just Patrick and I to a great (and growing) team of 15, and (in true startup form) from my living room to a real office (pictures coming soon)!

As we open the next chapter of the Pristine story, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have helped us along the way. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Stay tuned, we have a lot more coming.

– Kyle

P.S. We’re hiring! Send us your finest engineers and business folks, and send them fast. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

 

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

Pristine raises $5.4 Million in Series A funding

Led by S3 Ventures, funding will fuel growth of HIPAA-Compliant enterprise communication solutions for Google Glass

 

AUSTIN, TX, 29 SEPTEMBER 2014

Pristine, developers of the only HIPAA-compliant video streaming and checklist solutions for Google Glass, announced today that it has raised $5.4 million in Series A financing. Austin-based S3 Ventures led the oversubscribed round, which also included Capital Factory, HealthFundr, and a syndicate of strategic clients. This new financing enables the company to expand its R&D, sales, marketing, and operations teams, supporting the company’s rapid growth.

“The team at S3 has pioneered cutting-edge developments in medical devices, enterprise health IT solutions, and more,” said Kyle Samani, cofounder and CEO of Pristine. “With our rapid growth, we are thrilled to have partners with a strong track record of guiding early stage companies to success.”

Pristine was born from a common refrain in healthcare: “Hey, can you come over here and look at this?” In response, the company developed EyeSight, the first commercially available, HIPAA-compliant telepresence platform for Google Glass. EyeSight is also finding success outside of healthcare, working with pharmaceutical, medical device, and manufacturing companies on remote support and training applications.

“Wearable technologies like Google Glass are revolutionizing how healthcare is delivered, and the Pristine platform is the market leader,” said Brian R. Smith, Managing Director at S3 Ventures. “Current customers are raving about the product, and we are excited to partner with Pristine to continue innovating in healthcare, as well as remote support applications in other industries.”

“We have deployed EyeSight in ERs, ORs, ICUs, ambulances, and even patients’ homes,” added Samani. “We understand that security is paramount. There is a lot of misinformation about Glass and privacy out in the wild; we have gone the extra mile to guarantee security and control for our clients. Our utmost focus on security will fuel our growth as we scale our wearable communication technology throughout healthcare and across other industries.”

 

About Pristine

Pristine is pioneering the next generation of telepresence in healthcare and other industries. EyeSight, Pristine’s flagship app, enables HIPAA-compliant audio/video streaming across every platform–Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android, Google Glass, and other smart glass devices.  EyeSight is currently in use for patient care across ERs, ORs, ICUs, ambulances, as well as in medical education and medical device service. More information can be found at www.pristine.io, pristine.io/blog, and by following @PristineIO on Twitter.

About S3 Ventures

S3 Ventures is an earlier stage venture firm with $185 million under management. The firm is focused on information technology solutions that solve large business problems and in medical devices that improve the human condition. S3 invests primarily in the formative stages of a company and partners with the team to help focus methodically on what it takes to build a successful company. For more information about S3, visit http://www.s3vc.com.