The release of Google Glass is around the corner and just when you think you might have your customer contact channel strategy solidified, should this important consumer interface change your strategy. I wonder whether organizations can incorporate Google Glass in consumer apps to achieve competitive advantage now. Or should they wait and see… knowing there is a chance it will be just the next fad. Remember WAP?
How is Google Glass relevant to customer experience, and why might you want to understand it?
Having personally played with it at Dreamforce in November, I think there is a cool/curiosity factor associated with having one of these gadgets as it’s just so futuristic but it’s still high on the geek factor rating. Google does plan to integrate these with leading sunglasses manufacturers so they will become accepted eventually as they become ubiquitous. With the glasses on, and using it’s integrated natural language voice commands, you can pull up a transparent screen on the top left corner of your eye which can, with a blink, take pictures, shoot videos, display directions, answer questions or make calls. You can also view real time statistics from Glass Apps, like viewing your workout stats in Strava™, get a constant view of your recipes while you cook, view the distance to the pin when golfing and control your communications through pairing to your phone. Adding augmented reality, imagine looking at restaurants and getting their Yelp rating and calling them using a simple voice command. The possibilities are endless.
How urgent is it for you to understand how you will leverage Google Glass. I think there are three questions you need to answer – and each company is likely to answer these differently. First, how quickly will consumers embrace glasses incorporating this Google technology? Second, how rapidly will app developers bring compelling consumer functionality to this new interface? And finally, what unique and valuable experience can you bring to your customers in this new channel?
In my view, popularity is going to depend a lot on pricing. Rumor is Glass will be priced at around $300-500. At the lower end of this range, I predict they will fly off shelves, because there is nothing like it in the market and it sure beats getting another games console for Christmas or Hanukah.
Google has been quite clever in giving the development community access to limited releases of the product with the full development kit so there will be a number of applications already available (Glassware) when they launch. MyGlass is already available through both the Apple AppStore and Google Play. I think this new interface will create a new breed of app development millionaires similar to the early movers in smartphone apps.
This is why I think everyone has to be taking a close look at Google Glass. What superior and differentiating applications can we offer customers, providing amazing customer care and enhancing the overall experience, without being over attentive, like the ever-present waiter at a restaurant who actually detracts from the overall experience. I believe app designers will use this new connected device to deliver experiences that just weren’t possible before, remaining in the background except when you ask for assistance or you clearly need it, like the waiter at your favorite restaurant that is nearly invisible except when you need him. I think the opportunities are truly exciting.
The use cases I’m excited about for customers fall into two broad categories: marketing & sales and customer care. Marketers have a tremendous opportunity with Google Glass because your glasses are uniquely yours and they are paired with other personal devices: your smartphone, your watch, your car, your home thermostat, etc. The relevancy of the offers and the various ways these offers can be presented is revolutionary. Using voice biometrics – on any or all of these devises, enables application developers (and companies) to share authentication data and present offers with precise relevance based on past transactions, location, mobile application history and now combined with what you’ve looked at and considered. Stay tuned for more use cases in my next blog post.
Here is an example for customer care in the banking field.
Sam commutes to work on his bike everyday. Sam has just sold his car and was expecting the funds to be cleared overnight, so that he can use it to complete the required deposit for an investment property. Sam is a very busy executive who rides to work to keep up his fitness routine but whose day disappears in a heartbeat once he hits the office. He has 2 kids who he helps get ready for school everyday and has no time for breakfast let alone calling his bank to check on the movement of funds.
Sam wears Google Glass sports sunglasses, paired with his iPhone during his ride into the office. Sam opens his bank’s Glassware app and authenticates himself using his voice. He then asks to display his saving account balance and recent transactions. Sam asks to display recent deposits on his glasses, which allows him to quickly see that the money was not posted to his account, without having to take his eyes off the road. Sam asks the app to call his personal banker, which is accomplished using the paired iPhone. The previous authentication information is passed to Sam’s banker who makes the funds available immediately because Sam is a longtime customer. Sam arrives at work pleased knowing he can put in an aggressive offer for the hard-to-get property.
I cannot predict with certainty that the adoption of Google Glass will be steep and that you must begin to establish your plans now, but the possibilities seem far too compelling, the price point seems to be low enough and the consumer app developer community already has too much momentum for me to believe this is a fad. I predict we will be working with customers by the end of 2014 on how to rapidly bring Glassware apps to market. I also know that many companies will be doing a great deal to prepare to support this new channel. We’ve been active working with companies to speed the implementation and adoption of voice biometrics and virtual assistant capabilities, which will extend to all channels. We’re also active with some of the worlds largest consumer brands helping them provide human assistance within their web and mobile channels, chat and callback in particular, recognizing that the channels must work together to deliver the right experience. These steps put these organizations far ahead in the race to deliver a differentiated experience and to deliver a compelling experience in the next consumer channel. And I am confident that Google Glass plays a big role in the future of the human interface.