Google Glasses – a new vision for Wax Digital and Procurement?

At the recent eWorld event in London, Wax Digital were one of the centres of attention, not just because of the vivid green company shorts their staff had been forced to wear by their cruel and heartless bosses (it couldn't really have been voluntary, surely). No, what really turned heads - and caused headaches in some cases - was their Google Glasses demo.

They are the first procurement technology firm I'm aware of to use the new Google innovation in a procurement context. Having tried the glasses myself, it is certainly different, certainly innovative, and may well have some real applications. But there are a few questions and issues too.

The glasses are linked to the Wax Digital web3 ordering and catalogue platform, and the process is designed to facilitate easy ordering of products via the glasses. Now, I've never tried them before, and it is a bit weird, probably more so if you're short-sighted and have to take your normal glasses off first (as I did).

But once you put on the glasses, you see a small screen image in the top of your right eye's field of vision - see the picture at the top of this piece. You then tap the side arm of the glasses as the equivalent of the "enter" function on a keyboard, and you scroll though pages by running your finger along the same side arm. Oh yes, and you can use certain voice commands too.

google glasses sarah1During the brief demo, I asked to search "laptops" (first issue - saying "a laptop" didn't work, had to be just "laptop"). I could then scroll through available models, and choose which one I wanted to order. I could then put it into my shopping basket, and then continue "shopping" or turn the basket into my purchase. There is also the facility to carry out authorisation via the glasses in a similarly straightforward manner.

So a bit gimmicky maybe at the moment. It would have been quicker to do it on a tablet without a doubt. But if you were out on a construction site? Or down a trench laying cables? Or at your command post with machine gun in hand? I'm sure there are quite a range of jobs where hands-free purchasing might have a real application. And if you assume, as I do, that driving your IT via voice is an inevitable trend, then Wax may well be ahead of the curve here, even if you aren't going to get rid of your desktops, laptops and tablets just yet.

As Peter Kinder, the CTO at Wax said recently:
Wearables like Google Glass could also become part of the supplier’s value-add. A supplier of facilities maintenance services for example could enhance the efficiency and speed of repairs by supplying back-up instructions, product blueprints and even off-site voice back-up via the device, so that fixes are performed more accurately with less need for repeat visits. Scanners could also ensure that spares were ordered quickly and accurately to avoid service disruption.

Interesting stuff - and this may be the first of many articles we write over the next few years on this topic.

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  1. Sue Westhead:

    Great to meet with you at eWorld Peter! I’m glad you enjoyed the Google Glass demo –investing in technology such as this allows us to explore areas such as search and voice controlled operations that could be incorporated into much earlier versions of web3 for mobile or desktop too. It’s an exciting time for procurement technology, which we aim to be at the forefront of, especially as we won’t be missed in our bright green shirts – glad it wasn’t shorts though or we would have objected to those 🙂

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