Google Glass reframes its consumer base

Global Business

It’s one of Google’s biggest flops- despite the hype and its science-fiction status.

Google Glass didn’t catch on and the tech savvy had nothing but scorn for it.

But that hasn’t stopped the tech titan from coming out with another version.

CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy reports.

Last month, Google’s parent company Alphabet officially launched Glass Enterprise Edition, or Glass E.E. To hear one company tell it, the devices have done wonders for its productivity.

“Everything they need to do to get their operation done is in the Glass,” Peggy Gulick, AGCO business improvement director said. “We always call it informed reality.”

AGCO has used the high-tech glasses for several years at its Jackson, Minnesota factory where the agricultural manufacturer builds five tractors a day. Work instructions and checklists are projected onto the eye-wear, helping workers assemble the machines virtually error-free.

“I can go to my Google Glass, and I can pull up an OMS and I can see what kind of parts I need to put on,” Scott Benson, an AGCO employee said. “I can quality check them, make sure I put the right part on and the correct amount of parts.”

Back in 2012, Google unveiled Glass with much fanfare. The head-mounted device was aimed primarily at consumers, but its popularity soon plummeted because of, among other things, privacy concerns.

Around that time, AGCO’s I.T. department decided tractors and computer tablets displaying work instructions aren’t a good combination.

“Multiple rugged tablets being dropped or run over that they had to replace,” Gulick said. “They sort of came to me with tongue in cheek as a, hey, ‘why don’t you buy us these and we can fix this problem,’ and I actually said let’s try it.”

The result, she said, is work done faster and more accurately. No more hard-to-read blueprints. Glass, which records audio and video, also makes it easier to train employees for multiple positions.

“Far easier, far easier,” said Gulick. “I can tell it, say, ‘paint touch-up on left front frame rail,’ and it’ll record that and then that issue goes right to the guys, and they know exactly where to go,” Ken Veen, another AGCO employee said.

Companies like Boeing, Volkswagen and General Electric have all tested Glass E.E. Eight AGCO plants now use these glasses and the company plans to add more. Its employees, some of whom call themselves old-school, appear to be on board.

“I’m 55 years old, and I’ve seen a lot of stuff happen in this factory that I never thought would ever happen around here,” said Benson.

Efficiency is key at AGCO. Now everything Scott needs to build a tractor is right in front of his eyes.