Taking Google Glass for a Test Drive at IMEX Frankfurt

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IMEX Frankfurt 2014
IMEX Frankfurt 2014

Wearable tech is a hot topic these days although it’s still going to be awhile before products like Google Glass gain mainstream acceptance in the meeting and events industry. At IMEX Frankfurt last week, we met the Slovakia-based company sli.do, who is attempting to speed up the process a bit. Peter Komornik, CEO of sli.do, held a meetup to discuss the value of “Glass” and his company’s dedicated software for moderators, presenters and attendees.

Sli.do is a web-based platform where attendees can go to a dedicated event url for a specific meeting, where they can type in their questions or feedback that are instantly uploaded into the Glass-wearer’s viewpiece.

By wearing Glass during a panel discussion, asserts Komornik, moderators can review their talking points and take questions from the audience in real time without having to view paper/tablet notes at a lectern, or turn to view a video monitor.

“It helps democratize the questions during the Q&A, versus people having to raise their hands,” says Komornik. “Some people are nervous to ask questions so this makes it easy for everyone.” 

Originally the 10 of us in attendance had anticipated that Komornik would give a presentation about the attributes of Glass. Instead, we were broken into two teams and asked to talk among ourselves about the potential uses of Glass in meetings and events. Then Komornik asked us to discuss the negatives and what might hinder widespread adoption.

No one really knows how planners might integrate Glass into a program because it’s so new, although there has been a lot of conjecture. So rather than listen to a developer talk about Glass, it was interesting to hear planners and other IMEX attendees imagine the possibilities, which then helps sli.do further develop software around those possibilities.

After the allotted time, representatives from each group shared what each team had discussed.

On the positive side, we all appreciated the value of being able to talk and share info in real time from remote locations, either from around the world or across the exhibition hall. Glass-wearing attendees can also participate in Google Hangouts, and seamlessly use all of Google’s other digital products.

Everyone agreed also how the glasses could be valuable for translation, although presently there’s a lag with even the best translation software.

We especially like the idea of using it for site visits to show a virtual walkthrough with audio to clients and attendees.

The ability to take photos and videos is considered both a plus and a minus. The convenience of being able to capture imagery with a simple voice command is a fun and easy way to collect a lot of content during an event. But how will people feel when they’re not sure if they’re being recorded or not?

Some of the people in our group also wondered if Google Glass is just one more level of distraction, one more device diluting face-to-face interaction.

At the end of the meetup, we each tried out the Glass to see how it works. The right temple is used for tapping and sliding through screens when not using the voice commands. We were able to take photos fairly easy by saying, “Glass, take a photo,” and it’s really quick to move among the different applications.

The visual quality is a bit of an issue with the edges being blurry, but this is something that is expected will improve over time with each new iteration. So reading long forms of text is going to be a challenge, but reading a tweet or single sentence question is manageable.

The most exciting thing about Glass right now seems to be trying to figure out what to do with it. Once the price comes down, we suspect the overall cool factor will go a long way for some groups to use Glass just for the sake of using Glass.

Then once there’s more data, feedback and case studies to play with, we’ll have a better idea about the overall ROI of the user experience.

Let us know if you’ve ever used Google’s high-tech goggles in a program, and any feedback you’ve heard from attendees.

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