Alphabet Inc. (GOOG) is bringing back its augmented reality spectacles – Google Glass – for the workplace. The Mountain View, California-based company announced the launch of the Glass Enterprise edition today.
The device's enterprise edition helps factory workers perform their job by providing them with related information and assisting with navigation throughout factory floors. For example, the spectacles helps workers connect and collaborate with colleagues as well as view training videos while on the job. Unlike its consumer edition, which was mocked for invading privacy, the Glass Enterprise edition has no place at home and is left at the job site by workers. (See also: How and Why Google Glass Failed.)
The company first released a consumer edition of Google Glass in 2013. Despite glossy spreads in fashion magazines, the device failed to take off among mainstream consumers due to the lack of a coherent use case. According to a Wired feature, the story of the current Glass iteration began when companies purchased the device's previously released Explorer Edition and customized it for use at their workplace. The story has had a happy progression since then. The Wired article states that Alphabet has sold "hundreds of units" of the device and that they are being used across "dozens" of companies, including the likes of General Electric Company (GE) and The Boeing Company (BA). The companies have seen increased productivity after introduction of the connected glasses.
Forrester Research recently estimated that the market for enterprise smart glasses will comprise 14.4 million workers by 2025. In monetary terms, this translates to a market worth $30 billion, according to the report. That figure excludes sales of software, services and middleware for the devices. While its product may be the most high-profile offering in the vendor landscape, Google is playing in a crowded market. Intel Corporation (INTC) and Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) also have products specifically targeted at the connected workforce market. (See also: Why Is Warren Buffet Looking to Wearable Tech?)