Google Glass: Bluetooth on Steroids. . . Or More?

I can still remember the first time I watched a documentary that highlighted the new "heads-up" display that our fighter pilots were using that automatically flashed flight data to their helmet viewer, so they could focus less on the instruments, and more on dogfighting. Watching them engage other fighters in a mock fight with this new technology was just too cool for only military usage. Or so I thought. Years have passed. . . and I have waited for it. . . it has arrived!

Glass is a technology that will rate right up there in the same category as the personal computer, smartphone, and other life-changing technological developments that have totally reshaped not only our culture here in the U.S., but also internationally. We now have the means of accessing and exchanging information in a real-time posture, with industry and the public benefiting tremendously from it.

The glasses are far less obtrusive than our original scenario had envisioned, and a pair of Glass weighs less than an average pair of sunglasses, can be worn comfortably, and actually has a touch of fashion value as well. 

GOOGLE GLASS

Keep in mind that the interface is voice driven. You begin by saying, "Okay glass" followed by what you want it to do. You will see possible choices in the heads up display. You can adjust the menu by manipulating a control on the side on the frame.  Glass audio uses bone conduction technology which is a technology similar to the way a hearing aid works. The sound is not audible to others standing nearby.

The various ways that Glass can be used are only limited by one's imagination. However, here is just a handful of obvious ones. 

  • Taking photos or video of family events without tying up your hand(s). You can be much more involved in a photo or video production, whether it be with friends or family.
  • It's totally compatible with Bluetooth. You can pair it with your cell phone and use it as you would a Bluetooth device.
  • Glass had Cloud capability for accessing data. You can save it to the Cloud and access it with Glass. This opens up endless possibilities for accessing just about any data you need when you need it.
  • You're traveling and need to find a specific location. You can engage the GPS search function and it will find the location for you and display it.
  • You're at a store and the ad item you saw earlier that week does not have a price marked. You can do a query and download the ad information and price.

Various industries can benefit from Glass as well. Here is just a small sampling of some usages:

  • Surgeons operating on a patient and need real-time data on the patient history or an important surgical step can be queried by the surgeon and get data quickly on the heads-up display. 
  • Any educator, college professor, or teacher that needs quick information about their lecture can quickly access the information that they require and pass it on to their students.
  • Service personnel such as a computer technician or auto specialist that requires additional information about a particular PC or auto can quickly access the data required to successfully troubleshoot or repair.
  • People with various seeing or hearing disabilities can quickly access data they need to interact properly in various situations that would be difficult for them to do without the Glass.
  • Gamers may chuck the idea of "virtual reality", with Glass closing the gap between "virtual" and real. This aspect may seem a bit creepy, although many gamers will embrace this opportunity with joy.

Initial reports about Google Glass being available this year through Best Buy Stores has been officially denied from a reliable source. The realistic timeframe won't be until 2014 and the price is uncertain at this point. As with all new technology, the initial offerings will not be cheap. With a perceived large base of professional and personal users, many are certain this technology's success is assured. It will be a little slow going until the price point drops to a manageable level for most people's budget, although certain industries will invest early once this is available. This is one technology you will be able to enjoy and not have to be a fighter pilot.

 

Upstate South Carolina Alliance

Hi-tech areas are something most Americans are familiar with; case-in-point, the Silicon Valley of California, the richest and most prominent hi-tech area in the United States and arguably, the world. Other hi-tech areas in the country that are greatly contributing towards the U.S. as a leader in hi-tech are two hotspots; the famed Research Triangle in North Carolina, and the lesser known but rapidly rising manufacturing/research and development area in South Carolina, known as the Upstate South Carolina Alliance. It is this hi-tech area that I'm writing about today, not only for it's own merit, but I must admit, I am quite proud of the fact that it's close to where I live.  In fact, my front yard is 90 minutes from Greenville, SC, the center of the Alliance.

Upstate South Carolina Alliance Staff

The Alliance should be remembered in two respects, the physical area of the state with the companies, and the organization which helps fuel it. The Alliance involves a team of dedicated staff members who actively pursue educational, developmental, and marketing venues for bringing in new companies and the associated commerce to the state and nation. They also address Alliance issues and problems of the companies, which are many and varied. The staff, headquartered in Greenville, have done an incredible job in developing the Upstate Alliance and they need to be recognized and applauded for their efforts. 

Alliance Composition

The Upstate South Carolina Alliance is comprised of U.S. and foreign companies located in ten counties in the northwestern corner of the state, known as the Upstate area of the state, and it's certainly no accident the Alliance developed there. The Upstate has long been the hub of the South Carolina textile industry, with several of the top producers located in Greenville, the official headquarters for the Alliance.  With convenient access to auto, rail, and air resources, the Alliance is well suited for the manufacturing and R&D sectors of the high-technology industry, and in fact, these sectors are the bread-and-butter of the Alliance.

Upstate South Carolina Alliance Resources

Strategically, the Upstate South Carolina Alliance could not be in a better spot, being located in the center of the Interstate-85 travel path between Atlanta and Charlotte, two of the largest cities in the Southeastern United States. The Upstate Alliance has the educational resources of some of the finest universities in the country close by as well. Clemson University, the University of South Carolina, and nearby regional technical colleges, provide more than enough resources for training, research and development, and mentorship know-how talent to fuel this rapidly growing hi-tech area.  In the public arena, support for the Alliance include the South Carolina counties of Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg, and Union, involving 6,000 square miles and well over one million people. Private sector support involve over 150 investors, including but not limited to business services, construction, and education. The state capital, Columbia, is only 100 miles away, and its close proximety with the state government and the governor, Nikki Haley, certainly provides an added dimension of resource support to the Alliance cause.

Upstate South Carolina Alliance Hi-tech Sectors

The five primary hi-tech sectors of the Alliance include Advanced Materials, Aerospace, Automotive, Biosciences, and Energy.  Many of the associated companies in these sectors have attracted world attention and are  involved in worldwide commerce because of their expertise and innovation in their respective field. Some of the largest companies in the Upstate South Carolina Alliance include BMW Manufacturing, Duke Energy, Electrolux, Fluor, Fuji Film, General Electric, Kohler, Lockheed Martin Aircraft and Logistics, Milliken, Michelin North America, Nestle USA, Robert Bosch, Sealed Air Corporation – Cryovac, Timken Company, Wal-Mart Distribution, and having said that, it needs to be understood that the Alliance is not trying to attract only large companies. In fact, the Alliance committee staff, headquartered in Greenville, are actively marketing to small companies that wish to bring their headquarters, manufacturing, distribution, and back office facilities to the area in the Alliance's sectors. 

South Carolina Business Statistics

Here are some statistics on why the Upstate South Carolina Alliance has been so successful and will continue to do so. Let's consider the effect on business in general in reference to a 2012 study which found that South Carolina:

  • Ranked #2 as the top states for doing business
  • Ranked #2 for competitive labor costs
  • Ranked #2 for leading work force development
  • Ranked #3 for cost of doing business
  • Ranked #5 for corporate tax environment

Since 2011, the state has brought in over $9 billion in capital investment and over 20,000 jobs in manufacturing, and over $5 billion and in excess of 8,000 jobs in the automotive sector.

Upstate South Carolina Alliance Growth

Since the 1990's, the Alliance area has experienced 27% population growth and I do not see that trend changing. It's exciting to watch our manufacturing industry experience this phenonmenal growth and I know I'm not the only one who wants to see the United States regain it's status as a manufacturing leader. We need more support at the Federal level and our leaders in Congress must focus on the country's massive resources of talent, technology, and entrepreneurial spirit; oh, what we can do as a country when we pool all of that together and use it to regain world prominence. South Carolina may be small in size but it is big in heart; it's innovation and thinking "outside the box" has taken it to the forefront of the manufacturing industry. Keep your eye on this state; it is moving on!