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Author's profile photo Uta Spinger

Gartner Sees Great Potential in Google Glass

The next time you visit a hospital, you may well notice that all the medical staff are wearing glasses. Not ordinary glasses, but Google Glasses. These smart glasses work with face recognition and provide hospital personnel with patient data such as test results and medication information right in front of their eyes. So they no longer need to refer to paper-based medical records. Telemedicine – the use of use of electronic communications to exchange medical information from one site to another – is also possible, enabling doctors to exchange information with other clinics and to consult experts for a second opinion.

This video shows one example of how smart glasses could be used in the health care environment.  First, the nurse checks the route plan displayed on her smart glasses and then sets off with her medication tray. When she enters a patient’s room, she scans the bar code on the patient’s wristband and immediately receives information about which medication that particular patient needs to take. If she has any questions, she can contact and speak to the responsible physician immediately via the glasses. At the end of the working day, all the data stored on her smart glasses is transferred to the IT system. 

There are some obvious benefits here: Not only do medical staff have their hands completely free to treat their patients, but they also have real-time access to patient data and can make notes in speech and image form as they make their rounds. All this is made possible by SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, which provides access to all the relevant data and processes from the smart glasses in real time – even when the wearer is on the move.

SAP is currently developing a prototype of medical smart glasses in combination with the SAP Electronic Medical Record mobile app. (Learn more what SAP researchers are working on in this interview: Not Just an IT Gadget: Smart Glasses Are Good for Business –

Google Glass in the enterprise: Gartner spots business value

Market researchers at Gartner anticipate that the total annual savings for companies who adopt smart glasses could rise to more than one billion US dollars within three to five years. To find out how, read this article: The Benefits of Smart Glasses.

Here, Gartner lists “virtual assistance” as one of the benefits of Google Glass technology; this includes the use of smart glasses to display guided 3D instruction manuals. An SAP Innovation video shows a possible future application of this technology that will strike a chord with anyone who has ever had to follow the assembly instructions supplied by a well-known Swedish furniture store. After some initial difficulties, it eventually occurs to expectant parents Marc and Abby to follow 3D instructions on their iPad to help them construct a crib for their new baby – and they complete the job in no time at all. SAP HANA is responsible for updating the data in real time, allowing the on-screen representation of the crib to adapt according to the viewing angle.

Gartner foresees smart glasses having their biggest impact in the manufacturing (see blog Data Glasses: SAP goes wearable) and oil and gas industries. This is because smart glasses not only provide data to help employees complete their tasks, but they also leave them with both hands free to carry out manual activities. They can even help employees learn new methods and equipment, sometimes even replacing on-site training.

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      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas

      Very interesting - maybe by Annual Conference/SAPPHIRE next year we can hear / learn more of customers prototyping with these solutions.

      Author's profile photo Andy Silvey
      Andy Silvey

      Hi Uta,

      thank you for the informative and thought provoking blog.

      In the personal/private world I have been worried that Google Glass will be an invasion of privacy, people filming everyone and not knowing whether you are being filmed, in some way in a similar sense to some of the comments here.

      Your article has given me a different perspective of the usage possibilities for google glass, and as a work tool, in all kinds of applications from medicine through to field service engineers.

      Thanks for opening this perspective and sharing what SAP is working on in this area.

      Kind regards,


      Author's profile photo Uta Spinger
      Uta Spinger
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks for the positive comments! I recently interviewed SAP senior researcher Joerg Rett for (to be published soon), and he sees 2013/2014 as a decisive year for augmented reality (hands-free equipment, head-up navigation and 3-D visualization).

      Of course, there are some challenges to overcome, such as receiving relevant information at the right time, at the right place in a compact format, and of course data security (you don't want your data in the Gooogle cloud, for enterprise use a secure cloud like the SAP Cloud is needed).

      Currently, researchers and product teams are working with customers (retail, oil&gas, automobile, health care) on use cases, and protoyptes. So, I'm sure that we will see more examples next year.

      Author's profile photo Uta Spinger
      Uta Spinger
      Blog Post Author

      If you would lik to learn more about Google Glass business scenarios, read the interview
      with SAP senior researcher Joerg Rett on e.g. smart glasses could use GPS data to guide a technician to the right location, improve quality in the automotive industry, or even support soccer teams.