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The End of the Smart Phone Era?

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I saw this article in Business Insider “The End of the Smart Phone Era is Coming” and was just wondering what effect this would have on business applications like ERP and CRM. Basically will we all ditch our smart phones in exchange for smart eyeglasses? Do we want a virtual world super-imposed over the real world? Is this the way to really be always connected all the time?

Google made a big splash by introducing their vision with this video. Some of the initial reaction ranged from that this was the greatest thing ever to that now you would have absolutely no privacy since Google would see and hear everything you see and hear. Below is a Google glass fashion shoot.


Judging by recent patent applications, Microsoft is also working on something similar. Below is a diagram from Microsoft of some of their thinking.



In my world we’ve been battling with moving fairly complicated business application to mobile devices like tablets and phones. We’ve been battling with fitting large amounts of data onto much smaller screens. In a way large flat panel desktop monitors are great for our applications since you can see and manipulate large amounts of data. But sadly everyone wants to do this on their phone, so how do we do that? At this point we are getting a grip on how to do business applications on devices. We are getting a grip on how to handle touch as the input mechanism instead of the keyboard and mouse. We are getting a grip on how to handle the fact that the app isn’t always connected to the network.

Now we hear that smart phones and tablet are just as obsolete as the desktop PC and laptop! So in this world, not only do we have a small screen, but we have to share it with the real world. Plus we have a whole new input model where it’s a combination of voice recognition and eye tracking technology.


I don’t think we’ll want to just super-impose our regular Order Entry screen onto the glasses over the real world. I suspect that rather than port our existing ERP and CRM functionality to glasses, more likely we’ll be re-inventing the way we do many business processes. This probably means a proliferation of new apps.

Physical Inventory Counts

One good application I was thinking of was to do physical inventory counts. This is always a painful but necessary process to catch theft and errors. Now you will be able to run your inventory count app in your glasses. As you walk around the warehouse, you just need to look at boxes and have the glasses record the barcode or QR code to count the inventory. For other items, perhaps you can look at something and then double-blink, the software then compares the visual image to all the pictures in the inventory database to find a match and count that item.

Sales Calls

Now you can have a glasses CRM app. Rather than bring up all your customer information on a tablet and keep referring to your tablet, you can see all the information on a customer right before your eyes. The glasses app will bring up the customer for you automatically based on your location and facial recognition software. Then the glasses can present to you all pertinent information on the customer, like his sales history, buying habits or that he’s late paying his bills. This should really impress your clients since it will appear that you care enough about them to know off the top of your head every detail about them. Then further the glasses can have recorded the whole chat, so if there are any disputes later, they can be reviewed.

Pottery Barn

In our nearby Pottery Barn, the items in the store are for display only. If you are interested in something, you need to talk to a salesperson, who looks up the item on their tablet to find out if they have it in stock in the store, in a local warehouse, in a regional warehouse or will need to get it shipped from the manufacturer.  Now there could be a glasses app that identifies the item you are interested in, perhaps by staring at its QR code and double-blinking. Then it can bring up additional catalog information on the item, including delivery logistics and such. Generally this could streamline the whole (painful) process of shopping at Pottery Barn.


Will the widespread use of such glasses lead to the true surveillance society? Rather than just a plethora of security cameras recording everyone’s movements, will now everything anyone sees and hears through these glasses be recorded and accessible to law enforcement and the government? Or will we manage the privacy concerns and bring in a new generation of connected uses who look on our current phones as archaic as we look back on the original Motorola brick cell phones?

Written by smist08

December 1, 2012 at 7:48 pm

9 Responses

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  1. ERP and CRM defaults to order and transactional screens resembling paper forms from the prior era rather than actionable contextual information. Designing for mobile ERP and CRM seems to need very specific use cases first giving informational context, before any action update screens. The Glasses user experience looks even more business role specific, social notifications for exceptions driven by filtered analytics. Getting to the input screens of ERP today I don’t see this yet.

    boulton clive

    December 2, 2012 at 1:26 am

    • True, but I think to reach true adoption these need to get data into the system as well as out. But how to do that will take a lot more research.


      December 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm

  2. How much does it cost


    January 27, 2013 at 4:23 am

    • The current developer version of the Google glasses are $1500 (ouch). Mass production should bring this down quite a bit.


      January 27, 2013 at 5:37 am

  3. […] input into the brain. In a way projected where technologies like Siri and Google Now along with Google Glasses will be in ten […]

  4. […] you can instantly get any information you need instantly. Down the road you might be wearing your Google glasses and when you say the customer’s name, all the information on that customer will be right there in […]

  5. […] blogged previously on Google Glasses here. These are fairly controversial. Google is just in the process of releasing these into the […]

  6. […] do with search or advertising. Is it Google’s unstructured time that leads to self-driving cars, Google Glasses, military robots, human brain simulations or any of their many green projects. Hopefully these get […]

  7. […] announced, but generally not shipping products are wearable’s. Google leads the way in these with Google Glasses. Then there are the endless smart watch announcements, rumors and even the odd […]

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