Two of our member venues have received Google Glass to experiment with in order to learn about the pros and cons of the technology when using it in a facility. We’ll be following their progress on the blog here and in FM magazine. This first blog post is written by Ruth Fajardo and Alex Hargis from the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, Texas.
OK, Google Glass…
Those are the command words you speak to enter the user interface for Google Glass, the latest embodiment in the next technological movement of wearable smart devices. The product is a pair of glasses that houses all the foundational inner workings of a smartphone. Google Glass allows the user, through voice command prompting or a miniature track pad, to make phone calls, record videos, take pictures, share content to Facebook/Twitter, surf the Web, process email, and find the nearest barbecue joint using GPS. All of these functions are visualized through a tiny prism embedded in a Robo Cop-esque eyepiece, allowing you to replicate essentially all your smartphone dependent tasks hands-free. The cutting edge technology harkens to Orwellian-like scenes from Minority Report or Brave New World, where with a few simple directives to a “Dave” or with a couple swishes of your hand you can begin flying a megaton, class A, intergalactic starship destroyer. Or at least that’s what the expectations around this piece of technology feels like. And if you can leverage this technology to zip around the cosmos, surely you can get it to sync with your menu boards at the bars to promote drink specials and raise your per caps, right?
Wrong. Well, who knows? Maybe it could. Maybe we think we’re in possession of a deluxe Swiss army knife and all we really have at this point is a really sharp stick. This is where we at the AT&T Performing Arts Center (PAC) in Dallas, Texas, is going to begin our journey. Even though the product is sleek, sexy, and comes with a litany of features that tittle the techie in all of us, we want to put it through the ringer and find out if we have the multipurpose tool of our dreams…or a stick. A really, really good looking and functional stick. Let’s not dog on a good ol’ fashioned stick.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be conducting a series of case studies to judge how this “face computer” can work for our campus in fun, creative, and useful ways. Our marketing department will have Glass first to try out the recording function for an artist POV. Glass will then run the gamut of front of house, security, production, and back to operations for data compiling. And while we embark on this journey, we’re going to document everything and ask a heck of a lot of questions. One of our biggest concerns is how our patrons will perceive, say, our patron services staff supervisors wearing Glass, and how will venues perceive Google Glass when they start appearing on the faces of our patrons? Would you allow the newest, smallest, publicly-available wearable technology in your venue? What’s the ROI on this technology if you have to provide it for all of your security supervisors? What privacy laws are potentially being infringed upon? Can you consider the purchase of this equipment as a capital expenditure line item?
The staff at the AT&T PAC is incredibly excited to dive into the unknown world of wearable technology. We hope the data collected from this pilot program can be shared to help lay a foundation for the usage of wearable technology and to identify the warning flags from its presence and help our colleagues mitigate associated risk. We just got our pair this past week and have already put in the hands of our IT director with the detailed instructions to “figure this thing out” and let us know some ground rules before issuing to departments. As we make headway into our case studies, we look forward to sharing our results and feedback. Hopefully there will be much revelation to balance out the overwhelming frustration of trying to make one piece of technology solve every problem that has ever plagued the venue management industry. So, here’s to the future. All we have to do is put it on, cross our fingers, and say, “OK, Google Glass…”
VIDEO: Pianist Andre’ Watts wore AT&T PAC’s Google Glass during a rehearsal for his recital in the Winspear Opera House.