As mentioned in L2’s Intelligence Report: Wearables, one of the wearable tech industry’s main challenges is making devices that won’t elicit stares. This is especially true for augmented reality glasses as 45% of smartphone users think the device would be too socially awkward to wear. One way to reduce the awkwardness is to put them on a large number of people – preferably those living outside of Silicon Valley who interact with the non-tech crowd – until they become just another accessory.
Customer service workers fit that description, and their heavy daily interaction could set off a chain effect. In February, Google did a two-month trial with Virgin Atlantic and donned the flight attendants of the airline’s Upper Class Wing of London’s Heathrow Airport with Google Glass. With Glass, the attendants were able to easily read loyalty information, flight status, weather conditions and destination of passengers when meeting them curbside, without disrupting conversations. Unlike other scenarios, researchers found no negative reaction to the device.
Perhaps, there was no backlash because it is easier to accept an intrusive device if it is part of a uniform. Or, people are less inclined to call somebody a Glasshole when the augmented reality device is meant to serve them. Either way, the positive response is something to think about when manufacturing or marketing wearables.