Since Google I/O last week much of our focus, as app developers, has been on the announcement of Android M, Google’s 2015 upgrade to the biggest mobile platform in the world.
However, beyond the preview for Android M, there were a variety of other announcements made during the keynote that we think could be interesting to watch from an enterprise perspective.
“Organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Google aims to give context, spread information and use data to make whichever device you are using (whether it’s a phone, tablet, door lock or VR viewer) as useful to you as possible. No matter where you are and in what context you use it.
With a focus on enterprise use cases, here are some of those announcements:
Through the collaboration of Nest, Android and Chrome OS, Google announced the introduction of Project Brillo. With a planned Q3 release for the developer preview, Project Brillo is an operating system for the Internet of Things. The idea behind Brillo is to make it easier for phones, objects and the Cloud to communicate with each other, with the help of Weave, Project Brillo’s communication layer. Google is offering an end-to-end solution built from the foundations of Android. Using Android means full OS support and immediate scalability, with the platform’s huge existing developer base and reach.
Project Brillo has a communication layer called Weave, which ensures that not only can the phone communicate with the object, but that object to object communication is also possible. Weave helps to tackle a fundamental obstacle that holds back the development of the Internet of Things. If product manufacturers get on board with this approach and install this operating system within their products, we could begin to see wider spread adoption of The Internet of Things as objects begin interacting with each other. It’s clear that end users, whether they are consumers or businesses, will need to see the benefit this could bring to their life, which seems to be what Google is hoping to achieve.
Giving objects the ability to communicate with each other can have a huge affect on operations. We’re already seeing this in the utilities market, where energy companies are able to start controlling the flow of energy more efficiently. This has been facilitated by understanding when power supply can be reduced or ramped up. With increased intelligence between different objects, smarter and more efficient processes can be put in place. For example, from a facilities management perspective, using your mobile phone to lock the main entrance to a building could trigger actions for other objects such as lighting, heating and security systems. With a connected system, this can cut the time taken for the facilities manager to do these processes manually and decrease the chance for human error.
Since Cardboard’s launch at last year’s Google I/O, one million users have purchased Google’s VR kit. This VR viewer provides the user with a more immersive experience to access an environment where the user may not be possible to visit in real-life with ease. At I/O this year, Google announced that Cardboard was going to grow in size, to account for the larger devices that are now standard, as well as support iOS for the first time.
During the keynote, Clay Bavor, vice president of Product Management presented its use within education. With the control of a tablet, a teacher is able to simultaneously immerse students into an environment they have never been before. For example, teachers can take students on an underwater expedition, to the Great Wall of China or the Arctic Circle. This could fundamentally change the learning experience, by helping children explore places they could otherwise never visit, at the same time as providing a highly immersive experience. It could also potentially be used for educating children remotely, or helping children with disabilities with education.
This immersive experience could also be used for museums, art galleries and exhibitions, to increase the level of consumer engagement. It could be used by travel companies to provide campus tours or virtual city tours when engaging with prospective customers.
For the enterprise, Google Cardboard could be used in a variety of training scenarios from customers service, sales, health and safety and brand engagement. Another way Cardboard could be used is to help train existing employees with new processes, industry training or personal development.
Google Cardboard could be used as a tool for emergency service training to take the member of staff out of a potentially dangerous scenario. For example in fire fighting, the army, police force or healthcare, where surgical interns could watch a procedure being done through virtual reality.
During I/O, ATAP, Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects division gave its own presentation in which the group introduced Project Soli. Project Soli is an attempt to use hand and finger gestures to manipulate smaller form factors, such as wearables, without necessarily having the device on you. Using radar, it uses the natural movements of your hands and haptic feedback to carry out actions.
Even though it’s in the early stages of development, this technology could have a fundamental impact on industries such as manufacturing, construction or healthcare where equipment or processes could be controlled simply with your hand. This approach allows the user to focus directly on the task and allow for it to be done remotely. Increased accuracy could also be achieved by using the intimacy of your hand as the interface.
For example in healthcare, surgeons could use this technology to carry out intricate surgeries remotely, without compromising on the quality of their work and the standard of care a critical patient receives. However, this example is likely to be a use case far into the future.
At this stage, Project Soli is focused on controlling small form factors such as wearables. However, with the continued development of this technology, interacting with different devices, we could start to really see the impact in real world scenarios.
With these innovations, Google is advancing the way we access information to make our personal and professional lives more efficient. At the center of these products and ecosystems is the mobile phone. Acting as a central command for the objects, systems and devices around it, the mobile phone and its apps make it possible for an end user to access the exact information they need, whenever and wherever they are. All in an immersive and user friendly way.