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Will Smart Glasses Help You Do Your Job?

As Ray Ban and Meta roll out “smart glasses,” we explore possible applications for restaurants and hotels
smart glasses

Smart glasses are evolving quickly. 

Case in point: Shortly after I fielded a flash survey (“Can Smart Glasses Help You Do Your Job?”) to gauge sentiments and attitudes around features such as photo and video capture, livestreaming, and sharing capabilities, Ray Ban and Meta rolled out a next-gen beta that integrates “multimodal AI.” Whew. 

Bearing in mind that what we talk about when we talk about smart glasses is subject to change on a regular basis, here’s some data from the recent survey, plus insights from industry experts about potential use cases.

Current Interest in Smart Glasses Is Muted

Responses to the flash survey were underwhelming — only a handful of respondents completed the questions, and answers ranged from ambivalent (most were only “somewhat familiar” with smart glasses) to negative (when asked if they were open to trying smart glasses, 30% responded “maybe” and more than 65% responded “no”). Top concerns included privacy (67%), physical discomfort (67%), and security (33%).

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“According to research conducted by West Virginia University's (WVU) Nemacolin Hospitality Innovation and Technology (HIT) Lab, most mainstream consumers lack confidence in the use of these smart glasses due to their price, privacy concerns, and a perceived lack of uniqueness compared to the applications already being used on smartphones and smartwatches,” notes Ajay Aluri, Associate Professor, Hospitality and Tourism Management, John Chambers College of Business and Economics, West Virginia University. “Among the consumers, mostly Generation Z innovators and explorers (born between 1997 and 2012), who are primarily content creators, are interested in simple and everyday uses such as to capture real-time images and videos, live streaming to social media channels, and listening to music.”

Potential Hospitality Use Cases for Smart Glasses

Skip Kimpel, Principal of Independent & SMB Consulting, ConStrata Consulting, is currently trying out the latest Ray Ban Meta smart glasses and is an avid proponent of the concept, especially where AI and augmented reality are integrated. “I’m intrigued by the ability to capture an image — for instance, a photo of a meal — and have AI analyze it and deliver a recipe via voice.” Kimpel also sees opportunities for smart glasses to help standardize portion sizes and to integrate customer data into loyalty programs. (To learn more about augmented reality, watch this video from MURTEC 2023, where Kimpel delved into Metaverse 101 for Restaurant Operators.)

Lee Holman, Lead Retail Analyst, IHL Group, says “This item is very early in the life cycle. As with most such tech, the retail industry will lead, and restaurant/hospitality will follow a year or so later. Is there a potential for using it for employee training? Yes, but the early adopters are going to be those companies who already have pilot capability for new technologies — in other words, really big restaurant companies — or boutique restaurants that are, or want to appear, high-tech.”

We’ll continue to monitor the evolution of smart glasses and their potential in hospitality. As always, we’d live to hear what you think!

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