Slide 10: Google Glass Minimizes Time Between Intention and Action

(Take me to the beginning of these slides, from my Society for Health Systems Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference presentation on Google Glass and health IT workflow, immediately before HIMSS14. Text accompanying slides is colloquial because it was transcribed from audio recording.)


Glass is about accessing, capturing, acting on info “in the moment”. I put scare quotes around “in the moment”. How can you be “in the moment” when you’re wearing such a contraption? Take it from me, you forget you have it on, but can still take advantage of it when you need it. Of course, others may refuse to let you be “in the moment” so to speak by their reactions, but I think that will wear off.

It took me a while to figure Glass out. Had to get the right fit with my eyeglasses. However, the day after I got Glass and I still didn’t know how to use it yet, I was walking across Dupont Circle in Washington DC and heard a ding. I didn’t even know what it was, but I instinctively looked up. Glass turns on above a customizable degree of inclination. So it came on. There, floating in the sky, above the fountain, was a short email from my wife, just the subject line “Where are you?” I noticed instructions for voice interaction at the bottom of the card and a couple verbal commands later I simply said “Starbucks” (where I was heading). The instructions said swipe to cancel, I did nothing, and off the email went. I went another couple steps, then stop and looked back along the way I’d just come. I’d just answered an email hands free without any instruction.

The professor who pioneered this tech, believe it or not two decades ago (much larger and heavier then) says the whole point of this kind of tech is to minimize the amount of time between intention and action. You want to know a score, you can ask it while you’re doing something else. So you don’t wait to reach in your pocket or get home. Better yet, ask about the same sports team a couple times, and Glass will automatically “pin” a card to your timeline to show the latest score for you favorite time. This isn’t perfect. One time I searched for “GUID” to found out what it stands for, (Global Unique Identifier) and for a couple days Glass kept showing me the stock price for a company with the GUID stock symbol. But then it stopped doing that, like they’d fixed something on the backend.

I’d add minimize time between event and perception too, though I’m sure the good professor meant intenton and action to cover this too. When I’ve talked to some folks developing workflow apps for Glass, I’ve used the example of an oncologist “opting in” to be notified when a very specific piece of information becomes available, such as the result of a biopsy. At the very least, I want to know the good news, so I can convey it as soon as possible. And I certainly want to get to my patient first, if its bad news.

I scare quoted unobtrusive for the same reason as “in the moment”. It’s relative. You may forget about it. But the jury’s out whether your coworkers or society will allow you to forget about it long. We will see!

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