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Something interesting happened to me since the last article I wrote for Transaction World Magazine. I entered a contest and was consequently selected to be one of the first people in America to get Google Glass, the smartphone-esque headset that you wear on your face.
The @ProjectGlass #GlassExplorers were selected from those contest entrants who submitted their response that responded to a hashtag #Ifihadglass. Mine was fairly simple and straightforward, I posted a picture of a foggy causeway upon which I commute to work every day along with the phrase, “I’d see everything differently.”
Apparently this captured someone’s imagination and I was selected. To be quite honest, I completely forgot about the contest until I much later received a direct message from the @projectglass Twitter presence stating I had won. As of this writing Google has started fulfilling the orders of the 8,000 winners, but I’ve yet to receive my invitation to make an appointment to be fitted.
While I “won” the contest, there is a $1,500.00 price tag, so I guess you could actually say that I won the opportunity to purchase this headset before it is available to the general public.
So let’s talk about this groundbreaking new technology. Basically the units are similar to an Android mobile phone using a different form factor.
Glass headsets connect to an Android or iOS model phone and utilize the phone’s data connection to send and receive information. Mounted on the front of the headset armature, above the user’s right eye, is a forward-facing digital camera that can record video and still images that can be shared in real-time to your contacts and social networks. Glass also sports a prism that faces the user and a small screen is projected onto its surface.
Early users report that the viewing experience is similar to looking at a 25” screen about eight feet away. Bone-conducting transducers transfer the sound to the inside of the user’s head and there is a touch-sensitive arm that is used to navigate the user interface. A minute microphone inside the headset allows for voice commands.
I’ll be able to initiate directions, searches, image capture and more by saying “OK Glass …”
But wait a minute you say; this is a payments magazine – what’s all this talk about prisms and bone-conducting transducers? Well, dear reader, hold on to your hat – because this headset or something like it is the stepping-stone to the next wave of payments.
Now read closely I don’t want you to think I’m not a fan of mobile payments, I’m a big advocate. But the problem with mobile payments is the mobile part. Other than storing account information and displaying transactions and current status, there’s no real reason to pull out your phone rather than your wallet. Yes NFC is cool and can initiate some wonderful transactions. But in a market that’s already saturated with payment terminals at every point-of-sale, there ha