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GovTech brings smart glasses back to Singapore

The Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) has established potential ways for smart glasses to be used appropriately and thus be reintroduced into the market.

While Google glasses paved the way for this technology, the failure of finding the right use for the technology and a lack of apps on it caused it to gradually fall out of the market. GovTech has relooked into this and found ways for this technology to be used appropriately.

Only glasses and no hands

Smart glasses have two fundamental functions: live conferencing and facial recognition. What sets smart glasses apart from the traditional use of the camera is that these glasses allow hands-free operation while being connected to the Internet, using a smartphone.

Senior Manager at GovTech, Mr Ng Yong Kiat, gave an example of how smart glasses allow an engineer performing maintenance work to be able to perform the manual work while sending updates in real-time. The live conferencing function of the glasses can be used for the relevant personnel to view the progress of the work.

As the engineer typically requires the use of both hands, the glasses will allow the relay of visual and audio information back to a control room.

Smart glasses to build buildings

Changi Airport Group has also hopped onto the bandwagon. It is looking into ways of using smart glasses for managing the construction of its new buildings.

As compared to surveillance cameras mounted onto walls and buildings which are restricted to viewing one area, smart glasses provide a wide view of the construction scene. Supervisors can better assess the scene by monitoring different areas of the site.

The Future

There are also plans of taking the functions of smart glasses beyond live video conferencing by introducing video analytics software to the glasses.

He stressed about how it is crucial to avoid vendor lock-in when developing software for smart glasses. The software must be compatible with various off-the-shelf smart glasses. The application programming interfaces and the software development kits of the glasses should be flexible and interchangeable in their use.

Mr Ng shared about how government agencies are highly keen on adopting smart glasses technology. He believes that the adoption of smart glasses technology will produce a positive outcome of disruptive innovation- where the technology is to be employed in appropriate situations.


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