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Google Glass used by SNCF to enhance customer satisfaction

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This article is primarily about the use of Google Glass to enhance the customer experience. But let me first start by dealing with the iWatch (sorry … it’s the Apple Watch).

The long awaited Apple watch got finally revealed on Sept 9th. Despite the displayed enthusiasm at the conference, I must confess that I was disappointed. It’s not that the apple watch is ugly, or useless. It’s just that waiting so long had made me build some expectations and that the bigger the expectations, the more difficult it is to satisfy them. Apple just waited too long a time to bring its device to the market.

I may seem excessive but I dare to say that the value added of connected watches (Gear, apple Watch, LG G Watch) is pretty low. It’s actually marginal. This may explain why sales of the Samsung Gear have been so disappointing. It has to do with the embarked functionalities of those objects. Those functionalities are in themselves of marginal value for most consumers.

Connected objects : the world of the useless

Most connected objects today are useless. Connected watches are just integrating (summing up) several of those useless functionalities in one object.

I consider most connected objects as toys that may fill up your need for novelty for a short period of time. But most of you will probably get bored quickly and stop using their toy rapidly. I assume most connected objects are purchased impulsively … or just offered as a gift.

There is one object however that I think is different : the Google Glass.

Google Glasses for business applications

The Google Glass is not a mere connected object. This is a complete and independent device, very versatile too. I consider however that it remains a prototype and the current version will not be sold as is. The real functionalities of the device are still to be found. This requires an exploration phase that is undergone by firms like the French Railways (SNCF) which experimented the use of Google Glasses to ease the “onboarding” of customers at the doors of the train. As you can see from the video below (in French) stewards got the booking status and seat numbers displayed on the Google Glass after scanning the ticket. So basically, instead of reading the information on the PDA, they got it displayed directly on the glasses. It’s not revolutionary but at least it’s an interesting way to display the information and it’s quite innovative for the customer to witness.




We are still in the fuzzy phase of the innovation path. Connected objects remain very simple (even simplistic in their functionalities) and Google Glasses are not used at their full potential. It makes little doubt that everything will be eventually connected, the information merged, big data from all channels used to predict behaviors and assist consumers. It’s pretty frightening because we are losing our freedom. We are not free to decide anymore. In another posts we’ll deal with how algorithms are restricted our freedom. To be continued.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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