At NEXT Berlin 2013 Robert Scoble presented Google Glass for the first time in Europe and sparked big excitement at the conference and in international media. A magic moment was, when Scoble made Glass sceptic Bruce Sterling try the device on. But Google Glass is just the beginning of a bigger development. That is why we asked the tech guru from the Valley about trends and traps in wearable computing.
At NEXT Berlin 2013 you said, you would never want to live another day without “wearable computing”. What makes it so helpful and indispensable?
Robert Scoble: Google Glass, in particular, is an assistant for your life. When I walk into an airport it has my airline schedule up, along with gate numbers and all that. Also, I can call my wife without fishing out my phone and I can do it while carrying two suitcases. That’s just the start. Soon, we’ll have new kinds of games, and new kinds of apps that help us live our lives while walking around.
There was a lot of excitement you triggered by bringing Google Glass to NEXT13. How did you experience the day at NEXT13 and how did you feel about all the overall excitement?
Robert Scoble: NEXT Berlin is one of the world’s top conferences for tech passionates. That came out as people stood in line waiting to try Google Glass at the conference in 2013. The overall feel of the conference was one that celebrated technology.
Where do you see the limits or even risks of wearable computing?
Robert Scoble: Well, there is still lots of trouble with the technology. It looks geeky. Battery life is an issue. Cost will be an issue. But really those things go away if there is real utility. Right now, it’s hard to state the real utility because there isn’t much software yet and neither the Apple iWatch nor Google Glass has been shipped yet. Those two will really set the stage for mainstream adoption, but there are a lot of unanswered questions. Plus even if they are successful there are lots of new privacy concerns that come along with the new sensors inside these new gadgets.
The coming year’s will see many more devices to come – which are the developments one shouldn’t miss?
Robert Scoble: I’m most excited by Low Energy Bluetooth, AKA “Smart Bluetooth.” These little radios broadcast every second and if you are nearby your phone or wearable devices could know that and could change what they display. Most people don’t know what these do, and that makes it a great topic for NEXT14.
Robert, thank you for the interview and hope to meet you in Berlin on May 5-6 next year!
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