Virgin Atlantic hails Google Glass trial a success

Virgin Atlantic has declared its six-week trial of wearable technology, including Google Glass and Sony Smartwatches, a success, with the airline confirming to IT Pro it is now evaluating plans for a wide-scale rollout.

"The trial was a huge success with positive feedback from both our staff and customers on the usage of wearable technology," a Virgin spokeswoman told IT Pro.

"We are currently assessing the costs and benefits of rolling this out to the rest of our team in the Upper Class Wing and hope to make a decision soon. At the same time, we are also looking at other opportunities within the airline that we believe could benefit from the use of wearable technology."

During the trial at Heathrow Terminal 3, Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class passengers were greeted by staff wearing Glass during the check-in process.

The airline worked in conjunction with aviation IT specialist SITA to deploy the wearable technology. A special app was created to work in conjunction with Glass and the Sony Smartwatches and pushed through passenger information, including itinerary details, directly to the wearable tech.

Staff were also able to use devices to provide real-time details to passengers including details about local weather and translate information into foreign languages.

Google Glass has yet to be officially released to the public, although the tech giant did have a special one-day sale in the US earlier this month, charging $1,500 + tax.

Google has also been running an extensive "Explorer" program, allowing developers to purchase the device, provide feedback and develop apps for it.

Consumer adoption of Glass is unlikely to be high upon release due to its pricing, but it is clear there are a number of business benefits presented by the hands-free device.

The aviation, healthcare, sports, armed forces and even the porn industry have all taken a keen interest in the benefits of wearable technology and are expected to deploy it. The ability to interact with Glass entirely using voice commands also means the device will be particularly useful for people with disabilities.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.