THE UPCOMING JIO SMART GLASSES

                                                                            



Past 'smart glass' efforts have either failed to be accepted by consumers or sparked privacy and surveillance worries. Very often, they have done both.

Among many of the announcements that marked the 43rd AGM of Reliance Industries Limited, such as Jio 5G, Jio Mart, its deals with Google and Facebook – one thing that showed a glimpse of its future plans was Jio Glass.

Following Mukesh Ambani’s speech, his children came to the dais like in every AGM, and introduced us to Jio Glass among many of its plans, giving a demo and showing how enjoyable the thick, bulky, and the possibly creepy product is and can get.

Reliance Jio says it is ‘innovating, serving and making India one of the first AI nations,’ and there may be a crucial kernel of truth in it. But it’s also equally important to remember that Reliance has acquired, or invested for a majority stake in a total of 14 digital corporates or startups since 2016, ranging from Drone Technology company Asteria Aerospace to Suraiya Services which provides data solutions and provides govt schemes to blockchain technology companies.

Tesseract – the company which designed and built Jio Glass and the Jio Holoboard unveiled last year –has become a subsidiary of RIL now, like many others, after Reliance acquired a majority equity stake.

In this context, Jio Glass seems to be the beginning of the from energy to now digital conglomerate’s inroads into wearable computing systems i.e, devices that can be worn over the body and have the ability to process, analyze and transfer data.

This has to be anything but surprising since Jio’s unstoppable need to expand itself from telecom to now digital retail and future technologies (where there is hardly any formidable indigenous competitor for such a big market) was going to lead it here.


SMART GLASS AND THEIR FRAGILE PAST

                                                                           

JIO UPCOMING SMART GLASSES

Past ‘smart glasses’ efforts haven’t always received the warmest of welcomes by customers. The first significant product in this category was announced and released by Google as ‘Google Glass’ back in 2014. 

The product’s initial avatar was largely a failure – it was one of the few times when the public spoke and Glass received immense privacy backlash for allowing its users to record, live stream, or take a picture of anyone around them, without their consent or knowledge. 

The positioning of the Glass – right in our faces, is also what makes it so difficult to know whether we are being recorded, in comparison with a camera or phone where you have to hold it in your hand. 

People rightfully said that though Google may have received privacy policy approval from the user, it has not so from the non-users, who it could possibly surveil and record continuously, anytime, and anywhere. The Glass was banned from several pubs and by some companies in their premises.

The company’s indifference to people’s concerns was manifested when John Hanke, the VP of Product Management, Google, said, ‘Ultimately, we will want these technologies, wherever they are on your body, to be totally optimized based on the job they’re doing, not on what is more socially acceptable at that first moment of creation, just because it reminds people of something they’ve seen in the past’, or when the founder said, ‘People have a natural aversion to innovation’. 

The technology, without safeguards, has chances of increasing crimes against women and gender minorities too, who are more vulnerable to sexual assault, which could be recorded by perpetrators, or their invasive photos be taken. 

Inevitably, there was a possibility of facial recognition being integrated via apps in Google Glass, which formally, after intense pressure, Google had to strikeout. Still, developers persisted, and facial recognition apps could be installed in Glass, causing a great ruckus. Legal frameworks have historically lagged behind technologies, leading to which there aren’t strong protections against such implementation of technology. 

                                                               

JIO UPCOMING SMART GLASSES

       


Soon, Glass was stopped from the public purchase by Google and was instead taken into the industrial and manufacturing sector for workers – the guinea pigs who are to be experimented with in the name of ‘worker productivity’, until it gets normalized enough for a public rollout.

Reliance Jio Glass seemingly appears to resemble Google Glass in at least one way. From the few photos and looks available of it, it appears to have had a camera at the center, although the use-cases that have been pitched are a cocktail of mixed-reality productivity solutions. 

Besides Google, there have been other corporates making smart glasses too, such as North Focals, Vuzix, Intel Vaunt, and Snap Spectacles. Though most, especially Intel Vaunt, which had good initial reception but was shelved a few years later, have been unable to make a foothold. 

The one which had the best potential, North Focals, with the company steering clear of some privacy concerns as it didn’t have a camera in Focals 1.0 – suffered losses in its business, and recently had the pleasure of being acquired by Google, which saw the potential in it and swallowed a drowning business. 

As a matter of fact, North Focals wasn’t clear on their privacy policy for further projects either, confirming that Focals 2.0 will have a camera through a video on Twitter. Several employees have also warned the company of creating products that have a male bias or are male-focused, and severely overpriced. 



JIO SMART GLASS SPECIFICATION




The Jio Glass weighs in at 75 grams and comes with spatial audio, so the meetings have crystal clear audio. The smart glasses support all audio and video formats and support 25 video conferencing and collaboration apps, one of them being JioMeet that was launched recently as an answer to Zoom. There are high-resolution frame screens in place of regular lenses.

Jio has not said anything about when the Jio Glass will ship to customers or what it will be priced at. For reference, the Snap Spectacles cost Rs 29,999 in India, which means the Jio Glass will be priced lower than that.

Reliance Jio has also enhanced the Jio TV+ service with a new interface, which looks uncannily similar to that of Apple TV+. The Jio TV+ will bundle all the content from various OTT platforms and TV channels under one roof so that customers do not have to skim through every section and page of the interface. Jio TV+ is already available to all Jio Fiber customers, along with the broadband subscription.