Friday, August 8, 2014

Google Glass Experience: Part 1 - Connectivity

Technology is headed in the direction of integrating

  • Wearable devices
  • Augmented reality
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Natural language processing and
  • Connected devices - Internet
Google Glass is an example of how some of these technologies can come together.
I recently got Google Glass and will be chronicling my experiences with it.  This series (hopefully) of posts will cover my specific situations and again hopefully the solutions for the problems I face.

Connecting Glass to the Web at Work

While Glass can take pictures or record videos without Internet connectivity, it becomes more useful when connected.  

My Situation:

  1. Phone: iPhone 5 running iOS 7.1.2 (this is a work phone - does not reflect my choice)
  2. WiFi at work 
    1. Public Wifi with ToS (Requires to go to a website to accept terms of service to get access)
    2. Enterprise WiFi - WPA2 - enterprise

Glass can get connected in 2 ways

  1. Via Bluetooth tethering with a smartphone or tablet which has Internet connectivity via
    1. Cellular data plan OR
    2. WiFi
  2. Direct connection from Glass to WiFi.  Glass cannot connect to WiFi that is
    1. Public but requires Terms of service acceptance on a website
    2. WPA2- enterprise

So in my case option # 2 (Direct connection to WiFi at work) is out.

For option # 1, let us consider the 2 most popular OS's

  1. Android - works seamlessly - just pair the device to Glass via Bluetooth and all your troubles are over!  It will use either the phone/tablet's cellular data plan or use data from the WiFi that the phone/tablet is connected to.
  2. iOS - while it is easy to pair Glass with the iPhone, it WILL NOT connect even to the WiFi signal unless the "Personal Hotspot" feature is turned on.  The problem is that this requires an additional monthly charge even though you might just be using the phone to connect to WiFi. which is either free or you have paid for.
Need to set up Personal Hotspot on iOS
So in short there is not way to use Google Glass at work without paying an additional monthly fee it seems.
Ideally Apple needs to enable the Hotspot feature automatically when the phone is connected to WiFi and need us to pay or take additional steps (e.g. use shared data plans) only if we use cellular data.  

My Solution (s):

  1. Use an old Android device 
    • Pair this device to Glass; Connect the Andorid device the Public WiFi at work and thus connect Glass to the Public WiFi.  The problem is the need to carry an additional device and keep it charged
  2. Use a MiFi - again same problems (additional device, charging).
  3. There is another potential solution that I have not tried yet.

Another issue is setting up WiFi on Glass

If you have an Android device, that you pair with Glass, the MyGlass App on the device will work seamlessly in setting up the WiFi on Glass.
You can also use the MyGlass app on iPhone or visit http://www.google.com/myglass to set up the WiFi.  This requires scanning a QR code using Glass.  When I tried to set up Glass to connect to a MiFi using this method it did not work (both with iPhone and browser) but it worked first time with an old Android tablet.

MyGlass Dashboard 

Example of QR code to set up WiFi


Summary:
Glass at least at this stage is difficult to connect to the Internet if you have the same WiFi situation as I do and do not have an Android device.