Local Marketing Agencies Experiment With Google Glass

Local Marketing Agencies Experiment With Google Glass

Space150 and Preston Kelly are among the Twin Cities firms that got an early peek at the new technology and are exploring how it may translate into client offerings.

Twin Cities marketing firms are experimenting with Google Glass, the new wearable computing technology from tech-giant Google that hasn’t yet been released to the broader consumer market. (Learn more about the technology here.)

Space150 told Twin Cities Business that it was the 342nd recipient of Google Glass and received its developer kit in late April. The agency said it was the first firm in Minnesota to access the technology, and virtually all of its employees experimented with the product as soon as it received it.

And now Preston Kelly, another local firm, said this week that it has obtained the device and is encouraging each of its employees to test out the tech in order to better understand its potential—and perhaps its limits. In fact, Preston Kelly is letting staff experiment with the device on their own time, and it’s even offering workers a paid half-day off to test it out.

In the case of Space150, employees from a broad range of departments examined the product experience and then brainstormed ideas for how it could be implemented in client work. In addition, one of the agency’s software engineers wore the device for a month in order to better understand its capabilities and to “develop a point of view that helps our clients and broader community understand the device in its current and likely future forms,” according to an agency spokesperson.

Space150 hasn’t yet built any specific solutions using Google Glass for clients, although it’s “continuing to evolve our expertise and prototyping on Glass,” the spokesperson said. The agency used an open-source software to employ so-called “computer vision,” which essentially takes in image data in order to translate it in a variety of ways. Space150 found that the process could allow for things like facial recognition, which could prove useful with client campaigns, and while the device has “great potential,” Google Glass also has shortcomings—like battery issues.

To learn more about Space150’s Google Glass experiments, including a video that displays what users see when wearing the device, click here.

Preston Kelly, meanwhile, said this week that it’s asking employees to experience Google Glass with “their own time, with their own passions, and their favorite activities.” It hopes employees might “uncover how the device can change and improve the consumer experience”—including, of course, how it might benefit clients and the marketing campaigns that the agency produces.

Thus far, Preston Kelly said its employees have signed up to test Google Glass while performing a broad variety of activities, including crossfit training, horseback riding, grocery shopping, museum touring, craft brew tasting, traveling, skiing and snowboarding, sporting events, and duck hunting. The agency is calling its initiative “Eyeconic Ideas,” referencing the fact that Google Glass is worn as eyewear.

Preston Kelly said it will post stories online as it tests out the product during the coming months and share them via social media. It’s also inviting the public to contribute ideas for how the product should be used. “The next billion-dollar idea could be lurking just behind a slightly dorky pair of cyborg glasses,” the company said.

One of Space150’s developers obtained Google Glass after attending a Google conference. Preston Kelly, meanwhile, gained access after its community manager, Krissy Welle, responded to an online Google promotion. Google asked people via social networking channels what they would do if given Google Glass, and Welle tweeted that she thought the device should be used to show people what Minneapolis has to offer.

Update: Not surprisingly, Preston Kelly and Space150 are just a couple examples of local agencies toying with Glass. For example, shortly after this story was originally published, officials from Carmichael Lynch Spong and Weber Shandwick's Minneapolis office both noted that their agencies obtained the technology early on.