Who are you following on Snapchat? Is it ours? Because it should be (@britelitesf), or just anybody that has Snapchat Spectacles…. Not to undercut the experience of regular Snapchat use, but the Snapchat Spectacles really up the game. I know what you are thinking, but why? Why did Snapchat create the Spectacles? How can I become the envy of my friends and co-workers like you? Well, I think I can help with some of those questions.
What are Spectacles?
Snapchat has made a pretty killer mobile app and is leading the way in mixed reality social sharing, and Spectacles are their first product to supplement the Snapchat experience. Spectacles are sunglasses, and one of the nice things about them is that they can be just that, a pretty nice set of sunglasses, but they are also something more.
They include an embedded camera and Bluetooth that allows you to communicate with your preferred snapchat device. They are somewhat similar in concept to something like Google glass, but where Google glass had non obvious cameras, a screen, and was not really sure what the preferred use case was, Snapchat Spectacles are made for capturing photos and video of what you are experiencing and it does it well.
What’s in the box?
The Spectacles can only be acquired from a vending machine that secretly and mysteriously appears across the country. The first couple locations were in LA and we were lucky enough to get our hands on a unit. The Spectacles come in a nice plastic packaging and are “shipped” with a stylish hard case that doubles as a charger as well as a regular charging cable if you are not taking the hard case with you.
Physically they look a lot like normal sunglasses, which is really nice when you are trying to use them. The camera is unobtrusive, but obvious to those who are looking at the glasses because a ring of LEDs light up around the camera when it is recording. The fact that they visibly let others know you are recording is a very smart addition and removes some of the privacy concerns of “secretly” recording things – when you are using them the light provides a nice indicator that you are recording.
Around the Office and Beyond
So what are you supposed to do with these things anyway? Well… lots of stuff. While I think that our internal use cases will be different than most, there are some really compelling uses for these right off the bat. For the average user I can see implementing these at a concert or festival or as a more social version of a GoPro, using them to capture sports while you are participating or spectating.
Britelite does not have a lot of company sanctioned trips to music festivals, but we have been finding some really cool ways to put these into use. One of the first things we did after setting them up was to capture an experience that we were designing from the user perspective. I was busy trying to get my co-worker to hold a camera over my shoulder while I used the touchscreen when I had an epiphany, I actually had a tool that was designed just for this. Using the spectacles I was able to capture some really nice videos of the experience and upload them to our designer so he could see how the experience felt in real life while he was off site. Comparing the videos (with and without Spectacles) the Spectacles video had a much more urgent and real life feel than the video taken from a separate camera. I was also able to use the Spectacles to film some quick walk-through of our basement and some video of us putting together one of our render farms.
Overall, your face is a really convenient place to store a camera. It is pretty rare that I want to photograph something that I am not already staring at and being able to just touch a little button on the glasses and then keep working on whatever I am doing makes filming videos of builds and experiences much more fluid and effortless.
So is it worth it?
Snapchat Spectacles are a well designed and implemented product and with a price point in line with similar sunglasses that do not have camera functionality, seems like a no-brainer if you are into this kind of thing. While there are many clear use cases it will be very interesting to see how the social community at large will begin to use them and exploit the advantages that the Spectacles offer. We are going on a few deployments soon and are definitely going to be bringing the Spectacles along for the ride. Follow @britelitesf on Snapchat to see what we get into.