For quite some time, Google Glass was one of the most buzzed about technologies around.

Yet while most people would want to use it for fun, Erie Insurance is looking to use it on the job.

ERIE—which was the first insurance carrier to fly a drone to investigate a claim—is now the first insurer to outfit commercial risk control consultants with Google Glass. Worn like a pair of eyeglasses, Google Glass is able to perform a variety tasks with a simple touch or voice command. Just a few of those tasks include taking photos, recording videos and searching for information on the web.

Meanwhile, risk control consultants help ERIE business customers make their workplaces safer for both employees and customers. Just a few of the ways they do that is by assisting with the creation of disaster recovery plans, conducting workplace risk surveys, recommending ways to comply with OHSA standards and more. Risk control consultants also visit businesses as part of the process of underwriting policies for them.

Just one person who got the chance to use Google Glass is Ron Dietrich, a risk control consultant with 24 years of experience. He was part of a test program of risk control consultants who used Google Glass during typical business visits. Here is what he had to say about how it helped make his job easier—and ultimately deliver better service to customers.

How did you use Google Glass during this test program?

At the time, we only used it to live stream videos. We streamed these videos to share what we’re seeing with supervisors or other coworkers who weren’t able to walk through a business with us. It’s really helpful to have someone else weigh in when you have a question about something or just want a second opinion. These videos are streamed for the duration of the call only—we do not store them.

Did you receive training on how to use Google Glass?

Yes—the pilot team had a full day of training on how to use it.

How do you make sure customers are comfortable with you wearing this novel technology?

We always ask business owners for their permission before we use Google Glass. We let them tell us what they don’t want us streaming—many of them have trade secrets or special processes, so they don’t want that streamed. Customers were very receptive to us using Google Glass. Many of them were curious and wanted to learn how it worked.

What did you like best about using Google Glass during those visits?

Probably the fact that there could be an additional set of eyes seeing what I’m seeing. There are so many scenarios where this is helpful. It’s so reassuring to have someone virtually walk through a business with you. It’s hard to know everything in this line of work, so being able to call on someone else so easily helps ensures the quality of our work.

Was there anything you didn’t like about Google Glass?

Not really. Mostly, that this was something new and different that required getting used to. Also, we were a little worried about how customers would react—fortunately, they were very receptive.

Do you think this technology helps ERIE deliver outstanding service to customers?

Absolutely. We are still there with the customer, so none of the human touch is lost. Google Glass just makes it easier to transmit information, which can speed up underwriting decisions and more.

What’s next for Google Glass at ERIE?

With the pilot a success, we are expanding Google Glass’s use in the field by providing an additional seven sets. This brings the total to ten sets. An additional five risk control consultants, one district sales manager and one state insurance commercial manager were trained to use Google Glass on July 21.

Risk control is just one component of great business insurance. To learn more about how to protect your business, talk to an Erie Insurance agent in your community.