Virgin Takes Wearable Computing to New Heights

A six-week experiment could help change how airlines use technology for serving passengers.

Feb 18, 2014 at 9:15AM

Google Glass Handling Passport

Virgin Atlantic reps will use Google Glass to help serve Upper Class passengers over the next six weeks. Source: Virgin Atlantic.

Wearable computing isn't just changing fashion. It's also changing business, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.

Consider Virgin Atlantic. The carrier has outfit its Upper Class lounge concierges with Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Glass for checking in premium flyers as they arrive. The six-week experiment follows a study of passenger attitudes in which 42% said flying is "less glamorous" than it used to be. Virgin is embracing advanced technology such as Glass in hopes of changing the dynamic.

This isn't terribly surprising. Virgin tends to push boundaries in just about everything it does. Competing long-haul carriers aren't likely to adopt Glass anytime soon. Yet Tim says it's also worth noting that Virgin prides itself on delivering a high-touch experience to its most valuable customers. The airline wouldn't expose them to Glass if Google hadn't built a trustworthy system.

Meanwhile, the wearable computing revolution continues at pace. Fitness devices alone are expected to account for $1.15 billion in revenue this year, up from just $43 million in 2009. It's a good time for investors to take a closer look at this space.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. What other ways can wearable computing improve business? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take, then leave a comment to let us know whether you would buy, sell, or short Google stock at current prices.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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