Research last year by Credit Suisse called wearable tech “the next big thing” and predicted the industry was set to grow from around $3 billion to $5 billion today to $50 billion within five years. Read more
Last month, I bought a Samsung Gear 2 Neo smartwatch. It’s been on my wrist every day over the past few weeks, replacing my usual traditional watch that tells the time and shows me the date.
Of course, a digital smartwatch can do a lot more than just that, one of the reasons why people buy them. Read more
First, they were persecuted. Then, they were addicted.
Yes, it appears that full-blown dependency is the next great tribulation of the Google Glass superuser. We now have a reported case of Google Glass addiction in the books. Read more
The Federal Aviation Administration is poised to approve exemptions for seven aerial photo and video production companies, allowing them to lawfully operate their unmanned aircraft systems for the purposes of filming movies and television shows. Read more
EndlessJabber is a new Android app, which enables users to send and receive SMS/MMS messages from any PC, tablet, web browser or XMPP client. The folks behind it are currently raising funds through KickStarter. Read more
Earlier this week, news came out that Google is looking at catering to a whole new market – kids under thirteen years old. Read more
Business Secretary Vince Cable and the UK Department for Transport have just announced a “fast track” initiative for driverless cars, saying that the autonomous vehicles will hit public roads in about six months. Read more
In finally, that happened news, Facebook has released a dedicated iPad version of their Facebook Messenger app.
The iPad version comes with most of the functionality of the iPhone app, allowing users to send messages, create group chats, employ Facebook’s army of neat little stickers, and of course, VoIP calling – which the company rolled out in January of 2013. Read more
The smart thermostat business has held promise for quite a while now, with even companies such as Google investing heavily in the technology. Now one of the most popular thermostat makers in the world has entered its own smart thermostat into the running.
Honeywell has announced its new Lyric thermostat, a smart thermostat with programmable capabilities. The device is being marketed as a way for consumers to save money and more accurately control the climate of their homes. Read more
The focus of course is very much a consumer one, where there is plenty to find about products like Google Glass, fitness bands, smartwatches, wearable cameras, healthcare devices… the range and scale of products is almost breath-taking.
In the US, online retailer Amazon just launched the Wearable Technology Store, offering consumers all of the above and more.
Amongst all the consumer and media excitement such products generate, I find my focus shifting more and more to the utility aspect of these shiny new objects as they come into the business realm and, inevitably, into our workplaces.
Where such technology gets interesting in this context is precisely that – the context in business.
Shel Israel and Robert Scoble zero in on context in their best-selling book, Age of Context, published last year that speaks of five technology forces that will have a profound effect on individuals, businesses and society as a whole in the next decade – social media, mobile, data, sensors and location-based technology. I see ‘sensors’ equating to ‘wearables’ to a huge extent.
This week, the BBC reports on an academic study that addresses wearable tech in the workplace. Among its positive findings – wearable devices designed to help improve posture and concentration could boost productivity by eight percent in an office.
So we can already see some of those effects Israel and Scoble talk about through the devices we’re becoming more familiar with, such as the examples above, and how and where we use them. And I believe we will see more – and faster – acceptance and adoption in business of wearable tech when multiple tipping points converge:
- New or evolved devices come to market that match more closely what people wish to use in a business context.
- The functionality of a given device offers the user an easier, simpler, faster, more effective, more convenient and/or cheaper way to get something done or gain access to valuable and useful content.
- Above all, a device offers its wearer (a deliberately-chosen word: not ‘user’) a compelling experience that satisfies singular or multiple desires that form a key part of the overall experience.
Om Malik‘s description of wearable tech as “intimate computing” could be close to the mark. And that does make ‘wearer’ a far more apt choice of word than ‘user’ whatever the context, business or otherwise.
It will make you think of ‘wearable’ in a new way. For instance, if you drive a new car a lot – especially a car crammed with tech – is it just a car, or an intimate computing device aka wearable technology?
Which brings me to good old ERP, the backbone of many businesses – and the last place you’d expect to see cool tech such as this in use, right?
Wrong! Just as the cool tech of only four years ago – iPads, iPhones, the emerging smartphone landscape, and an embryonic mobile-device ecosystem that’s today hugely focused on apps – was unlikely to be seen in the corporate workplace or the factory floor, now you can’t move for tablets and other devices of all shapes and sizes, connected to networks – private and public, wired and wireless – and used universally and ubiquitously for business in ways we wouldn’t have imagined at that time.
So the idea of a smartwatch that lets you engage with content from your enterprise systems to not only read messages but also actually make transactions is one whose time is almost upon us.
The fully working proof-of-concept demonstrates how notifications from IFS’s business applications can be delivered to wearable technology. Using Samsung’s APIs for notification alerts, IFS connected components of its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) systems to send alerts in line with updates to certain processes.
For example, field service operatives could be alerted when important items are shipped, key projects are started or completed, or be notified when invoices are paid.
This is just the tip of an iceberg and you can expect to read, see and hear reports, opinions and other content about this topic in the coming weeks.