Via LinkedIn : Spearheaded by technological juggernauts like Google, the development of so-called “wearable technology” is being touted as a potential landmark in the evolution of the information age.
Until now though, consumer products like the Google Glass have been met with a lukewarm reception by consumers. As a growing number of technology companies eye a shift towards big-business applications, are tech wearables poised for a U-turn in popularity?
While the answer at this stage is largely speculative, there are a number of companies who seem to think so:
Two stock handlers for Netherlands-based shipping company Active Ants were each given Google Glass as part of a week-long experiment by the company. By using the Glass to run a purpose-built stock app, the workers were reportedly able to reduce their error rate by 12%, and increase their speed by 15%. While this seems impressive in and of itself, the company have high hopes for where this will lead. A second version of the app is said to be in the works, and speculators have highlighted the potential for multi-million dollar savings in larger e-commerce companies.
Going beyond the Google Glass which has become so synonymous with the phrase “wearable technology”, financial tech firm Fidelity Labs have been experimenting with the Pebble smartwatch as a platform for the Watchapp – an app that enables users to receive financial market information, keep track of stock watch lists and receive relevant alerts. Says Sean Belka, vice president of the cutting-edge firm: “This technology has real potential”. He emphasises the possibility that wearables will become more popular than smartphones in the future, and stresses the firm’s commitment to “continuous exploration and innovation”.
This isn’t the only time that smartwatches have found their way into the workplace. Blueberry Home Solutions – a UK-based home improvement company – are using smartwatches to help bridge the 10-mile gap between their development lab and their London office. The company have produced a smartwatch app which is capable of remotely controlling laboratory testing, allowing the business to run smoothly from its headquarters without the need for an engineer to be present.
Though the market for workplace wearables is still in its fledgling stages, British supermarket heavyweight Tesco has been taking advantage of wearable tech since 2004. The FTSE-listed company claims positive results after implementing wearable armbands for employees in one of their Irish distribution centres. The armbands carry out a multitude of functions, chief among them the tracking of goods which would otherwise involve time-consuming use of clipboards.
With the current feedback on business wearables being positive, speculation is rife as to their potential applications in the coming years.
Current predictions range from wearable blood chemistry monitors to “smart buttons” with the ability to change the colour of clothing. If there’s one truth to take away from all of this, it’s that the only certainty at this stage is uncertainty.
Watch this growing space.