There is little doubt that wearable devices are one of the hottest emerging technologies, with research firms forecasting significant adoption of such devices in the coming years. In InformationWeek, Forrester analyst J.P. Gownder recently listed seven ways that wearables will take hold in the workplace.
Gownder said smartwatches, smartglasses, smart ID badges and activity trackers, among other devices, will alter the way we perform our jobs. If done right with vigorous ecosystems of brands, retailers, healthcare providers, and even governments tapping into their value wearables will create more efficient and seamless experiences for wearers, Gownder wrote.
Here are some highlights of ways that wearables will have an impact:
Just as they bring their tablets and smartphones to work, employees will bring their own smartwatches, smartglasses, and other wearables into the workplace. Workplace IT systems will adjust to accommodate these new devices.
Tracking employees activity
Smart ID badges can be used to track workers locations in the office and use the data to gain understanding of their levels of collaboration with co-workers. Workers can log into the system to view their levels of collaboration. Management might view only aggregate patterns to set up programs to encourage collaboration.
Wearables for warehousing and logistics
Employees in warehouses or in logistics positions can use hands-free technologies such as smartglasses so they can continue to lift boxes and packages while accessing location data, such as where to place the box within a large warehouse, or navigation data for delivering a package.
Many consumer fitness devices are sold to individuals, but in the future a larger market may lie in embedding them into the wider healthcare system, integrating them with insurance companies, hospitals, and corporate wellness programs. These devices can help users track their activity levels, such as sleep patterns and their nutrition.
The growth in the wearables market should increase use of data transmission in the cellular machine-to-machine communications market, said Syed Zaeem Z Hosain, the CTO of the M2M services company Aeris Communications.
As the use of wearables grows, another important factor should be considered: connectivity. In these early days of wearable devices, they are connected via WiFi and Bluetooth, Hosain said. However, as the complexity of wearables increases, and as wearables must move more data, and when the connectivity must be reliable, regardless of location, I expect to see wearables also connecting via cellular.
Hosain also pointed to aesthetics as an important factor promoting usage. If wearables look good and feel good, people will wear them, he said. If they are clunky or dont feel right, they wont be worn.
Aeris Communications offers a series of connected health solutions that integrate cellular connectivity so workers, doctors, and hospitals can access healthcare solutions with wearable devices.
To read an Aeris white paper on the topic, click here.