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Wearable Tech in 2016: Big Applications

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Wearable tech saw huge advances in 2015, so it’s only appropriate that in 2016 we’ll see a huge trend in this technology.

To date, wearable smart-devices have primarily seen application on the consumer side of the spectrum (and with a heavy focus on fitness tracking applications). But, some are noting that this tech segment has potentially huge implications within the enterprise arena, too.

Relative to the “consumer vs. enterprise” debate, CIO contributor Patrick Moorhead had this to say:

“…the short-term value proposition for businesses appears to be much higher. For example, wearables could boost employee efficiency and save work time by allowing them to access data and instructions, while leaving their hands free to handle tools, machines and equipment.”

 

When a person thinks of the  term “wearable,” their mind usually pins towards smartwatches, like the ones built by apple. However, other devices that can be “worn,” like a headset, will encompass this sphere of technology.

 

In considering how wearables might fit into the “instant enterprise economy,” we’ve noted a number of still relatively untapped (yet promising) applications:

 

Employee Safety — 

For workers in physically demanding positions, having a small device track simple biometrics (such as blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and so forth) offers an efficient and pain-free means of ensuring wellness in real-time. And, when vitals vary too far from the norm, a manager could intervene to ensure that all is well. For employees operating large equipment, these steps not only ensure the wearer’s safety, but the safety of all those in surrounding spaces.

 

In the bigger picture, such devices can also be applied towards corporate programs to encourage long-term wellness. Such programs offer the potential to improve organizational morale while simultaneously producing better health and working conditions among employees.

 

Logistics — 

Real-time location tracking has been used by the logistics industry for almost a decade, and has proved to be of paramount value in tracking the progress of deliveries. But, with such technology now scaled to comfortably exist within wristwatches and smartphones, enterprises in any industry can apply this same principle for more predictable outcomes.

 

Construction crews, for instance, could track employee location to help ensure that a site is free of workers prior to demolition. Or, dispatches for emergency services (such as ambulances, police officers, and firemen) could use this information to determine which crews are closest to an accident. By better understanding where individuals are at any given moment, leadership can ensure that resources are allocated as efficiently as possible.

 

Real-Time Training & Support —

As Moorhead notes, wearable technology frees the user’s hands to allow for better (and potentially safer) multitasking. Augmented reality headsets, in particular, help blend real-time information with physical spaces.

 

Using such headsets, individuals could be trained “on-the-job” with virtual tutors helping them identify and complete various tasks. Or, employees who need to quickly secure a missing part could use these glasses to project a direct path to said inventory within their warehouse as a means of saving time. Finally, headsets like these could help team leaders “step inside” the view of their employees to provide specific and real-time instructions with far greater clarity. Indeed, the potential uses for augmented reality headsets are infinite, and the space should grow quickly once a compelling enterprise product is finally brought to market.

 

In conclusion, we’re hopeful 2016 will be a big year for enterprise wearables, as organizations continue to seek out new sources of safety, efficiency, and oversight. As news breaks, we’ll be sure to share it here—so tune in often!

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