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Software Is Key For Wearables In The Enterprise

Devices look cool on one's wrist, but it's the functionality of the software that will make or break wearables in business.

send you an alert regarding any new content related to the product. The processes that power Google Now could very well be applied to wearable apps.

But instead of celebrity gossip and sports updates, the notifications will alert to potential dangerous scenarios in the workplace (such as employees in proximity to a malfunctioning steam pipe). Sensors embedded in a pipe can communicate with employee wearables to stay away from the area.

Ensuring a capacity for the influx of data
Disseminating activity information from an entire factory workforce equipped with wearable devices such as Google Glass or an activity tracker is a legitimate challenge. Hundreds of vital signals and audio or video feeds create a serious infrastructure issue with such an increase in data. Hours of video feed and biometric streams will need to be accurately managed, secured, and delivered.

Although wearables will involve an element of big data, only the largest enterprises will produce enough data to face the associated data challenges. In the case of thousands of factory workers equipped with wearables, there would be significant need for advanced data analytics and big data integration. For straightforward projects such as streaming video wearables on an HVAC technician's hat, the system would be less complex.

Software applications for wearables will be needed for the back-end administrators as well as front-end users. Managers and supervisors will need dashboards for analysis, while employees will require bite-sized portions of information that can be seen at a glance.

When it comes to biometric tracking, the factory manager will not need to view every heartbeat. Displaying all of that content will disrupt processes, given that users would waste time searching through countless feeds. The manager only needs to be alerted when there are abnormal spikes in blood pressure, heartbeat, or audio feeds.

If an accident occurs there will assuredly be verbal cues from workers. But such scenarios can also trigger alerts that automatically go to the manager through an app on a wearable device. Considering that 12 people die every day while working in the United States, such analytics software would be ideal for dangerous occupations.

If businesses hope to improve productivity with wearable devices, IT managers should keep a firm eye on the software that will drive real value.

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Himanshu Sareen is responsible for the strategic development of Icreon Tech, which specializes in IT consulting, application development for the web and mobile, digital marketing, custom software development, and design and usability. Sareen founded Icreon in 2000 ... View Full Bio

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Himanshu Sareen
IW Pick
Himanshu Sareen,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/19/2014 | 9:54:31 AM
Re: Apple
I definitely agree Michael. If Apple produces a wearable that goes deep in terms of biometrics and health information, it could be a substantial disruptor to everything from annual health check ups to security and safety in the workplace. 

And the potential for applications are substantial in both the enterprise and consumer space. Right now the most popular wearable is the FitBit, and the device has also been used as a part of the corporate wellness programs in a number of Fortuner 500 companies. 

Thanks for reading!
Michael Endler
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
2/18/2014 | 10:08:19 PM
Re: Apple
If half the tech Apple is allegedly investigating ends up in the final product, I think it will be a disruptive device-- and definitely one driven by Apple's expertise with software, ecosystem integration, and device-appropriate interfaces.

I strongly suspect the iWatch (or whatever) will have the typical fitness bracelet stuff-- pedometer, calorie counter, something to measure sleep quality, etc. But if the company goes beyond that (measuring oxygen in the blood, measuring blood pressure and skin temperature, measuring glucose levels, even predicting hear attacks if last weekend's SF Chronicle report is to be believed), we're into new territory. I've heard a few high-ranking Cisco execs argue (in the context of their Internet of Everything campaign) that wearable devices embedded with medical sensors will be one major component in the path to better disease detection, more physically active citizens, and ultimately more and more people living a century or more. I don't know how quickly fantastic increases in longevity will come on board, but I do believe wearable devices could meaningful benefit the user's health. Based on reports, Apple's iWatch could be the first one to seriously test this belief.
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
2/18/2014 | 6:26:34 PM
Re: Apple
There's been some recent speculation that Apple is interest in medical applications for wearable devices. I think that makes a lot of sense. Health is the killer app for wearables. It's something people actually care about and will pay for. As much as I find Google Now interesting, I haven't found it truly useful.
User Rank: Ninja
2/18/2014 | 4:25:45 PM
Software is one of the reasons why although it may not make sense at first blush apple would get into smartwatches, it will anyways. 

Apple has been successful in courting developers to make mobible apps. The supposed challenges for building on mobile fell away because of the incentives that Apple offered for those who could be successful in the App Store. That value will also be available when Apple releases wearables. 
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