Mobile // Mobile Devices
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1/28/2014
11:00 AM
J.P. Gownder
J.P. Gownder
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7 Ways Wearables Will Go To Work

Smartwatches, smartglasses, smart ID badges, and activity trackers will all find a home in the enterprise and change how we do our jobs.

3. Field service workers will become more productive.
Head-mounted cameras like Vidcie by Looxcie or cameras embedded into smartglasses solve problems specific to technical field work. Real-time video-based collaboration means that a field worker can solicit and receive coaching from peers via live videoconferencing to help fix the problem without the need for repeat visits to a site. For instance, when a cable technician visits a home to fix a broken Internet line, he’s more likely to be able to fix it on the spot rather than making the homeowner schedule a second visit. The cable company enjoys more productive technicians and customers don’t have to deal with irksome scheduling.

4. Wearables will revolutionize warehousing and logistics.
Hands-free technologies particularly benefit employees working in warehouses or in logistics positions. Smartglasses allow them to use their hands to lift boxes and packages while gaining access to location data such as where to place the box within a large warehouse, or navigation data for delivering a package.

5. Management will employ wearables to keep tabs on employee collaboration.
Some might find this a bit "Big Brother," but wearables can also be used by corporate management. Sociometric Solutions provides smart ID badges with a twist — they track employees' locations within the office and use the data to determine levels of collaboration with peers. An employee can log into a system to learn that he needs to increase his collaboration to hit benchmarks of other employees in roles similar to his. Management can see only aggregate patterns – looking at the data by role, for example, to see what the average data for a salesperson looks like – but can use information and insights from those patterns to change policies such as introducing more training, reorganizing offices to encourage collaboration, or introducing collaboration technologies into the workplace.

6. Brands will give wearables to their customers.
Disney offers MagicBand wearables to its resort guests. The wrist devices authenticate visitors for entry into rides, hotels, and restaurants — even acting as a payment agent. The result for customers? Shorter lines and wait times, and a wallet-free visit to the park.

7. Employees will bring their own wearable devices to work.
While company-purchased devices will play an important role in many of the scenarios mentioned above, the power of bring your own device (BYOD) hasn't waned. As consumers discover the value of wearables, technology managers can expect to see employees bringing smartwatches, smartglasses, and other wearables into the workplace. The good news? For some of these wearables, existing practices for smartphones and tablets (like the use of mobile device management services) can be adjusted to accommodate new wearable devices.

J.P. Gownder is a VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Follow him on Twitter: @jgownder and read his blog.

IT is turbocharging BYOD, but mobile security practices lag behind the growing risk. Also in the Mobile Security issue of InformationWeek: These seven factors are shaping the future of identity as we transition to a digital world. (Free registration required.)

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SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
1/30/2014 | 9:04:54 AM
Where I would use wearables
"4. Wearables will revolutionize warehousing and logistics.
Hands-free technologies particularly benefit employees working in warehouses or in logistics positions. Smartglasses allow them to use their hands to lift boxes and packages while gaining access to location data such as where to place the box within a large warehouse, or navigation data for delivering a package."

 

This is something I've been thinking about a lot over the past couple of years.  I know that if I suggested a Google glass like wearable for some warehouse employees there would be talks of spying and micro managing them but if it could be activated with simple voice commands or eye movements this could help greatly for order fulfillment, scanning and taking inventory. It would also cut down on broken hardware since things like barcode scanners get worked hard, banged around and left in odd places.  The glasses would be much less likely to die due to a fall and wouldn't be likely to be placed on the back of a fork truck. 
Susan Fourtané
IW Pick
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
1/30/2014 | 4:13:07 AM
Re: Really?
GAProgrammer, 

"Every article written about wearables (the latest fodder for tech journalists) is about two things - making people lazy and keeping them from doing any thinking, much less critical thinking OR about tracking so much metadata about individuals that it makes Big Brother look like a an idiot."

Are you sure you are blaming the right people for making people lazy and keeping them for doing their own thinking? This article is only reporting on what is already in use, or the wearables that could be in use at some point. 

Reporting about something doesn't mean telling people to be lazy, or keeping them from doing critical thinking. That depends solely on people. You don't have to do, or wear everything other people write about, do you? You can use your rational thinking to know what is good for, or what is not. 

I don't think tech journalists are the people to blame here. 

-Susan
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
1/29/2014 | 9:20:42 AM
Re: The problem with wearables
On the flip side, look at the Go-Pro crowd and you can see a motivation for where people are willing to wear tech to capture what's important to them. So I think the trick for employers is, if it helps the employee, give them the opportunity to experiment w/out a lot of strings attached.  If it only helps the employer, the motivation wont' be there.

 
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
1/29/2014 | 7:13:34 AM
Re: The problem with wearables
I'd get onboard with that philosophy. I'd find it very difficult to accept a position at any company that wanted to keep so close an eye on me - it doesn't exactly inspire confidence. 
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
1/28/2014 | 10:31:09 PM
Re: The problem with wearables
I agree with Tom Claburn...and if I had the sense my employer was tracking my every move, I'd be pretty hesitant about working there.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
1/28/2014 | 4:50:24 PM
The problem with wearables
The problem with wearables is that the data seems to be intended to benefit the service provider rather than the wearer. Take location data. I generally know where I am. And when that's the case, location data is mainly meaningful for someone else. That isn't really a compelling value proposition.
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
1/28/2014 | 1:27:19 PM
Really?
"Smartglasses allow them to use their hands to lift boxes and packages while gaining access to location data such as where to place the box within a large warehouse, or navigation data for delivering a package."

Really?

Warehouses are already organized and people know where they are putting a package. They can already navigate large warehouses because of - wait for it! - signs, labels, maps and training. You know, using their brains?!

Every article written about wearables (the latest fodder for tech journalists) is about two things - making people lazy and keeping them from doing any thinking, much less critical thinking OR about tracking so much metadata about individuals that it makes Big Brother look like a an idiot.

This is just another article hyping ideas, 90% of which will never happen due to human nature or legislation. I agree we have to dream and think out of the box, but ideas have to be grounded in reality or, like most tech trends, they never reach the goals set out by the dreamers.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
1/28/2014 | 12:17:04 PM
Re: Wearables -- Not All Rosy
There's certainly a lot of potential for abuse with wearables, just like there has been with smartphones though - I wonder whether the average consumer would consider the recent privacy invasion revelations as overshadowing the benefits of increased connectivity?
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
1/28/2014 | 11:49:54 AM
Wearables -- Not All Rosy
J.P. presents many of the potential upsides of wearbles, but it's not all rosy. Track my footsteps around an office to measure collaboration? Good leaders model and inpsire collaboration.

Re the Disney item: Chris Murphy and I both wrote last year about the potential downsides of Disney's Magic Band plans. Personally, I expect they will use this to further segment guests' experiences based on how much you pay.
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