Sunday Mar 16, 2014

Wearables Design Jam @ Oracle Applications User Experience Labs

By Misha Vaughan (@mishavaughan), Oracle Applications User Experience

The conversation about new technology and what it means for enterprise users keeps moving forward at Oracle. The latest version of that conversation was an inspirational event at Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, California, on Feb. 4: a Wearables Design Jam led by Ultan O’Broin, Director, Oracle Applications User Experiences.

Ultan and Sarahi
Photo by Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience
Ultan O’Broin prepares, with his usual style, alongside Sarahi Mireles, for the wearables design jam

The goal of the event was to discuss wearables in the work world, solve an enterprise problem, and have fun. What was different about this event was that there was no coding required – it was a pen-and-paper, creative project.

Participants came from a variety of Oracle teams to share ideas – and compete - such as User Assistance, JD Edwards, the Apps Lab, Enterprise Performance Management, and the Mexico Development Center UX team.

Ultan kicked off the event with an introduction to wearables by calling them smart personal technology devices, worn or carried all the time. “It's about automating and augmenting activities,” he said. “Automating the things you hate, and augmenting the things you love. Using technologies you already know – cameras, watches – with new capabilities – GPS, optical character recognition to perform tasks hands-free, and see or easily capture information.  For us, these experiences are apps that are integrated with data in the cloud.” 

He discussed several consumer examples including Samsung Galaxy Gear watch, Oakley Airwave, Google Glass, and Fitbit Force.  "Right now, it's consumer driven usage, dominated by health and personal fitness,” Ultan said. “These expectations from the personal world will affect user expectations of the enterprise."  Examples in the enterprise space include the Hitachi business microscope. An example closer to home is the use of the Fitbit at Oracle HCM World. Attendees were given Fitbit wrist bands and encouraged to log their steps against other attendees in a fitness campaign.

Wellness leaderboard
The HCM World Wellness leaderboard counts the steps of attendees.

For the participants of our Wearables Design Jam, the challenge was to design enterprise solutions – their own wearables use cases – working in teams of three and four. With only paper, pencils, and wearables stencils, participants brainstormed ideas for wearables that could be useful in an enterprise context.

Stencil
This is an example of a stencil from the Wearables Design Jam.

Teams presented their designs to judge Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), Vice President, Oracle Applications User Experiences. Ideas ranged from smart employee ID badges to gloves to warehouse technology, to OpenWorld conference technology. The winning team presented a smarter OpenWorld badge that collects, shares, and exchanges contact information with attendees.

The winning team
The winning team: Adam Heller, Principal Usability Engineer; Bo Wang, Senior Interaction Designer; and Gurbinder Bali, Director, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Development.

Ashley said, "The key to wearables is a casual gesture. But you can go even further. Imagine you had warehouse management that took advantage of whoever was nearest, to make it more engaging or using specialists with skills."  He said the winning idea has implicit participation and is immediately available, and it also has immediate analytic capability and integration with Sales Cloud and HCM Cloud.

For more information on wearable computing, check out these related posts:
•    The AppsLab team participates in a recent AT&T developer hackathon in the Wearables track (@appslab).
•    Ultan explores the reactions to Google Glass globally.
•    Marta Rauch takes an awesome ride down Highway 84 through the eyes of Google Glass (@marta).










Thursday Nov 21, 2013

Will You Be Wearing Your Enterprise Application Data?

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

The Oracle Applications User Experience group has begun to explore the role of wearable computing and enterprise use cases, which is part and parcel of our charter to watch for future trends that will matter to our customers’ workforce.  See, for example, some of the recent posts by The AppsLab team and Ultan (@ultan) on wearables.

Heads-Up Displays: Google Glass

Anthony Lai (@anthonyslai), a User Experience Architect at Oracle, has been roaming the halls of Oracle with what are now easily identifiable as Google Glass.  In this post, he talks about his experience using Google Glass and what he has learned about wearing them in an enterprise setting.

Anthony Lai
Anthony Lai
Photo by Misha Vaughan

Q:  Let's start with the basics. What is Google Glass, and what is the vision behind the technology?

A: Glass is a device that is supposed to be non-intrusive, to give you information when you need it.  It is a way for you to quickly know about stuff right away, without even opening up a tablet or device.  It provides notifications to you for things you are interested in.  It provides you with navigation.  You can ask questions in a free-form format.  You can take pictures and do video recording for memories.  Quick snapshots. The photos are nice; they are wide-angle.  

Q: Do people around you find it intrusive at all?  Do they object to the video-recording capacity?

A: If you take a picture, you hear the click sound and there is a flash.  It’s not like you don't know it's happening. That brings in a paradigm about glass.  They position it just above the eye. You need the eye contact to create trust.

Q:  What have you found to be useful for yourself, in terms of work?

The first thing is that I subscribe to things I'm interested in on Twitter.  In Twitter, you can have a lot of people you are following.  You can select which people you want to receive on your Glass.  I put some technology things on there, and Glass would notify me.  I feel like it's really annoying now to go to my phone or my desktop. With Glass, it's just instant. That's key for me.

The other side is in-car navigation.  I was using my phone, but with Glass, I can see straight ahead and get the directions in my ear.  If it is time for you to turn and take actions, it will tell you.  So it's not really distracting you from driving.

Q:  As a developer working for Oracle, what enterprise use cases occur to you?

Take a CRM use case. What does a sales rep need to do when they go into a sales meeting?  What information do they need to know wherever they are?  One example is if there is a sales meeting coming up at 3 p.m., Google Glass can remind you, and then give you quick information, like attendees.  If you want to call an attendee right away, you can.  If you need to make a quick note, if you need to find where the meeting is, how bad traffic is to get there.  

During a meeting, we thought, what if you want to take a picture of the attendees so you don't forget who was at a meeting?  

At the end of the meeting, you may want to debrief.  You go to a coffee shop around the corner, where you can sit and make notes of the meeting with co-workers. You can even run a Google Hangout, or video-conference, with people who are there and not there.

Q: Final thoughts?

It's amazing technology.  I think it is an appropriate technology to move into the future.  I think there are a lot of people right now that are skeptical.  Right now, it is expensive.  Ultimately, the price will go down.  

Wearables: An Executive Perspective

Jeremy Ashley
Jeremy Ashley, Vice President of the Oracle Applications User Experience team, with his Pebble Watch.

"It's not just about Google Glass,” says Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), Vice President of Oracle Applications User Experience. “What we are doing is taking the application of computing power here, and moving away from it being a single device. We are moving to multiple devices that sense the world around you. It's really a matter of what these other devices can provide for you.”

Ashley said users are demanding smaller snippets of more detailed information, like Google Now and Windows tiles. “Instead of providing this large dashboard with this information all over it, you will see little tiles with snippets of information that you can drill on. It's no longer about providing lots of detailed information. It's providing lots of detailed information with context.”

The platforms for information delivery include glasses, watches, and other types of devices. The glasses derive their context from where you are, what you are looking at, and what you are supposed to be doing at that time. They use sight, sound, GPS, motion, direction, gesture and more.

Glasses are piggybacking on a set of interactions that you are already doing, and adding extra information on top of that, as opposed to a computer that you have to walk up to and begin providing context to. Glass augments a lot of your movements to gain input and complete a particular task.

Google Glass is an obvious use case for supply chain, Ashley said, when the user needs a third hand to reference material or communicate with someone about a part or a checklist. It can be recording what you are doing, or provide a channel for another technician to look over your shoulder as you check your work.

More use cases

Wearing Google Glass in meetings might also make sense. The user could be acting as a proxy who is sitting in the room for someone else and providing a feel of the room. 

In the financials spectrum, a user might want to keep information secret as opposed to making information public. Google Glass could be used by a CFO, who receives real-time data as opposed to opening up a laptop in a public place.

“When they say ‘augmentation,’ people think of Borg-like things on your head,” Ashley said. “Instead it’s about taking something that you already have, and just increasing the sensitivity to make it more meaningful or useful.”

As our data moves to the cloud, these kinds of experiences become more possible.

About

Check here for opinions, updates, and events from Oracle's Applications User Experience team: Applications Cloud, E-Business Suite, JD Edwards, Siebel, PeopleSoft, and more.

Misha Vaughan
Misha Vaughan, Director, Applications User Experience
@mishavaughan on Twitter

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