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).










Saturday Mar 01, 2014

OAUX Expo: Oracle & AMIS bring new Applications Cloud user experiences to Europe on March 18th

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

Lucas Jellema
Photo by Martin Taylor, Oracle Applications User Experience
Lucas Jellema, Chief Technology Officer of Oracle partner AMIS Services BV, gets a look at new Oracle user experiences during a demo with Lulit Bezuayahu, of Oracle, at an OAUX Expo at OpenWorld 2013. The expo was his source of inspiration for an expo in The Netherlands in March 2014.

Lucas Jellema, Chief Technology Officer of Oracle partner AMIS Services BV, first saw the Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) Expo at OpenWorld in September 2013 in San Francisco.

“The expo further enforced the message - simplicity, mobility, extensibility - and what that boils down to in terms of actual user interfaces,” Jellema said after the expo. “It also strengthened my confidence in what the UX team is doing. It helps me believe that Oracle actually can be a leader in UX in the enterprise space.”  He said he recognized the excitement and possibilities for inspiration for Oracle customers and asked if the UX team could bring the same experience to Europe in partnership with AMIS.

Join us on March 18 at the AMIS offices in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The Oracle Applications User Experience team will be showcasing the latest thinking in Oracle’s user experiences from noon to 8pm,  along with talks by speakers including Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), Vice President, Applications User Experiences; Sten Vesterli  (@techthatfits), Senior Principal Consultant, Scott / Tiger; Lonneke Dikmans, (@lonnekedikmans), Managing Parter, Vennster; and, of course, Lucas Jellema (@lucasjellema).

The event will be open to the public, including students, customers, and partners.  Registration is necessary to make sure we can accommodate everyone.    

Attendees can expect to see the latest in Oracle’s thinking on Oracle Applications Cloud user experiences, meet the creative AppsLab development team (@theappslab) try out Oracle’s eye-tracking usability research tool, and participate in talks ranging from wearable technology (@ultan) to Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) to Oracle Apex by a slate of Oracle and AMIS experts.  There even may be a Tesla user experience on display.

By special request of the AMIS team, Oracle will also host a Secret Chamber that requires customers to be under non-disclosure. Behind these doors, customers will be able to see Oracle’s applications cloud user experience roadmap.

OAUX Expo sign
Photo by Misha Vaughan

We hope to see you there! Please remember to register in advance to ensure your access!
More information is available on the Usable Apps web site.



Thursday Feb 20, 2014

New Oracle developers get a taste of Raspberry Pi

By Kathy Miedema, Oracle Applications User Experience

There is a team within the Oracle Applications User Experience (UX) group that basically plays with interesting technology. We call them the AppsLab (@theappslab). That technology may include fuzzy ears  (@ultan) that interact with your brain waves, robot arms, or Google Glass.

Recently, it included Raspberry Pi. And a day of hacking.

My team -- the Communications & Outreach arm of the Applications UX group -- sometimes works closely with this team. My boss has her own set of fuzzy ears. I’ve tried out the robot arms (I totally suck at moving them). And recently, I was introduced to Raspberry Pi.

Now, I’m a word person – if this small computer had been named anything else, my eyes might have glazed over. But the chance to tell folks about the creative ways that Oracle investigates and explores technology that can evolve the Oracle user experience … well, I’m much better at doing that. Especially if I’ve got a visual place from which to start the story.

Raspberry Pi
Raspberry Pi in use during the Oracle Apps UX hackday
Photos by Rob Hernandez

Raspberry Pi, above, is actually an inexpensive computer that was originally made for kids. It was intended to give kids a device that would help them learn how to program computers. (Neat story there from the U.K. creators.)

Noel Portugal (@noelportugal), the developer who led the January training and hackday, said the credit-card-sized computer can do anything that a Linux computer can do. It’s easy to hook up and, because it costs about $35, easy to replace. So it’s a perfect starting point for kids, and it has an Oracle connection: Oracle’s Java evangelists worked with the Raspberry Pi creators directly to make sure Java runs natively on the device.


Noel’s one-day event included about 15 developers who also work for the Oracle Applications User Experience team. Many were from Oracle’s Mexico Development Center; others came from the Denver area or the Northwest. AppsLab talking head Jake Kuramoto said the idea was to provide a shortcut to the technology and tap into Noel’s experience with it, then get everyone up and running on it. The day was a way to investigate something new in a collaborative session.

Noel Portugal
Noel Portugal, center, hands out mini computers during the Raspberry Pi hackathon.

This hackathon took place at Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, inside the Oracle usability labs. By the end of the day, I was hearing random, sometimes crazy noises as network hook-ups took hold and programming began.

Our developers were using the Raspberry Pi with their laptops and smart phones to create sounds, issue commands, and send signals through various devices. Noel said the maker community uses Raspberry Pi to control robotics, control a server, switch lights and off, and connect sensors, among other things.

Here’s a look at our developers at work.

Fernando
Fernando Jimenez shows off his button thing that was hooked up to Raspberry Pi and now plays Pandora.

Sarahi Mireles
Sarahi Mireles (@sarahimireles), center, makes something happen on Twitter with Raspberry Pi, and all the guys cheer.

Luis Galeana
I don’t know what developer Luis Galeana is doing, but you can tell it’s a big deal. Notice that he had to fuel up with a Snickers midway through.

OK, so some of this stuff was over my head. But it was fun to watch really focused, talented people do something they thought was fun. The creative bursts that come through while investigating and exploring are motivational. Technology, in any form, is fascinating. When applied to everyday objects in ways that evolve the user experience – it’s like watching science fiction unfold. But on the Oracle Applications User Experience team, it’s real.

The Applications UX team’s mission is to design and build “cool stuff,” as Jake puts it. Team members look at all kinds of technologies, because we know through research that this is what our users are also doing.

Stay tuned to VoX to learn more about the new, interesting, and creative ways we are evolving the user experience of enterprise software with similar methods of exploration. Be the first to see what’s coming!

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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