Thursday Nov 21, 2013

Dress Code 2.0: Wearables

It used to be that enterprises had this thing called a dress code to "inform" employees about what they could and couldn't wear in work. That's all changed these days, largely.

But now, enterprises need to react to what technology their employees will wear when working. Enterprises are about to take advantage of how the latest trend in technology, "wearables", will transform work and make workers smarter and enable them to complete their tasks more easily.


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/76/Google_Glass_detail.jpg/640px-Google_Glass_detail.jpg

The term "wearables" itself, for me, is too broad. We also have the Quantified Self arrivistes, and talk of "little data" or "the personal API" to contend with, so I'd prefer to think of wearables, in the enterprise context, as another optimized UI, part of an overall user experience.

Wearable technology, this way, might be best analyzed as being for a certain set of users to do certain tasks using certain devices. Using cloud-based data as the source of truth, all can be exchanged between other users and devices, meeting business objectives by solving business problems in an efficient, effective, and satisfying way (that's called "usability", folks).

We are past the fad stage, and real business cases are being identified (as this Wall Street Journal article, "Wearable Gadgets Transform How Companies Do Business" points out). Putting together the opportunities for integration of applications at the consumer level and those business services appearing, we can see an emergent technology and user experience roadmap for workers to be even more productive.

This is a fascinating area, and ironically IMO, again it seems that the enterprise offers more potential for realistic value-adds and faster adoption for wearables than the personal space does. Admittedly, it can be as hard to separate personal and work technologies from each other these days as it is to separate your work clothes from leisure wear, but does that really matter?

Talk of wearables is still dominated by a narrow range of devices, namely Google Glass and various smart watches, and most usage we see and hear about is of a healthcare, sporting, fitness, or just exploratory and fun nature.

However, thinking about wearables from a problem-solving perspective and taking in disparate technologies and use cases from the personal, enterprise, startup and open-source world is a more fruitful exploration, I think. And, we need to think beyond glasses and watches too, and think about what services, APIs, sensors, OpenCV (Open Source Computer Vision), voice, and more, can offer with integration and interconnectivity in the cloud.

The Oracle Applications User Experience team is up on the wearables technology and enterprise potential, so stay tuned. We've already shown off some early use cases in the CRM space for Google Glass, but there is a lot more coming.

We will bring a whole new dimension to the notion of "dress code" in work. Your participation and insight as Oracle customers and partners, and as users of our applications, has an open invitation, as always, to inform our innovations.

Exciting times.

Read more about wearables and the Applications User Experience team on Misha Vaughan's (@mishavaughan) VOX Blog.

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Oracle applications user experience (UX) assistance. UX and development outreach of all sorts to the apps community, helping to design and deliver usable apps.

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Ultan Ó Broin. Director, Global Applications User Experience, Oracle Corporation. On Twitter: @ultan

See my other Oracle blog about product globalization too: Not Lost in Translation

Interests: User experience (UX), user centered design, design patterns, tailoring, BYOD, dev relations, language quality, mobile apps, Oracle FMW and ADF, and a lot more.

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