Technology and Wearables Will Change How We Do Things
From 3-D printers and Google Glass to air-touch technology and nanotechnology, we have seen rapidly accelerating changes and emergence of technological innovations that were once thought to be science fiction and perhaps not within the realm of our reality. In fact, the very science fiction that I grew up watching on TV and in the movies, is practically the very technology that I live with and help others leverage today. And to be sure, the pace of such innovation is only increasing. Over the course of the past 12–24 months, we’ve seen the beginnings of business transformation based on a digital model. Organizations looking to reimagine themselves in a technology-driven world have set forth on their journey to becoming digital businesses. Many organizations have been experimenting, while others are making larger investments. But all are counting on technology to fuel their next waves of growth. Enterprises are embracing technology in the way they conduct their business and also as a powerful catalyst to create something new — new markets, new products, and new areas of growth and revenues.
The physical world is coming online as objects, devices, and machines acquire more digital intelligence. What’s emerging is more than just an “Internet of Things”; it’s a new layer of connected intelligence that augments the actions of individuals, automates processes, and incorporates digitally empowered machines into our lives, increasing our insight into and control over the tangible world.
Looking ahead, specifically within mobility, the next “big thing” for many organizations revolves around a noted shift beyond ‘just’ mobile applications. Smartphones have turned consumers and professionals alike into digitally augmented versions of themselves — able to quantify actions throughout the day and access, create, and share an astonishing array of pertinent information that can enable faster, better decisions. Companies are beginning to embrace tomorrow’s technology, specifically in the areas of non-traditional wearable technology, augmented reality and voice recognition. Each of these three areas will undoubtedly change the way we work, the way we live and the way we play, in very specific ways:
Non-Traditional Wearable Technologies
Wearable technology in the form of clothing itself has already been designed by Under Armour for health and sports. With embedded sensors that are woven into the fabric and metal, essentially, the technology is the shirt itself. This type of forward-thinking technology represents a big shift from what we now know as “traditional” wearables like watches, bands and glasses as the “what if you could” scenarios are boundless.
When Under Armour teamed up with Zephyr Technology, they created a groundbreaking, sensor-equipped compression shirt that has the capability to measure an athlete’s performance, including heart rate, body position and lung capacity. Looking ahead, the data that is captured from these sensors have a number of capabilities. For example, coaches and trainers can customize workouts without risking injury to the athletes, and audience engagement can be brought to a whole new level by broadcasting an athlete’s position to the audience. And the possibilities outside of professional sports are also endless – like tracking the every day person’s biometrics and how much energy a person is using.
Augmented reality continues to make in-roads in a number of industries, changing how business is done and empowering both workers and users with nearly infinite amounts of knowledge, particularly in travel, retail, banking/finance and utilities. For example, Marriot Hotels incorporated augmented reality in their print advertisements that were “re-imagining the future of travel” as part of its Travel Brilliantly campaign. People simply scanned the advertisement with the Blipper app, and an augmented reality feature would bring the print advertisement to life with a video describing the hotel’s latest innovations.
In the travel industry, augmented reality has a number of other possibilities, like GPS-enabled maps with augmented reality camera views of global destinations, walking tours of world-renowned sites, location-based language guides, and discovering hotel deals around the individual user’s location.
The retail sector has also embraced augmented reality, which is changing how brands interact with their customers by bridging the online and offline experience. For example, DeBeers has an augmented reality tool that enables shoppers to virtually try on jewelry, and SayDuck lets customers try products such as furniture they want in their home before actually buying anything.
In the banking/finance industry, imagine if a credit card issuer provided an augmented reality app that highlighted merchants that offered special deals or offers for privileged cardholders. As cardholders hold up their phones while walking about town, they could instantly know the offers being given by merchants, adding great value to the card they carry in their wallets.
For the utility sector, augmented reality will play an important role as its workforce ages out and companies need to transfer valuable institutional knowledge to a new and younger workforce. How, you may ask, is this possible?
Let’s take for example the utility field service worker. With augmented reality, these individuals can gain a better understanding of the infrastructure and how to service it. Augmented reality can provide the necessary, detailed knowledge and instructions to assemble and switch equipment, guiding users through the repairs, maintenance and overall servicing of infrastructure without needing to have the institutional knowledge that typically comes with years of hands-on experience. For an industry struggling with attrition and loss of that field know-how and experience, augmented reality based solutions such as this may just be the answer.
Today, voice printing or authentication is being used by banks, including U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and Barclays, in the very early trial phases. Simply put, a customer’s voice is meticulously analyzed, like a fingerprint so that an individual’s unique voice is recognized. In this sense, a person can simply call in to their bank from their mobile phone in order to make payments or transfer funds between accounts, by simply stating their desires verbally. In the future, passwords will become a thing of the past.
Non-traditional wearable technologies, augmented reality and voice
printing – Brillio is staying ahead of these and other emerging technologies to understand how they can be leveraged by our clients for business benefit. We have a dedicated team of professionals who focus on research and development of these cutting-edge solutions. We analyze and ask the hard questions to determine how these technologies can impact our clients’ businesses and business processes going forward to bring efficiencies and innovation to them. We readily understand the bleeding edge nature of these groundbreaking technologies but encourage our clients to test the waters to identify appropriate use cases and leverage such innovations so that they, too, can stay ahead of their competitors.
~Written by Jeff Wallace
Head of Mobility Practice at Brillio