Wearing IT: Trends expanding the wearable web

This report focuses on consumer market wearable web devices and their relevance for organisations. These wearables (e.g. smartwatches such as the Pebble and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, head mounted displays such as Google Glass and Oculus Rift, activity trackers such as Nike+ and FitBit) accelerate access to information, and they increase the types of information made practical to a variety of industries. They are now entering the consumer market more aggressively while creating new opportunities and challenges for almost every sector within the next 10 years.

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Consumer wearables will evolve the current mobile industry to integrate information technologies deeper into personal lives and improve organisational operations. Research has shown how wearables similar to Google Glass, Samsung Gear, and NeuroSky Mindwave can significantly improve productivity and even raise employee job satisfaction (Goldsmiths). As the consumer market for wearables become more established, organisations will benefit from reduced costs for development and increased employee engagement for implementing related technologies.

The 45 page report reviews a broad range of mainstream wearables and their potential applications for organisations in order to simplify research for decision makers. The report highlights the trends and technologies driving this next wave of wearable technologies with a focus on their benefits.

The authors identify seven primary functions of wearables—Mobile: One Among Many, Measuring Myself, Immersive Experiences, Spying on Myself, Thinking Outside the Brain, Wearing My Password, Feeling the Data. Each of these functions offers some combination of seven key benefits for both individuals and organisations—Immediacy, Consistency, Freedom, Awareness, Security, Memory, and Optimization.

The authors also explore some of the implications wearables pose for specific industries:

  • Medical and caregiving
  • Security and defense
  • Training and simulation
  • Transport and logistics
  • Banking and finance
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Travel and Tourism

Then, the authors provide a framework for decision makers to base a cost/ benefit analysis of wearable implementation.

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