You are here

Wearable Tech: He who wears, wins - Part 2

Paul Trueman, digital copywriter at Bray Leino, talked in his last blog about why wearables will potentially have a much greater impact on B2B than B2C; why the smart money is on this tech revolutionising the warehouse rather than the Apple Store.

Watching (no pun intended) your email ping up on your wrist is one thing. The real value of wearables will be in the myriad ways it gives business to re-engineer the way they work.

In this piece we’re looking at the kind of wearables this revolution will focus on and the industries they’ll disrupt.

The wearable formats that will take off first

For your eyes only 
In years to come will the much-maligned Google Glass be seen as pioneering or pie in the sky? The former, if predictions from the industry are to be believed.

Custom lenses, frames and visors that show their users video, audio and data, give huge scope for innovation. Wearing them, their users can view data, images and content via two-way communication, sending back images and video to HQ or other colleagues.

Ones to watch 
Whether it’s a bracelet of a watch that will be used for displaying and tracking data, this format works on two levels. First as a way to collect huge amounts of data: vital signs, geographic location and physical gestures. Secondly as a broadcast device that works through the small screen on the user’s wrist, screening real-time video, data and consumable content.

Get Smart
Clothing will be a huge part of the wearables revolution, with work clothes able to provide employers with rich, live performance data. Who is your best performer out on the factory floor? Find out in real-time, with data delivered straight to your device.

What kind of industries will be affected?
There are potentially limitless applications for wearable tech, but here are a few of the kind of sectors we think will be (and in some cases already are) early adopters.

Security and safety 

Being able to send rescue teams 3D maps of buildings they’re about to enter, with two-way audio and video via eyewear and real-time data from the protective suits could transform the success rate of emergency workers. Think Thunderbirds.

There are obviously also incredible applications for the armed forces in battlefield situations, but it won’t just be for emergency or military scenarios either. Checking the safety of large-scale industrial plant is obviously going to be a huge market - oil rigs, mining, factory floors, all can be maintained more easily, more safely and more cost-effectively through giving teams wearables.

There are two different aspects to this. Firstly the ability to share live health data with medical providers, whether through skin patches or wearable tech will mean that your health can be monitored much more easily and illness prevented before it happens.

Secondly, remote assessment and diagnosis will be possible for the patients of medical workers in remote locations, using wearable glasses. See the patient means treat the patient.

The business that can inspect claims remotely will be ahead of the game. If your claims team are fitted with wearable tech it means images, documents and consent can all be processed in real time. This speed of turnaround for live processing of claims and inspecting claims on everything from vehicles to houses will become a real differentiator in the market.

Japan Airlines has been amongst several companies using smart watches, glasses and headsets to trial new processes for everything from check-in and aircraft maintenance. You don’t need to stop and refer to operations manuals or inventory when that data is literally appearing before your eyes. 

Most recently airlines have discussed consumer-facing plans for using ibeacons to track the position of their passengers in the terminal, Google Glasses for customer service, and flight information to customer’s smart watches.

Last year Japan Airlines also gave them to its staff and linked them to iBeacons at each boarding gate. These relay staff positioning information to a specially designed tracking program that reveals the proximity of staff in the area who could serve passengers.

What’s next
In the next five years wearable technologies will evolve from cutting-edge niche to mass-market norm and agencies will have to keep up.

Just as digital teams in agencies now work across multiple platforms to deliver a single brand experience, so we’ll see them prototyping, testing and incorporating wearables into that wider digital mix. We’ve started that work already at Bray Leino and as challenging as it will be, it’s going to be a lot of fun too.

What’s your agency working on right now?