By Allie Philpin
A couple of weeks ago, Virgin Atlantic announced their trial of wearable technology at London Heathrow airport. Virgin staff in the Upper Class Wing will be trialling passenger-facing wearable technology using Google Glass and Sony Smart watches, enabling them to provide a high class, high tech, personalised passenger experience. Using this innovative technology, staff will be able to provide the latest information on flight updates and destinations, and have individual passenger’s flight information as the passenger is arriving, enabling them to personally welcome each passenger. We await Virgin’s report on their trial’s findings…
In the meantime, and as cloud computing is no longer a ‘foreign’ technology to many organisations, wearable tools are now emerging as the latest technological ‘gadgetry’ that could help enterprises looking to fully leverage cloud computing. An extension of mobile devices, and with the advent of the Internet of Things, consumers are looking to access data from anywhere – and cloud providers want to deliver the new wearable tools.
Since wearable technology entered the marketplace – the digital wristwatch – it has been promoted as a personal device. However, with the introduction of Google Glass and Virgin’s announcement, there is definitely a market for this technology to be a useful business tool. For example, hospital staff could use wearable technology to collect patient health information which is stored in the cloud, and can be accessed by users.
For businesses, wearable technology takes on two forms – smart watches and smart glasses.
Smart watches are the newest to the marketplace when it comes to wearable cloud computing. Sony has developed the technology with the aim to support the huge BYOD market incorporating mobile devices – smartphones, tablets, etc. Users can wear a smart watch and are alerted when emails and messages are received, which can then be reviewed on their smartphones. Whether demand grows remains to be seen, but it can’t be denied that there is certainly potential for businesses that rely on their mobile and hands-on workforce.
Smart glasses are probably the most well-known, probably because they are marketed by Google Glass! Although Google has mainly championed this technology to the consumer, there are definitely benefits to business organisations and Virgin seems to be leading the way! In some industries, this technology delivering real-time information via a pair of smart glasses could actually become a key benefit to staff, i.e. medical staff, who would be able to access patient information quickly.
Fiberlink, a cloud-based mobility management provider, has already entered the smart glasses industry. Using Google’s Glass Mirror API, Fiberlink has been able to add Glass-enabled functionality to their MaaS360 platform, and allows users access information via Google Glass.
When it comes to security of data, the concerns surrounding BYOD and cloud computing are likely to rise to the surface. The answer is that IT managers need to update their BYOD policies to incorporate wearable devices; that’ if organisations are prepared to capitalise on this technology’s potential opportunities for their business! What is clearly apparent is that there is a strong case for wearable technology for enterprise businesses.