What opportunities do you see for wearable tech in your organization?

What opportunities do you see for wearable tech in your organization?

Man wearing Google Glass
Loïc Le Meur controls Google Glass using the touchpad built into the side of the device. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Recent times have been exciting as the big players jostle for supremacy in the wearable technology market.

Facebook buys into Oculus Rift, Apple reveals its iWatch, Google fends off dire predictions for its Glass, while Microsoft launches its HoloLens.

Much has been talked and blogged about what wearable technologies could do for workplace learning, especially when combined with other technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality.

However my question to you is: what specific opportunities do you see for wearable technologies in your organization?


  1. I could see it as a means of providing more immersive simulation experiences for newer hires or even for clients we serve (job search coaching, interviewing, crisis intervention, etc.). Because we are in a human services business, we are bound by a massive raft of privacy and information collection laws. I would have difficulty seeing a Consultant/Client interaction where we (on the consultant end) were leveraging wearable tech. I keep having visions of Police body cameras and it goes downhill from there.

    • There were cases of police issuing traffic citations to people wearing Glass; I haven’t heard of smart watches being targeted by law enforcement – but the smart watches of today aren’t nearly as smart as those that will be released soon (Apple Watch).

  2. I am as excited as the next person about the coming wave of wearables. Mobile technologies connected me with my data and information, but I get the most value from being connected to my knowledge networks. The right wearables should make that even more convenient. What I am not excited about is paying to experiment with wearables. Google Glass carried a hefty price tag, and I was unsure of its benefits. I appreciated hearing from many others about their experiences, especially potential applications to organizational learning. As for my organization, I am less clear how wearables can be used for business purposes. What I see today is existing mobile tech is used mostly for internal messaging and secondarily for information search. I haven’t seen widespread development of global knowledge networks for business benefit. I can’t wait to see how wearables will support organizational learning.

  3. While the opportunities for wearable tech are more obvious (at least to me) in sectors such as mining and engineering, they are less so in more office-bound sectors such as financial services. Having said that, immersive simulations for new hires or clients is a great idea; I’m imagining an augmented tour of the office, for example.

    Price is certainly a barrier, and also I suggest would be the technicalities of creating learning experiences for these devices. One of my rules of thumb (which I call the Average Joe Imperative) is that if a regular person can’t do it, it’s days are numbered. Sure, anyone can use an iWatch or Google Glass – their respective sales strategies depend on it – but how many of us can create an augmented reality tour of the office?

    • Right, but if the iWatch makes my connection to my knowledge networks that much more seamless, I’m in – but that’s a personal, not corporate, decision.

    • At least in the near term, I think wearables will be extensions of our mobile Internet access devices. They will further personalize our interface with what we do today with mobile; the future, however, is perhaps far more interesting.

  4. Don’t get me wrong, I like gadgets but believe it or not, I’m a laggard – or so I believe. (Yes, the truth comes out). While I do like to tinker with the technology, the tools and the gadgets, like Tom, these to me are mere conduits to the more exciting stuff…the people connections and networks. So while I have the Fitbits, the play station games, the tablets with the apps, the mobile phone (that is literally my WHOLE LIFE) basically, my immense enjoyment is that new connection made with someone who I can share information, share a passion or an interest, make a connection, have a laugh.

    When Google Glass first came out, it piqued my curiosity and I do remember thinking that it would be a superb addition to training (eg. a motor mechanic recording how he repairs motors and the like). I haven’t had the opportunity to use these myself although some years back in 2008, I did have these fantastic glasses that I used to “pretend” I was cycling in Puerto Rico. I would have my bicycle in the lounge room, rig up the glasses to my DVD player, turn on the air fan (for simulated wind), put the glasses on and then get on the bike and ride through the streets. Back then, I didn’t see the application to learning because they were actually ‘static’. That is, the video was on a loop and there was no way of interacting or engaging with it. You can read about it here: http://anchorgirls.blogspot.com.au/2008/11/cycling-in-puerto-rico-last-night.html?q=cycling

    We’ve come a long way since then and now even though these tools can simulate experiences, I think it’s the social aspect that people enjoy. Maybe even the gamification element when there is some level of healthy competition either for yourself or your network. I say, bring it on, give them a go and see what works for you and what doesn’t.

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