Do you own a pair of Google Glasses or use a Pebble smartwatch? If so, you’re one of a growing group of consumers interested in wearable technology, which we define as always on, connected computing displays that are worn on the body for easy, hands-free access to show contextually relevant information.
But despite this public interest, Accenture Technology Labs believes enterprises will take the lead on using wearables in the workplace—and begin deploying as soon as the Fall of 2014. Why? Wearables offer numerous business cases with substantial cost savings by boosting “deskless” employee efficiency, enabling over-the-shoulder video collaboration, accelerating decision making and more.
Based on benefits like these, wearable technologies are also set to disrupt every industry and change how certain employees perform their jobs. Imagine retail salespeople accessing information about customers while guiding them to specific products, manufacturing technicians reviewing real-time machine information while walking the shop floor, warehouse staff keeping hands free while inventorying and sorting packages, and fire chiefs guiding fire fighters to a safe evacuation route. This could be the future of work.
To get started with wearables, enterprises need to:
Understand the pros and cons of wearables in the market, including monocular and immersive smartglasses and wrist-worn displays. The choice depends on the use case; it’s also critical to select a provider that can manufacture and support units over the long haul and at scale.
Recognize and proactively address the tradeoffs that come with using wearables in the workplace, such as screen real estate, Wi-Fi access and battery life.
Plan for several considerations, including how to design the user interface and experience, how to integrate this new type of mobile device into the IT infrastructure, and how to address privacy and data security concerns.
Accenture is actively working with clients to develop wearables strategies, determine use cases and validate them through pilot programs. For instance, we recently helped Philips demonstrate how Google Glass can be used in the operating room. We also worked with a global oil and gas company to identify and explore use cases with cost savings, improved safety and work efficiency that could bring as much as $200 million in benefits.
Ready to learn more? For our full perspective on wearables, see “Putting Wearable Displays to Work in the Enterprise.” You can also sign up for our Wearable Technologies workshop, which is customizable by industry, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org