In working on a slideshow for IT Business Edge about the variety of wearable computing products hitting the market, it was apparent that, no matter which products end up the big sellers, this group of devices will alter the workplace, and soon. We should see significant changes in 2014, but what might they look like?
Google Glass, though still reserved for the inside techie set, is already taking criticism for not being fashionable enough. The fit and function are okay, according to IT Pro Portal, but Google Glass just isn’t “cool.” Users find the glasses socially awkward, and that’s putting it nicely. You know it’s bad when techies, many of whom are used to being socially awkward at least some of the time, are hung up on this complaint. Perhaps Google Glass won’t be the workplace game-changer. Mat Honan’s piece on his year as a “Glasshole” delves into the reactions, including anger, that people have to the device. This is not a reaction we generally want to create at work.
In a piece on business trends at CES 2014, ZDNet’s Jason Hiner says Google Glass and Apple’s rumored iWatch will continue to get lots of attention, but other wearables, “primarily smartphone accessories,” will emerge as leaders in business uses. Perhaps if they actually exist, and take notes on Google Glass’ missteps, they’ll take off in the marketplace. One to watch may be whatever comes out of Microsoft’s wearables research and development, said to be headed by one of the “fathers of Kinect,” Alex Kipman. Will we see wearable Windows in 2014?
Intrinsic Technology CTO Steve Browell, in a predictions piece at Computerweekly.com, says that Bring Your Own Wearables (BYOW) will be big in 2014. Many of these wearables will be those focused on health and well being. As employees bring their devices into the workplace, “Adoption will likely increase as organisations realise the staff engagement benefits attached to these devices.” That sounds like a very positive change.