The Bring Your Own Wearables (BYOW) period of the wearable computing evolution may end up being only a bump in the road, as developers and vendors set their sights on purpose-built wearable computers for a variety of workplaces and functions.
OnBeep this week announced funding for its workplace wearable communication device, intended to help coworkers and colleagues more easily collaborate on projects like staging events. The Bluetooth devices will be stylish enough for the discerning employee, the firm asserts.
For certain workplace environments, the existing uniform and/or equipment won’t have to change much to absorb added digital features, which should ease the path to acceptance. XOEye Technologies’ XOne eyewear device, for example, is “a ruggedized, ANSI-certified device … something that is integrated into what is already part of an employee’s uniform in an industrial environment,” XOEye Technologies Anthony Blanco explained to me earlier this year. Benefits of replacing the usual safety glasses and other handheld equipment with something like the XOne span everything from reducing back injuries by creating a hands-free scanning capability, to a long list of real-time audio, video and telepresence features.
Thalmic Labs’ Myo armband device is conducive to particularly dirty or noisy workplaces, the firm says, as it translates arm and hand gestures, removing the need for speaking or manipulating controls by touching them. The company is now pursuing partnerships with Google Glass, Epson Moverio and Recon Instruments, to create apps to link its armband device with the smart glass devices of the three partners.
And spanning the two worlds of consumer wearables that track a few vital statistics and workplace wearables that track a much longer list of stats are a growing group of professional athletes. CNBC says thousands of sports teams around the world are analyzing real-time data from players during practices and games. Australian device maker Catapult is noted as a standout vendor in this market, and it counts Mark Cuban as an investor.
Kachina Shaw is managing editor for IT Business Edge and has been writing and editing about IT and the business for 15 years. She writes about IT careers, management, technology trends and managing risk. Follow Kachina on Twitter @Kachina and on Google+