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4 Ways Wearable Technology May Soon Benefit Your Business

Feb17
The official list of apps now available for the life-capturing, data-aware Google Glass headset is contained inside the custom My Glass app that early owners of the $1,500 device can access.

There are unofficial lists, but what you’ll find at either location are a lot of recreation tools, quite a few photo tricks, and more than a few Facebook hook-ups.

The closest the current Google Glass setup gets to business, in fact, is in the range-finding golf apps. But that’s going to change – with Glass, with wearable fitness monitors, with smartwatches like the Pebble, and all kinds of wearable technology.

Unlike cellphones, which had an obvious and immediate business use for early adopters (calling the boss and telling them how the sales meeting went), a lot of the Bluetooth-connected wearable technology doesn’t have a large infrastructure to plug into. And the devices are so close to your personal life that you don’t necessarily want your company and your supervisors to connect to them.

But beyond dictating an email or text message, or snapping a photo to use in a presentation, wearable technology will soon offer companies the opportunity to access, share and manage the data they need. Here are four ways you may see this happening in your office soon.

Automatic mileage tracking

My tax accountant still gives me a paper notebook every year to track my business-related mileage. This feels ridiculous in an age where Google can give turn-by-turn directions to a location I say out loud. The same goes for receipts for planes, trains and taxis. An app or device that knows you’re traveling for business, can track your stays and expenditures, and can turn it all into an invoice-ready data set would be welcome in today’s always-on business world. Car data tools like Automatic and Dash are a start, but it’s not just car data we need, but car data mingling with schedule and task data.

Better business cards

Why do people still trade business cards? Because you know a business card is going to work when you pull it out and hand it to someone. Phone-to-phone bumping relies on having the right app downloaded, on two sets of compatible phones, often having the app open and hoping nothing goes haywire. The closest thing to smooth contact and automatic data trading we’ve seen is Bump, and wouldn’t you know, Google went and bought them in September 2013. It is, obviously, a need that people are thinking about. An easier, less physical way of trading business cards seems like a logical next step.

Biometric data

Your hip hurts you something fierce when running, but only on certain runs. Likewise, you know there’s something off about your diet on certain days that leaves you feeling tired. When you have access to running suits that watch your running (see slide #12), contacts with sensors that monitor glucose levels, socks and straps that monitor posture and stance (slide #20), you will no longer feel like you’re trying to convince a mechanic that, yes, it actually does make this sound, just not right now. And businesses will be quick to jump into the biometric data market – assuming they can convince consumers of their good intent.

On-the-fly data for sales

That car you’re looking at, can it read out the text messages you receive on your iPhone while driving? This CRM software is here: does it have any special functions for nonprofits tracking volunteers and race pledges? Right now, the salesperson you’re speaking with might politely say “I don’t know, but I’ll find out for you.” But if they’re using Glass or another wearable technology tool to give them the information they need instantly, they can access a database of frequently asked questions or one of their coworkers, without having to leave the customer and break up the moment when they are most interested in buying.

Giving employees a new tool that can bring in extra revenue? That’s something which will sell one or two businesses, I would think.

Of course, predicting the future is hard. What about you? What are your predictions for the future of wearable technology in business?