As a technology company, we like to think that we have a pretty good steer on all things technological. Our most senior resident expert (excluding the Managing Director! – Ed) is none other than former SKY and OneSearch Direct tech guru Stuart McWhinnie who serves as Chief Technology Officer at TM Group. Here, he gives the low down on a particularly hot topic this year: wearable technology…
Wearable Tech – the Future?
This Christmas I found a Pebble in my Raspberry Pi. Not the way you thought this blog would start? Roughly translated from ‘tech speak’: I got a Smart watch and a ‘no-frills’ basic computer for Christmas.
While the Raspberry Pi is perhaps the real geeky gift, going back to computing as it was when I was a nipper, the Pebble is something which all of the analysts say is likely to be a major part of tech releases over the coming years.
Wearable Technology, as it’s known, has well and truly arrived and can be seen in as diverse places as the cat walks of Paris to the gadget cupboards of the most avid Trekkie.
So what are these things and what practical use can be made of them in business?
Well, let’s start with the Pebble (pictured below).
Pebble Smartwatch. Image copyright Jan Persiel.
Firstly, it tells the time; not a bad start. It also connects to your smart phone and can tell you who’s calling you when you are in a meeting (and it’s not appropriate to look at your phone as your boss is giving you the benefit of his vast knowledge on everything) as well as reminding you of your next meeting, or the weather in Bognor Regis.
Basically it’s a small computer on your wrist and can do as much or as little as the smarts inside (and the programmers) will allow.
Is it ground-breaking? Probably not yet but expect to see the capabilities of these devices grow exponentially over the next few years – particularly as Apple are about to release their offering in this space.
What else can we wear?
LED Dress. Image copyright Solarbotics.
Wrist bands that tell your smart phone just how lazy you have been today; an LED dress (‘only at weekends, Sir!’); Smart training shoes that report to your phone just how vigorous your run was; smart glasses; and so it goes on.
Right now, the technology is in very early stages, but one can see that many of these things have potential.
If we take the glasses for example – like the smart watch – they can tell you who’s calling and, when linked to your phone, will allow you to answer a call without taking your phone out of your pocket/bag/strange jogger thing that you strap to somewhere on your person.
Google Glass. Image copyright Kārlis Dambrāns.
Sounds OK, but what if it could track where your kids were and display it on the screen? Or put an overlay on a property you were interested in that showed you the price and particulars for the house?
What if it gave you a “heads up” display when you were driving which showed you your speed and where the traffic cameras were or where the accident hot spots were in the area?
Well, all of these things are possible now. There is even an application which can display your records to your doctor (including x-rays and scans) while you are speaking with them.
Other applications, such as facial recognition, video recording and, would you believe it, almost real time language translation (‘Make it so, number one’) are also available and, while Google have now stopped production of this version of their Glass product, it’s only a matter of time before these technologies become as much a part of our everyday life as, say, whisky… or is that just me?
About Stuart McWhinnie
Stuart brings a wealth of experience from his varied career in technology and operations. Having worked for almost 10 years with BSkyB and 8 years with Onesearch Direct, he has most recently worked for Barclays and Eurotax Glass (Glass’s Guide for those who are into cars) as part of a corporate turnaround team looking at efficiency improvement, operations and re-organising their technology function. Stuart is married with two grown up children, likes golf, rugby and is an avid reader.