Wearable Technologies


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This article originally appeared in Training & Development magazine June 2014 Vol 41 No 3, published by the Australian Institute of Training and Development.

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Wearable Technologies

  2. 2. TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT | JUNE 2014 | 13WWW.AITD.COM.AU T he rate of new technology is evolving exponentially. In our workplaces, smart-phones and enterprise social networks are disrupting our traditional ways of working and learning. Meanwhile, new affordances facilitated through social media have fundamentally changed the way we create, organise and learn. But this is just the beginning! Wearable technologies are extending these opportunities in ways that may have only seemed possible in science fiction movies. Wearable technologies - a networked device that can gather and store data to be transferred or synchronised to other devices that are literally wearable - is the newest emerging trend! Think of a smart-watch, a fitness band worn on your wrist or in your running shoes, a chip embedded in clothing, glasses with powerful computing capabilities. All these devices can gather data from your body movements or the surrounding environment and likewise provide you with information on location, in context with simple user-interfaces. Many of us are already using wearable technologies on a daily basis. In Australia, 20 percent of 17-75 year olds will own a wearable device by August 2014 (1. Deloitte Tech Trends 2014). Organisations are preparing for the Wear Your Own Device (WYOD) era and the associated challenges with security of data and privacy related concerns. “The potential is tremendous due to hands-free, heads-up technology which reshapes how work will be done, how decisions will be made, and how businesses will engage with employees, customers, and partners” (Robert Hillard, Deloitte 8 April 2014). The potential of Google Glass At the recent inaugural Australian Google Glass meet-up hosted by the University of Canberra’s Inspire Centre, we were fortunate to experience directly the use of Google Glass. My expectations were surpassed! These devices project a crystal clear image in your right hand upward glance space, with voice command, audio enabled and swipe actions to scroll through information. I was overwhelmed with the experience and excited by the ease of use to integrate these types of devices into our learning environment. The natural user interface made our smart-phones seem so last week! Although Google Glass is not expected in Australia until late 2015, in the US the devices are now available in beta release to the public. One of the areas with immediate widespread application is the medical education field. A number of medical educators have already been testing applications that enhance a trainee’s skills and opportunities for feedback. Most recently, the School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, have issued Google Glass to all their students where they will incorporate the device into anatomy and clinic skill classes, while final year students will wear Glass during their hospital rotations. They are emphasising the benefits of the hands-free capability to look up facts with a gesture, such as a nod, and simultaneously getting access to real-time patient information. Museums and art galleries are testing immersive experiences that draw upon augmented reality visual displays. And travel companies are testing experiences for both staff and travellers to enable a device like Google Glass to deliver enhanced customer service and supply concierge-style tourist information, on demand, based on the users location. Locally, a number of businesses are thinking ahead and developing apps in anticipation of Google Glass release. Examples include Saftey Culture Australia who are exploring functionality that enables emergency services staff to stream data back to base to ensure response crews have information and relevant equipment before they arrive at the scene (2). And meanwhile, back in school, the Code Cadets, a group of secondary students studying IT at Canberra Grammar are experimenting with app WEARABLE TECHNOLOGIES: SHAPINGTHE FUTUREOF LEARNING BYANNEBARTLETT-BRAGG If you think the future is now - you haven’t seen anything yet!
  3. 3. 14 | JUNE 2014 | TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT WWW.AITD.COM.AU development for Google Glass as part of their curriculum. Our future engineers and leaders in computer interaction and wearable technologies. Implications for learning design We’re at an exciting stage in the development of new devices that will drive us to rethink our relationship with content-based teaching to a more situation-oriented capability to engage and interact with others and their environment. The wearable device should be viewed as an intelligent assistant. Examples such as Google Glass allow you to interact in an unobtrusive, hands- free way, that provides communication tools and context sensors – layer this with augmented reality and the capabilities become limited only by our imaginations! Remember - it’s a device - how we use it is up to our creative learning design. Of course, there are challenges to be considered. How do we manage the security and privacy issues related to personal and company data? How do we design for a multi-device learning environment? How will we measure the value of new ways of learning against the cost of devices and implementation? Although many of these products are new and not readily available, we need to be monitoring their development and considering the implications to our future practices. This is more than another tool to be used as performance support - devices such as these have the potential to completely re-design the relationship between work and learning. In the next five years we will be presented with wearable technologies that can be integrated into almost every aspect of our lives. They will record information and enable us to modify situations, they will remind us to take action, they will communicate with other people and devices, and provide health-related information for our benefit and well-being. While many organisations are still attempting to demonstrate the value of more traditional approaches to workplace learning, such as eLearning, our workers are already embracing mobile and apps to engage and share experiences. The future of WYOD is less than a couple of years away, imagining the possibilities will start to prepare us for the emerging potential with that is both exciting and challenging. “See you” in the future! AnneBartlett-BraggistheManaging DirectoroftheRippleEffectGroupinthe Asia-Pacificregionandasessionallecturer oforganisationallearningsubjectsatthe UniversityofTechnologySydney. Further reading: 1. brw.com.au/p/tech-gadgets/ one_fifth_technology_years_olds_ WvXx2cKsJoUL6Blsss0WUN 2. smh.com.au/small-business/smallbiz-tech/ google-glass-will-change-the-world-20140519- 38jj8.html#ixzz32hhvKyHL 3. Inspire Centre, University of Canberra.inspire. edu.au/glass-meetups/ 4. plus.google.com/u/0/communities/ 107609996462187425150 5. My curated content on wearable devices: .scoop.it/t/wearable-devices-by-anne-bartlett- bragg 6. Alexander Hayes Google+ plus.google.com/+AlexanderHayes 7. 60 business use cases of Google Glass goo.gl/cr5M4R