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Will wearable technology boost business productivity or make people dumb?

Do you remember that man on the busy road talking all to himself and you wondered if he was out of his wits? Only to realize later that he was wearing a Bluetooth device and speaking to someone on the other end of his cell phone. Well, be prepared to see newer forms of human behavior soon.
Technology evolution and developments in the wearable technology space are now a reality. A huge number of wearable gadgets are been unveiled. Large number of these gadgets are in the consumer space. Wearable technology has tremendous implication for the business world as well, it will lead to improved business productivity or newer ways of doing day-to-day activities and potentially result in billions of dollars of savings for the industry. There will be efficiency gains not only in terms of doing work quicker, but better.  It will make on the job training much easier and on demand. Immediate access to information will unfold further productivity gains. Very soon ways and means of our day-to-day work will see a lot of change.

Consulting experts on the go will save significant time and money spent by organizations on field jobs, perhaps wearable technology's single largest contribution towards cost savings. A technician wearing a contact lens developed by Innovega or a Google glass can relay what they see in real time for consultation. Experts could advice and also share content visible to technician in real time. This not only saves an expert's field trip but allows the team to close the issue in much shorter time and lower costs. To imagine how important this could be consider a technician working on an electric grid or an oil rig. Errors could be life threatening and costs the organizations huge sum of money.

To impart effective training managers can observe field staff as they attempt difficult or first time assignments, with the ability to share live feeds from the field through wearable devices. Field staff can be guided as needed, it also gives them an opportunity to review recorded video at a later time. This will enables better understanding and capture real life situations to be referred as case studies.  Such technology will enable new employees to leverage training materials while they're on the job or in a remote location instead of attending scheduled training programs at pre-designated locations.

Having data at your fingertips is crucial, no matter what job you do. A mobile phone, smart watch or interactive eye wear can give workers access to a nearly infinite amount of information with simple voice commands or other natural input methods. Say an emergency response team needs to quickly access building plans while responding to a fire emergency or an evacuation, they could do so while out in the field in a matter of seconds. If your sales representative is attending a very important client meeting, a team in office can quickly gather relevant information and share it with him based on key points been discussed.

Gauging your emotional response will be the new battle ground for the techies in the wearable technology industry. Wearable gadgets that can track your brain activity level will gauge your emotional response to a situation, along with tracking your body vitals. Stressful assignments that have serious consequences in an event of human errors can be made less stressful and possibly safer. Consider a deep sea diver trying to carry out a critical maintenance activity on an under-water oil rig or a Pilot trying to land air plane in distress. If people monitoring these activities from a remote operations center can gauge the emotional state of field worker they can not only assist in completing the job, but also talk to them to reduce their stress levels, if needed psychological experts could also be brought to assist in critical situations. This will improve the chances of avoiding human error and significant amount of potential life and material damages.

The increased use of wearable tech in business does come with a new set of privacy concerns. Organization will be able to monitor their employees more closely for assignment related activity but will have deep insights of personal information like health records, emotional makeup and vital information about a person's behavioral pattern etc. This will make people feel vulnerable, you never know how this information will be used. To get a perspective consider your manager and few others having access to such personal information, or participating in your company's health insurance plan may require you to give insurance company access to your health tracking devise. A more important consideration needed is with passage of time our dependency on such devices will increase drastically for day-to-day work, such gadgets will become a necessity and no longer remain an accessory. This poses an interesting question will people become more productive or dumb in the long run?
For example if you try to assist a person at a till of a super store with some extra change once the cash machine has computed the exact change to be returned, the person gets confused. While this is not true for all the case it's commonly observed. Our earlier generations were good at oral math including fractions but since this skill is no longer required we are not that well equipped now.

Humans lost their tail long back in evolution as we didn't use it for some time, what's next. If we look back a generation or two, we had a much active work life. Today most urban jobs are sedentary and at times we find it difficult to cope up with a busy active day, excluding the folks who have a regular workout. As a society we might soon be in a situation that we may not be able to do much of the physical activity un-assisted by devices. A large amount of population may be limited to using a set of gadgets which will further limit their ability to do things not part of their regular routine.

While wearable technology will assist us in many ways to improve productivity, reliability and ease our day-to-day work.  In the future it may make you feel like a new pilot trying to land an airplane in bad weather. Or will it make you a super human.  Time will tell, but what do you think about it?

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