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Wearable Computing: Implications for Organizations and Workers

Introduction to Wearable Computing

It looks like wearable computing is taking off. Smartwatches, smart glasses, smart ID badges, and activity trackers promise to change how we go about each day and the way we do our jobs. According to an April 2015 report surveying 2,400 US CIOs by IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology 81 percent expect wearable computing devices such as watches and glasses to become common workplace tools.


Doctors and nurses are using smart eyewear for hands-tree access to patients' medical records. Oil rig workers sport smart helmets to connect with land based experts who can view their work remotely and communicate instructions. Warehouse managers are able to capture real-time performance data using a smartwatch to better manage distribution and fulfilment operations. Wearable computing devices improve productivity by delivering
information to workers without requiring them to interrupt their tasks, which in turn empowers employees to make more informed decisions more quickly.


Although primarily consumer devices, smart watches are being used for business. The Apple Watch for example has a number of features to make employees more productive. It can take phone calls and accept voice commands. It will display an important message, e-mail, or calendar appointment on your wrist. Instead of buzzing loudly and with every email, text message, and calendar alert you receive, the watch uses subtle, discreet vibrations that won't be a distraction in the middle of a meeting. There are Apple Watch versions of Evernote (note taking), PowerPoint (electronic presentations), and Invoice2go, which will automatically prompt you to start logging your work time as soon as you arrive at a job site, send basic invoices, and receive alerts when they're paid. has developed several enterprise applications for the Apple Watch Salesforcel for Apple Watch delivers instant notifications to sales people, service agents, and other business users to help speed up their work.


For example, sales managers can receive a discount approval request and take action right from the watch. Customer service managers can receive alerts if a critical case requires immediate attention or call wait times are about to exceed thresholds Digital marketers can be alerted when a marketing campaign surpasses a goal. Sales force Analytics for Apple Watch enables Salesforce customers to use analytics data delivered to their smartwatches to view performance metrics, uncover new insights, and take action with dashboards. Users will also be able to query via Voice Search to access a report, view a dashboard, or find  other information Global logistics company DHL worked with Ricoh, the imaging and electronics company, and Ubimax, a wearable computing services and solutions company, to implement "vision picking'' in its warehouse operations. Location graphics are displayed on smart glasses guiding staffers through the warehouse to both speed the process of finding items and reduce errors. The company says the technology delivered a 25 percent increase in efficiency.

Examples of Wearable Computing in Business


Right now, vision picking gives workers locational information about the items they need to retrieve and allows them to automatically scan retrieved items. Future enhancements will enable the system to plot optimal routes through the warehouse, provide pictures of items to be retrieved (a key aid in case an item has been misplaced on the warehouse. shelves), and instruct workers on loading carts and pallets more efficiently.


Southern Co, an Atlanta-based energy company. is experimenting with several different wearables in its power plants and its power distribution and transmission pipeline. Southern recently deployed both head-mounted and wrist-mounted computers and performed several "proofs of concept” with Google Glass, Apple Watch, and the Moto 360 Android Wear device. The “proofs of concept” focused on enhancing plant workers' ability to follow documented procedures more accurately and to document adherence to those procedures. The company also piloted Bluetooth video cameras worn on the head for documenting work processes and for videoconferencing between field personnel and central office personnel. Southern Co. now uses head-worn cameras in some plants and field locations.

At Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, guests are issued a MagicBand, a radio frequency identification (RFID) wristband, which serves as their hotel room key and park entrance ticket and can be assigned a PIN and linked to a credit card to make purchases. The wristband is also used to link photos to guest accounts and will soon connect to a vacation-planning system. Staff are equipped with long-RFID readers so they can personally greet guests.


Aggregated RFID data will be used to minimise attraction wait times. Messages entice guests to miocate to less busy areas of the park. FastPass+ Disney's Tide reservation system, allocates guests to the most popular attractions by assigning one-hour return windows for express entrance The value of wearable computing devices isn't from transferring the same information from a laptop or smartphone to a smartwatch or eyeglass display. Rather, it's about finding ways to use wearables to augment and enhance business processes. Successful adoption of wearable computing depends not only on cost effectiveness but on the
development of new and better apps and integration with existing IT infrastructure and the organization's tools for man ng and securing mobile devices.


1.Impact of organisational structure and use of information systems: (10 Marks - 250 words)
Wearables have the potential to change the way organizations and workers conduct business. Using Apple as an example, a) describe what type of organization Apple is; b) discuss the implications of this statement relating your answer to the case study.

2. Analysis of challenges faced when organisations adopt new technologies: (10 Marks - 250 words)
Discuss what management, organization, and technology challenges would have to be addressed if an organisation was thinking of equipping its workers with a wearable computing device?


3. Evaluation of ISs for process reengineering and decision-making: (60 Marks - 1500 words)
You are an IT intern, working for ISM Tech in the UK. Your IT director has asked for a detailed report on the following subsections (3.1 to 3.5) listed below. You are required to use the case study and other resources to justify your response to your IT director. Make sure you cite other sources in your critical evaluation and


3.1. Analyse the case study and advise your IT director on how a business process such as ordering a product for a customer in the field would be changed if the salesperson was wearing a smartwatch equipped with
Salesforce software described in the case study?


3.2. Use other resources to advise the IT director on the benefits and limitations of wearable technologies. You must relate your answer to the case study and cite other resources to justify your answer.


3.3. According to the case study, “doctors and nurses are using smart eyewear for hands-tree access to patients' medical records.” Your IT director wants to know the ethical and social compliance (non-compliance)
issues that the health sector might need to address.


3.4. In relation to the statement suggesting that Bluetooth video cameras could be worn on the head for documenting work processes and for videoconferencing between field personnel and central office personnel,
evaluate and discuss the implication of a cyber-security breach to Southern Co.


3.5. With reference to the case study article, select a business of your choice and describe how data gathered from wearable computing devices can help to improve its decision making process. Relate your answer to the importance of data protection, data analytics, and business intelligence. Cite your references.

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