Humans are inherently social beings. We thrive on making new connections, we love building personal networks and we deeply understand the value of a team’s efforts in accomplishing success. To our ancestors, social interaction was a means of survival. Without exceptional communication, danger could wipe out an entire tribe.
In the Information Age, communication among the tribe is just as important, even though survival is significantly easier. We now have the ability to connect to more than 1.5 billion human beings. There will soon be one smartphone for every five people in the world. Our addiction to connect with others is being fed at an exponential rate, yet we can’t get enough.
The proliferation of “smart devices” has just started working its way into our lives. Our friends and family are adopting fitness trackers to lead a healthy lifestyle by holding each other accountable. Athletes are finally able to quantify their performance with objective data to improve their skills. Elderly patients are now using Internet-connected devices and hubs to connect with responders in case of emergencies.
A case for wearable technology in business
I’d like to make a case for wearable technology in business. As an owner of the new Moto 360 smart watch, I’m convinced that its true value is found in the office. If your office is anything like mine, there is always more work than there is time. Successful employees are the ones who are able to most effectively manage their time. This, of course, is easier said than done. It takes experience, focus and knowledge to bring the most value to your business or organization.
Knowledge = data
Knowledge in business is a matter of data science. The data can be found on a spreadsheet, or it can be found in your head from that one physics course you took 10 years ago, or during small talk at the water cooler with the engineer you never work with. The best professionals are those who can accumulate, store and quickly sort through massive amounts of data.
Sometimes, the most important data is the easiest to sort, but is only polled once a day. Missing a phone call, for example, could potentially make or break that big sale you were counting on. Or how about when you respond to that email just a few seconds before new information is presented, discrediting the entire message? Timing is critical when it comes to information in business.
I have always made it a priority to be “on call” in my professional career, as well as my personal life. Whether it’s a teammate that needs information from me to do his job at midnight, or an international customer accidentally waking me up in the morning, I’d like to think I’m always there for them. My smart watch has given me one added layer of connectivity. The laptop once gave professionals a much higher level of connectivity on-the-go, and now most professionals can’t do their job without their smart phone.
Here are just a few of the ways I use my smart watch for work:
- When I’m in the middle of a meeting and I feel my phone buzz, rather than pulling out my phone or checking my laptop, I gaze quickly at my watch and choose to ignore it or not based on the importance relative to the meeting I’m in. Pulling your phone out is commonly viewed as disrespectful and completely changes the meeting environment.
- When I’m traveling to visit a customer or supplier, I often run the GPS on my phone through my watch. I can say things like “OK Google, navigate to airport” and my watch launches turn-by-turn navigation at arms-length.
- When I get called to an impromptu meeting and leave my phone at my desk, I never miss an important customer call.
- When I’m running late from my last meeting and I don’t know which conference room the next meeting is in, I look down at my watch for direction, even with my hands full.
- Stress is important to manage with a fast-paced job. The first step to managing stress is to quantify stress. Yes, I actually check my heart rate at work.
- I use my watch as a third peripheral. For example, when I’m typing an email to a customer with a price quote and I get an updated quote from my supplier, I can adjust on-the-fly.
The smart watch is no longer a gadget; it’s a tool. A tool that can be used to create a more efficient workplace. The smart watch and all future wearables will provide our future workforce with the data they need, the second they need it.
– Jesse DePinto is a Milwaukee-based serial entrepreneur and business technology consultant, helping clients prepare for technological revolutions such as 3D printing, virtual reality, wearable technology and the Internet of Things. He holds a mechanical engineer degree and reviews products for the Internet of Things in his spare time at StayAtHomeNerd.com. You can connect with him via email at email@example.com, via cell phone at (937) 829-3720, or via social media at LinkedIn.com/in/JesseDePinto or Twitter.com/JesseDePinto.