While productivity levels at businesses are already, by and large, doing well by most any standard, there's always room for some new technology to come along and automate another tedious process or otherwise remove it from the equation, allowing workers to do still more with the same amount of time and resources. Many businesses are looking at the growing market of wearable technology and—as really should be the case for any new technology—wondering if it may be one of those technologies that can improve productivity.
A study from CNN and Rackspace (News - Alert) had some interesting things to say about the topic, focusing on 4,000 adults in both the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as a separate six-week endeavor with 26 participants experimenting with new technology. Said experiments ran the gamut from the Fitbit to the Autographer wearable camera, and the end result proved noteworthy in its own right. 68 percent of those experimenting with the wearable technology felt fitter than when said group began, and 75 percent felt happier. A whopping 84 percent felt more productive, and that's likely getting the attention of businesses all around the world.
The technology in question proved to have a variety of uses; one user, referred to as a “self-medic,” used the technology to chart steps taken in a day and amount of time spent asleep. His answer to why he used wearable technology was to “prevent delusion,” which likely relates to all the charting involved.
While the feelings of productivity boosts and happiness alone aren't enough to get businesses fully on board, said feelings are sufficient to spark experimentation, and in a host of different fields from psychology to leadership, from analytics to competitive advantage and several more. Reports indicate that fully three billion gigabytes—just shy of three exabytes—of data are created every day, but a mere half of a percent of said data is analyzed. As better data analysis structures are put into play, like the cancer-fighting king of “Jeopardy!” that is IBM's Watson, all that data can go somewhere, and wearable technology can provide the means to record that data.
There are deep implications when it comes to wearable technology. Indeed, everything humans do is some kind of data; tell someone a story about your day and that becomes data. But with down-to-the-second footage now available thanks to wearable cameras, and data analysis tools like Watson in play, it actually becomes possible to scrutinize a person's entire day, second by second, and make predictions accordingly. That's the kind of thing that has enormous potential, and in several different directions. A huge value for business, a nightmare for privacy wonks, and plenty of possibilities in between means that wearable technology could be the start of something very, very big in terms of the overall landscape. Major changes are likely to be afoot in work and in play, just as soon as it's figured out how best to incorporate said changes into everyday life.
So is wearable technology indeed a boon to productivity? It may well be, depending on how it's used and how it fits into the current structure. It's going to take more experiments to find out just how deep this particular rabbit hole can go, but once bottom is found, it will likely change the world with it.
Edited by Alisen Downey
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