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Wearables in 2015: The Real Power of Streaming Video Lies in Computing

By November 18, 2014Article

When it comes to wearables, which are without a doubt a key tech trend of this year and some years to come, the media spotlight has shined so far mainly on consumer products for fitness and infotainment. It’s plain to see why these technologies have captured the public imagination. Mounted video streaming devices usher in an incredible new world of possibilities. The images are simply breathtaking — who doesn’t get a rush seeing through the eyes of an extreme skier as he jumps from a helicopter?  

Yet the real revolution is happening elsewhere, mainly out of the public eye, in the enterprise, where wearable broadcasting technology is quietly revolutionizing ways of doing business on a large and soon-to-be massive scale. Wearable broadcasting technology is saving lives in medicine, improving security and shaving off billions of dollars in costs to businesses. 

In the business and investment world, all eyes are on the potential in the enterprise of combining real-time high-definition streaming video with significant computing power and real-time sensor data analytics. A movement has begun in industries from healthcare to field service to tap this extraordinary potential in order to bring innovation to the workplace. 

The main benefit to business is improving worker efficiency by allowing knowledge workers to collaborate and communicate through hands-free, “see-what-I-see” technology.  

Top medical institutions including Stanford and UCSF have outfitted their surgical teams with Google Glass to aid in training, allowing educators and trainees to swap their points of view during live medical procedures. Ambulance companies are installing Google Glass in fleets of ambulances, enabling EMTs to broadcast via real-time video to receiving emergency rooms. 

Large equipment makers are using Google Glass to allow their service technicians to collaborate virtually. Skilled teams are using smartglasses to coordinate highly complex repair and engineering work with the feeling of being there in person. Their teams are relying on enhanced computing power and software capability to share multiple points of view live, powerfully zoom in on what they see, simultaneously interact with digitized data while broadcasting and much more.  

Much as video conferencing has done for meetings over the years, video broadcasting using wearables in the enterprise has begun to reduce the need for skilled technicians to make onsite visits. Gartner estimates this kind of saving will translate to $1 billion per year by 2017 in the field service industry alone. That’s just the beginning — the capabilities of smartglasses in terms of memory, storage, battery life and processing power are only getting more robust every day. 

So when I think about trends of the future in 2015 and beyond, I don’t think about whether I will be able to witness what a skier sees as he blazes down a mountain, although that will always be cool. I think about every sensor-enabled device from smartglasses to other wearables to drones being able to instantly broadcast and exchange views in real time. Just think of the possibilities. 

Jon Fisher is CEO of CrowdOptic. He co-founded and was CEO of Bharosa, which produced the Oracle Adaptive Access Manager. Fisher is a named inventor on seven U.S. and 14 foreign patents, and six U.S. and 18 foreign patents pending. He is also known for accurate predictions about the U.S. economy. Fisher is an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco, and his book is required reading for the MBA program at several schools.


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