Wearables: Innovation and Possibilities
Wearable technology, once something of science fiction, is now something that is set to change the way we work and live. At 3Squared we have been working closely with our friends at Autodesk to implement their BIM360 Field software (used for construction information management) into the newly-released Google Glass. Autodesk’s software enables cloud based document management, reporting and collaboration for on-site construction workers. We highlighted the ways in which wearable tech could innovate the way the construction industry operates in a previous blog, and we have since been looking at the ways in which we can create these ideas by using current technology.
In case you’ve managed to miss Google Glass completely, it is essentially a piece of hardware which rests on your head like a pair of spectacles. A small screen is positioned over one eye and you can control information through taps and swipes on an input pad over the side of the head. This lightweight, unobtrusive piece of technology is well suited to the construction industry as larger, handheld devices may hinder effective work.
For us, it makes sense that we would try and adapt our software for use on devices like Google Glass. Of course, with wearable tech still in its infancy, there will be lots of creases to iron out in terms of safety and usability before we see something that works efficiently. That said, we are only a matter of a few years away from seeing wearable tech becoming commonplace in working environments.
Google Glass is an ideal fit for construction as the user doesn’t actually need to hold anything, freeing up both hands. Even when operating the device, the user only needs one hand to input commands, the rest can be voice controlled. As we see hardware developments, the possibilities for software and apps will also broaden.
Rumours for upcoming wearables are largely centred around watches. The Samsung Galaxy Gear was the first commercial smartwatch to really make an impact, however its limited capabilities held it back somewhat. This could be the start of a major wearable revolution though, as improvements are identified and serial innovators Apple are constantly rumoured to be producing the “iWatch”. A small screen that sits on the wrist would need to be hardwearing and easy to use if it is to fit into the construction industry though. Something that fits round the waist may be more appropriate (an interactive tool belt perhaps?).
The future of wearable technology is certainly exciting, and as it evolves so will the software that accompanies it. Rather than industry specific hardware being released, it is the software that is produced that will decide how big an impact the technology is on the way we work.