Who is your leading wearable at work? Vote now…
Wearable technology is the future. We all know that – we're all just waiting around to see which market it's going to explode in first…
Yet the truth is, there's plenty of brilliant wearable tech around at the moment – making people's working lives easier. Find below the top seven from the dozens of entries received and your turn to have a say in who wins the ultimate prize…
Voting is now closed! Pop back on 2nd November to find out the winners.
A contactless payment system you wear on your wrist.
The days of carrying half your body weight in loose change were numbered as soon as contactless technology was born. Now Barclaycard has hammered another nail in the inconvenient payment coffin by putting that technology into a wearable device. With a simple swipe of your wrist, you can make any payment up to £20, anywhere in the world. Connecting bPay to your mobile allows for easy, on-the-go money management, but it also has the potential to double as your firm’s access card. Tens of thousands of people have already bought one already, but through Barclaycard’s existing infrastructure it has the potential to be rolled out to the entire population over the age of 12.
Navigation app specifically designed for the visually impaired.
Popping down to the shops might sound straightforward, but for those suffering from limited sight it’s not so easy. Pharma firm Novartis developed its ViaOpta apps to make such daily tasks easier. This one makes full use of the unique capabilities of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices. Voice and vibration-based guidance lets you know when you’ve reached a turn, landmark or obstacle for easy and safe navigation. You can also pinpoint your exact location and bookmark your favourite destinations. Along with Novartis’ ViaOpta Daily app, which helps users recognise objects or even units of currency, this free to download app has the potential to help the 285 million or so visually impaired people worldwide retain their independence. Available in 12 languages, the apps have already been downloaded 15,000 times.
Novartis rollout of the Global Corporate Challenge
A scientifically-developed programme designed to encourage healthy lifestyles.
Prevention is better than cure, which is why Novartis launched a campaign to combat chronic and often preventable diseases among its workers in 2011. Two years later, it implemented the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC), an independent programme that pits teams of employees against each other in a form of virtual triathlon across 100 days. Everyone gets two clip on GCC Pulses, simple wearable devices that track movement and help them reach their goals. The idea is to use games and measurement to improve long-term behaviour towards exercise, nutrition and sleep. Judging by Novartis’ continued engagement with GCC, it works. Employees taking part increased from 9,000 in 2013 to 16,000 this year across more than 65 countries, with 62% reporting a decrease in stress levels and 83% reporting a positive impact on their relationship with exercise.
Tesco’s first colleague app for checking stock availability.
Finding out why there’s no celery on the shelves or how long it will take to replenish the hot dogs can be a time-consuming process. That’s why Britain’s largest retailer Tesco came up with a way of getting product information to store managers’ fingertips instantly, and without the need for a clunky, 20th century barcode scanner. After being successfully launched for 45,000 users on smartphones, Inform has gone hands free, incorporating voice recognition in a smart watch trial. Aside from saving even more time, this also removes a barrier between staff and customers when dealing with enquiries.
Outlook, OneNote and Microsoft Translator for smart watches
Your favourite Microsoft apps have found their way onto your wrist.
Outlook for Apple Watch is the first app of its kind that enables users to read full emails and reply, by choosing from a selection of standard responses or dictating your own. Voice command is these apps’ USP. You can activate OneNote for Android Wear and dictate that hilarious thing your friend said at dinner without using your fingers at all. On both watch types, Microsoft Translator can identify 50 languages, and pin frequently used translations to help you remember what that thing your neighbour keeps saying about poulet actually means. Notifications on all three apps are designed to be easy to act on, but not distracting, putting an end to the need to disrupt meetings to glance at your phone.
Nationwide Quick Balance
Check your bank balance with a tap of your watch.
There was a time when finding out the contents of your account required you to walk into a big building with a manager and a vault, but those days are over. Nationwide, the world’s largest building society, developed the UK’s first smart watch app for instant access on the move, without the need for a cumbersome and time-consuming log in. Quick Balance has had 25 million views across all devices over the last six months, with 57,000 on the Apple Watch. As it was developed to be flexible across all devices, it has the potential to be adopted by Nationwide’s 15-million strong customer base.
TUI Group: Smart Band
Smartband hotel room key doubles as cashless payment tag
A wristband for hotel guests to access their rooms and pay for services. There are smart homes, so why not smart hotels? Travel firm TUI is experimenting with wearable technology in its Nordic hotels. Its waterproof smart band doubles as a room access key and a wallet for the restaurant and spa, finally doing away with the ignominy of telling reception you’ve locked yourself out of your room again. Through the accompanying app, you can also track your spending in real time to make sure you’re not leaning too heavily on the minibar. Though the reprogrammable bands are designed to make life easier for guests, they could have a bigger impact on the environment – and the hotel’s bottom line. Expensive air conditioning and electric circuits automatically activate when guest enter a room and turn off when they leave. 100at