The wearable workplace

By Siobhan Keogh

2014: The year of the wearable. So said the many journalists and analysts who attended this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.


While the fitness tech market cottoned on to the usefulness of wearable devices some time ago, the rest of the technology world seems to be scrambling to catch up. Wearables have been around for a while, but they’re only just now taking off. The consumer technology market will be flooded with wearable devices this year – from Google Glass, to stylish smart jewellery, to smart watches from just about every consumer technology manufacturer.

But the business technology market won’t be left out. All kinds of businesses, from corporate environments to manufacturing, from farming to Ford, have already incorporated wearable technologies into their day-to-day operations.

If 2014 is the year of the wearable, then 2015 is the year that the wearable will become increasingly commonplace in business.

Take Australian health and safety consultancy SafetyCulture Australia, for example. The company has developed an app for Google Glass designed to improve workplace safety – it allows users to conduct safety checks and inspections, hands-free, through their Google Glass headset.

Then there are organsations like cloud broker Appiro, which offers fitness gadgets to staff as part of their health and wellness programmes. And while New Zealand’s uptake of new technologies has sometimes been lagging, “big five” bank Westpac has already trialled an app for Google Glass aimed at customers.

And whether businesses adopt wearable technologies or not, devices will come to work with staff. Inevitably, employees will find ways to use their own wearables to make their working lives easier.