The impact of wearables for service desk professionals

Here in Birmingham, UK, the Service Desk Institute is holding its annual conference – and tomorrow WTW lead author Simon Jones will be joining a keynote panel to discuss the future impact of wearables, as a disruptive technology. Afterwards, Simon is presenting a breakout session called Beyond the hype: Wearables in the workplace. Here’s a sneak preview before the slides go up on SlideShare…

The key take-away is that wearable tech is definitely coming. What makes it so exciting is that wearables are a disruptive technology – in other words, they change existing paradigms. Disruption means a change to market dynamics where existing market leaders can get knocked off their perch by emerging competitors who were just a dot in the rear-view mirror just months before – or even mistaken for a speck of dust on the mirror glass.

In the last two years, we’ve seen all the hype about wearable tech, especially in the areas of smart wristbands like the Fitbit Flex and Jawbone UP, and in eyewear like Google Glass. At WearableTechWatch, we’re excited about how in the next year, smart vendors are going to start putting these elements together, to make a compelling, mainstream tech – and as previously noted, we think that Apple will be one of the companies leading the way.

If you’re new to wearables, then it’s important to note that they are part of the bigger topic of the Internet of Things, or IoT – smart, connected devices that can “talk” to each other without human intervention. If you want to learn more about the IoT, see this post.

For a service desk professional, wearables and the IoT are a game changer. Today, it’s possible for a faulty device to run self-diagnosis and report exactly what the problem is – whether the diagnosis is a system blockage in a washing machine or the need for a new mainboard in a blade server. This means a field engineer can be dispatched with the right equipment, and the knowledge, to fix the fault … first time, every time.  Add wearable technology to provide an overlay of augmented reality through Glass, or a visor – and RFID-enabled smart gloves that can confirm that cables are plugged into the right slots – and you’re able to dramatically reduce human error.

Meanwhile new sensors – connected to the IoT – provide new levels of previously-unavailable intelligence, in instances such as package tracking, where now it’s not just about checking point-to-point progress, but also potentially damaging extremes in minimum/maximum temperatures and g-force.

For a service desk, any vendor able to guarantee an on-site fix first time, every time, is destined to gain market share – and will also be able to offer more competitive pricing, because of the reduction in repeat visits. There’s also access to contextual information when and where you need it, which gives field workers more knowledge, and consequently makes them more empowered.

Then there’s the issue of identity verification – always a bone of contention with field engineers. For an innovative approach look no further than smart wristband maker Nymi, which is using the body’s personal cardiac rhythm to authenticate identity, so even if someone steals the overalls and the clipboard, they still won’t have the matching heartbeat to unlock confidential customer data. How’s that for a unique sales proposition?

/WTW

 

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