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The Future Is Now, Kind of…

When we were kids, our visions of the future included an array of technological wonders like flying cars, people living on the moon and my personal favorite, being able to use my watch as a communications device ala Dick Tracey. Naturally, some of the things we imagined are still imaginary—the world still awaits its first flying car dealership—but some of our more esoteric visions of the future have become reality, wearable technology being a prime example. Today it is possible to make a call from your wristwatch, but I think one of the lessons that we’ve learned over the years is that the real benefits of new technologies sometimes take awhile to come to fruition. This is certainly the case with wearables.

Let me begin by saying that I don’t think being able to count your daily steps or monitor some of your body’s vital functions are trivial capabilities, but in terms of business applications, we are only beginning to scratch the surface of the uses of wearable technology.

As the repositories and processing centers for the vast amount of data that is generated on a daily basis by both businesses and individuals, the essential requirement for data centers is that they remain operational 7×24, 365 days a year. As a result, the components that perform functions like providing their power and cooling must be regularly maintained and serviced. Historically, this meant arming support personnel with shelves of telephone-book-sized manuals to use when performing routine maintenance or attempting to fix a problem. Not a terribly efficient solution for obvious reasons. To eliminate this less than optimal mode of technical support, Compass is working with its customers and Icarus Technology to make all of this information available with the tapping of a screen or blink of an eye.

By digitizing all of our support documentation, and enabling our customer to develop web-based operational checklists, all of their support personnel now are able to access everything they need to perform maintenance and problem solving activities by consulting an Android unit attached to their wrist. This “free hands” mode of operation has already made a dramatic increase in reducing the time required to perform their maintenance tasks. In Q4 of this year, we will introduce Google Glass units as an complimentary device to the Android units.

Although our project with our customer is still in the beginning stages, it is obvious that applications such as this are readily transferrable to a broad array of industrial and business applications. As with many technological innovations, the future of wearable technology is limited only by our imaginations and gives us all something to think about while we await the delivery of our flying cars.