Adopting a Group Mentality in the Enterprise Wearables Community

Written BY

Emily Friedman

March 13, 2017

As someone who astutely observes the enterprise wearables market, J.P. Gownder (Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research) established himself early on as an expert in this space. Speaking to those early adopters and innovators in the EWTS conference room in June 2016, J.P. stressed the importance of educating others: “You people in this room are going to have to be the ambassadors.” J.P. urged listeners to be proactive and realistic, to educate themselves about “the potential of today’s offerings versus tomorrow’s,” and to expose others – colleagues, superiors, and employees – to the possibilities of wearable technology in the workplace. And his call-to-action resonated with other sentiments expressed by speakers at the event, from solution providers asking for feedback to end users seeking – and giving – advice across industry lines.

A real spirit of community has come to define EWTS: The thought leaders involved speak in terms of “We” and “Let’s;” there’s common ground, common desires, and a sense that we must work together to move this space forward.

One rallying voice that stood out at last year’s event came from Chris Croteau, General Manager, Head-Worn Devices, New Devices Group at Recon an Intel company:

“I came to the event with the intent to convince everyone not to wait, but what I heard is that no one is waiting. Not one person has stood up today and said, ‘We ran a pilot and it was a miserable failure.’ [So] why aren’t we doing this faster? Because we’re the people that make this the future by implementing the present, by upgrading our infrastructures and convincing IT to stop blocking our video feeds, by convincing management that a $500 or even $3,000 headset is going to pay for itself in nine months and is a good capital investment…My message is let’s start implementing faster, more, and start working together on what it’s going to take to pull this off.”

This, according to Chris, is “how we’re going to win as an industry.” It’s interesting that the leading solution providers in enterprise wearables have the same attitude, the same belief in sharing experiences and feedback in order to progress the technology and its implementation. They, along with the end users themselves, are aware that cross-industry learning and problem solving is imperative:

Tom Bianculli, Vice President, Emerging Technology Office, Zebra Technologies: “The human-computer interaction is shifting. Don’t underestimate it but embrace it. Let’s figure out what it means together. We’re all investing heavily in getting everything connected so that we can get the right information to the right person at the right time using this wearable modality…”

Christian Prusia, VP of Sales, Atheer: “As we pioneer this industry, we have to leverage our collective intelligence. The smartest person is all of us.”

Both Brian Ballard, CEO & Co-Founder of Upskill (formerly APX Labs), and Lance Anderson, VP of Enterprise Sales at Vuzix, expressed the importance of hearing enterprises’ problems and feedback in order to build better solutions.

Brian: “Having enterprises articulate the challenges they face is the most important set of information that we [solution providers] can have at this stage of the market…That’s the communication or dialogue that events like [EWTS] pull together. Share the challenges you have with the people out in the hall.

Lance: “Our second-gen product is a culmination of these types of conversations. What you design in the lab is different from what you should be designing…It’s about working together now, being open to hearing and giving feedback.”

EWTS provides a unique arena for both solution providers and end users hailing from diverse industries. Peggy Gulick, Director of Business Process Improvement at AGCO, encouraged attendees to take full advantage: “The vendors are listening so now is the time to get involved because you have a voice.” Other speakers freely offered up their help:

George Bowser, Senior Director, Solutions Design, DHL Supply Chain: “The market is immature with many potential suppliers and hardware providers trying to find their place. We want to help.”

The pioneers are now becoming the champions. As dramatic as that sounds, each leader invited to the Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit is a pioneer if not in their industry then in their organization. They took a chance on this technology early on, putting them in the unique position to effect change by sharing their experiences. As Lance said, each successive generation of devices improves thanks to those enterprises. And as the ambassadors, their case studies, their trial-and-errors, are what carry us into the future.

*All quotes are transcribed from the sessions and presentations given at EWTS, June 16-17, 2016 in Atlanta, GA, and therefore may not be exact.

About EWTS Spring 2017:

The 3rd annual Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit 2017 taking place May 10-12, 2017 in San Diego, California is the leading event for wearable technology in enterprise. It is also the only true enterprise event in the wearables space, with the speakers and audience members hailing from top enterprise organizations across the industry spectrum. Consisting of real-world case studies, engaging workshops, and expert-led panel discussions on such topics as enterprise applications for Augmented and Virtual Reality, head-mounted displays, and body-worn devices, plus key challenges, best practices, and more; EWTS is the best opportunity for you to hear and learn from those organizations who have successfully utilized wearables in their operations.

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