Technology meets the enterprise for 2 days in Boston
Last week I attended the Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit, or EWTS, in Boston, MA. The two day conference was jam-packed with great content, stunning demonstrations, and an audience full of enthusiasts for the future of wearable technology.
First, I'd like to personally commend the organizers of this show: the good people at BrainXchange. This was probably the highest per-session quality of content I've ever seen at a conference. Multiple panel discussions allowed even more viewpoints to be heard in an efficient, streamlined 2-day event. If you are looking for a great value for your learning / networking budget, I will vouch for EWTS.
As much diversity as the speaker and panel lineup represented, several common themes emerged from the sessions. Here are the key takeaways that I managed to, well, take away.
1. No pain, no gain.
Many speakers attempted to help the innovation community build business cases and ROI for wearable technology. The message was clear: follow the pain. Innovation teams are trying to drive change, which brings risk, into operations teams which thrive on stability and minimized risk. Technology must map to business or customer pain, and it is best if both groups agree on the true nature of the problems to solve. This seems pretty common sense -- we at LogistiVIEW have always thought of ourselves as operations people who can deliver technology. However, given the number of times this message was delivered, I started to see some irony in the technology buzzword "the connected workplace."
2. One step at a time.
When it comes to software development, we are an Agile shop. The Agile mindset embraces short-cycle delivery for the benefit of incremental gains and nimble reactions to changing priorities. With Agile, you don't strive for perfection of design as a gate to starting development. You deliver small, controlled value increments and then reassess what is the next most valuable thing.
I was heartened to see so many companies also embrace this concept for innovation projects themselves. In addition to the risk mitigation mentioned above, we feel that we can deliver realizable results very quickly, with just our most baseline functionality. More sophisticated features require more configuration and integration, as is expected, but an Agile approach to implementation will get the ROI going very quickly. As the early use cases gain a foothold, we can observe the new normal and prioritize where to go next.
3. This too, shall pass.
Many of the demos showed wearables replacing some bulky thing of the past. Nobody will miss hauling stacks of binders around if they can access all the documentation in smart glasses. Monitors and tablets can fall victim to crystal clear wearable displays. How many keyboards can go away when OCR is able to read text that humans today are keying in?
One thing is certain: nothing is impervious to innovation, miniaturization, and obsolescence. True forward thinkers will think about that when designing any new business process. Which assumptions are dependent on physical components that may simply go away?
EWTS certainly gave the audience much to ponder, and helped each technology provider in this community expand their ecosystems. I'm excited to think of all the ways this could benefit our customers and partners in the coming months and years.