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Updated: 4 hours 11 min ago

I Guess Wearables Are a Thing

Fri, 2014-06-20 11:17

For what seems like ages, the noise around wearable technology has been building, but until recently, I’ve been skeptical about widespread adoption.

Not anymore, wearables are a thing, even without an Apple device to lead the way.

Last week, Noel (@noelportugal) and I attended the annual conference of the Oracle HCM Users Group (@ohugupdates); the Saturday before the conference, we showed off some of our wearable demos to a small group of customers in a seminar hosted by Oracle Applications User Experience.

As usual, we saturated the Bluetooth spectrum with our various wearables.

BpuY09ECEAIL8yy

This doesn’t even include Noel’s Glass and Pebble.

The questions and observations of the seminar attendees showed a high level of familiarity with wearables of all types, not just fitness bands, but AR glasses and other, erm, wearable gadgets. A quick survey showed that several of them had their own wearables, too.

Later in the week, chatting up two other customers, I realized that one use case I’d thought was bogus is actually real, the employee benefits plus fitness band story.

In short, employers give out fitness bands to employees to promote healthy behaviors and sometimes competition; the value to the organization comes from an assumption that the overall benefit cost goes down for a healthier employee population. Oh, and healthy people are presumably happier, so there’s that too.

At a dinner, I sat between two people, who work for two different employers, in very different verticals; they both were wearing company-provided fitness trackers, one a Garmin device, the other a FitBit. And they both said the devices motivated them.

So, not a made-up use case at all.

My final bit of anecdotal evidence from the week came during Jeremy’s (@jrwashley) session. The room was pretty packed, so I decided to do some Bluetooth wardriving using the very useful Bluetooth 4.0 Scanner app, which has proven to be much more than a tool for finding my lost Misfit Shine.

From a corner of the room, I figured my scan covered about a third of the room.

bluetoothWarDriving

That’s at least six wearables, five that weren’t mine. I can’t tell what some of the devices are, e.g. One, and devices like Google Glass and the Pebble watch won’t be detected by this method. We had about 40 or so people in the room, so even without scanning the entire room, that’s a lot of people rocking wearables.

If you’re not impressed by my observations, maybe some fuzzy app-related data will sway you. From a TechCrunch post:

A new report from Flurry Analytics shows that health and fitness apps are growing at a faster rate than the overall app market so far in 2014. The analytics firm looked at data from more than 6,800 apps in the category on the iPhone and iPad and found that usage (measured in sessions) is up 62% in the last six months compared to 33% growth for the entire market, an 87% faster pace.

This data comes just as Apple and Google aim to boost the ecosystem for fitness apps and wearables with HealthKit and Google Fit, both of which aim to make it easy for wearable device manufacturers to share their data and app developers to use that data to make even better apps.

Of course, if/when Apple and Google make their plays, wearables will only get more prevalent.

So, your thoughts, about wearables, your own and other people’s, corporate wellness initiatives, your own observations, belong in the comments.Possibly Related Posts:

Fourfecta! Java, IoT, Making and Raspi

Wed, 2014-06-18 15:36

Here comes more Maker content for your reading pleasure, this time it’s an OTN piece on Java and the Internet of Things:

A Perfect Match: Java and the Internet of Things

The piece features lots of Noel (@noelportugal) wisdom, on making, on IoT, on the Raspi and on Java, his own personal fourfecta. If you’re scanning (shame on you), look for the User Experience and the Internet of Things section.

Here’s a very Noel quote:

“Java powers the internet, our banks, and retail enterprises—it’s behind the scenes everywhere,” remarks Portugal. “So we can apply the same architectures, security, and communication protocols that we use on the enterprise to an embedded device. I have used Arduino, but it would be hard to start a web server with it. But with Raspberry Pi, I can run a server, or, for example, use general-purpose I/O where I can connect sensors. The point is that developers can translate their knowledge of Java from developing on the enterprise to embedded things.”

For those attending Kscope14 next week, come find us for the in-person version and see IFTTPi, the fourfecta in action.Possibly Related Posts:

Find Us at Kscope14 Next Week in Seattle

Tue, 2014-06-17 12:44

Kscope14 (#kscope14), the annual conference of the Oracle Development Tools User Group, affectionately ODTUG (@odtug), will happen next week in beautiful Seattle, June 22 to June 26.

The good people at ODTUG have graciously invited me back as a speaker for the 2014 vintage, and Anthony (@anthonyslai) will be my wingman for our session, Oracle Cloud and the New Frontier of User Experience.

Here are the particulars:

Title: Oracle Cloud and the New Frontier of User Experience
When: Monday, June 23, 2014, Session 1, 10:45 am – 11:45 am
Abstract
A wristband that can unlock and start your car based on a unique cardiac rhythm. Head-mounted displays that layer digital information over reality. Computers, robots, drones, and more controlled with a wave of the hand or a flick of the wrist. Everyday objects connected to the Internet that convey information in an ambient way. Fully functional computers on tiny sticks. Invisible fences that control the flow of data. Science fiction isn’t fiction anymore, and people aren’t tied to PCs and desks. Everything is a device, everything is connected, everything is smart, and everything is an experience. Come see the R&D work of Oracle’s Applications User Experience team and explore new devices, trends, and platforms.

Noel (@noelportugal) will be tagging along as well, and I think we’ll have a scaled-down, but still fun, version of the IFTTPi activity the guys showed at the Maker Faire last month.

So, if you want to hear about and see the emerging technologies R&D coming out of Oracle Applications User Experience (@usableapps), try out Google Glass, Leap Motion, various wearables, play with the Sphero, or just say hi, come find us in Seattle.

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Maker Movement Fuels the Internet of Things

Mon, 2014-06-16 15:01

The Java Team recently released a short video compiling selected moments from last month’s MakerCon and Maker Faire. If you recall, we were lucky to be invited to participate in both events, both of which were tons of fun, enlightening and inspiring.

At 0:33 you’ll see the some of the guys hamming it up for the camera, and Jeremy’s (@jrwashley) keynote at MakerCon is featured prominently as a voiceover.

Enjoy.

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Google Glass and First World Problems

Mon, 2014-06-16 10:28

If you have Google Glass, you’ve probably seen this card a few times.

glassmustcooldown

After a while, you begin to expect the card when your right temple starts to get uncomfortably warm. Apparently, Anthony (@anthonyslai), our resident Glass expert and long-time Glass Explorer, has a protip to handle this problem, two cans of cold soda.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 12.57.39 AM

Ultan’s (@ultan) Glass cooling off

I guess Ultan (@ultan) first encountered this clever solution while Anthony was presenting at the EchoUser Wearables Design Jam a couple weeks ago.

Now I have an efficient way to solve this decidedly First World Problem.

9lwxbPossibly Related Posts: