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DorobekINSIDER Live: Wearable Technology — Let Fashion Rule

A special edition of GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER was held Wednesday. We’re LIVE! We host these events once each month this year. The idea is simple: get smart people together and share ideas — because we believe that the real power of information comes when it is shared.

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David Fletcher, Utah’s CTO, helped launch the transit-tracking app OnTimefor Google Glass earlier this year. It notifies transit riders in real-time when their vehicle is approaching from their glassware. It’s the first state government wearable tech app enabling citizens to track public transportation.

But wearables aren’t new to the state of Utah — they’ve been involved in bracelets, GPS, and tracking parolees since 2004. It seems that the public interest is just now catching up with Utah.

On the latest DorobekINSIDER Live, Chris Dorobek spoke with David Fletcher, Chief Technology Officer for the state of Utah, and discussed the future of wearables in the public and private sector.

“Wearable technology is a huge opportunity to provide better online experiences for our citizens. And where better to focus than on mobile services where so much of what we do today can be augmented by technology,” said Fletcher.

Wearbles are a technology full of potential, but still lack abundant support because, frankly, many don’t understand it.

“Wearables aren’t consumer driven at this point,” said Fletcher. But he doesn’t believe that should stop agencies from investing in experimentation. “We can’t afford to take months researching and figuring out how to integrate new technology.”

Fletcher views wearables as an extension of mobile devices. “You can integrate both technologies with the same backend systems. The great thing about them is that if they’re designed well you can integrate them with what you already have,” he said. For example, Google Glass was designed on the Android platform and can be incorporated with one’s smartphone.

“Wearables present an opportunity for more efficiency that we can’t realize today. Opportunities for health, finances, fitness, anything with our aging population — all areas can benefit from these devices,” said Fletcher.

The CTO has a clear message to organizations considering the integration of wearables into their future plans. “ Just do it! It’s a good platform and an opportunity to create additional communities that you might not find elsewhere. If it’s not widely successful then we’ll learn from it and do better next time. People tend to be hesitant toward new technologies. We want to jump in and get our feet wet so we’re ready for the next iteration.”

“We can’t afford to take months researching and figuring out how to integrate new technology,” said Fletcher.

Sometimes, you can’t just gently test the waters when the best course of action is to just dive in and let the public react.

Do you agree with David Fletcher’s views on wearables?

  • Would you like to see your agency invest in wearables like Google Glass?
  • Would you ever personally purchase a pair?
  • Is it all just hype?

Let us know in the comments section below.

* This presentation was brought to you by: Brocade, HP and ESVA and IBM, business partner.

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