Will Gov Embrace & Adopt Wearable Tech?

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Scott Kearby 6 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #181759

    David B. Grinberg

    We’ve all heard the saying, the future is now. This is becoming especially applicable to wearable technology such as Google Glass and smart watches, to cite two examples.

    Several recent articles touch on this incrementally emerging trend:


    1) Should the federal government embrace and adopt wearable tech? Why or why not?

    2) What benefits would wearable tech bring to the federal workplace in terms of productivity, effectiveness, efficiency and cost savings for taxpayers?

    3) Would wearable tech enhance communication, citizen engagement and customer service?

    4) Will feds once again be left behind the private sector to play catch up when it comes to wearable tech?

    5) What are the security concerns regarding wearable tech and how do they differ from those of current smart technology tools already is use gov-wide?

    Thank you for sharing your opinions, analysis and insights.


  • #181795

    Scott Kearby

    1. I have had government provided “wearable tech” for some time … first it was a flip phone, then a blackberry, and now a smartphone! Originally I could only communicate by voice, now I can communicate with audio, video, photo, text. I can navigate, calculate, manipulate data, control remote devices, and more ..

    2. Benefits are TBD

    3. Depends on who is wearing the tech … but in the right hands, there are lots of possibilities for improvement.

    4. Not sure feds are always behind … after all some of the first computers were in government, the internet grew from early government roots, GPS, microwaves, radar, and lots of other tech advances have benefited from association with government.

    5. To quote BG John Sattler USMC -“At any given time, two thirds of the world’s population is awake, and some of them are up to no good.” He was talking about terrorists, but it applies equally to those who target information.

  • #181793

    Mark Hammer

    I would imagine there will be some folks for whom “wearable tech” is a long-awaited solution to enduring problems they face. For instance, many of those who are on-site inspectors of physical facilities could appreciate having as many hands free as possible, in order to measure, log, and search.

    But for the the rest of us, there is no real value added. Myself, I’ve done just fine without any mobile device in my personal or working life, and expect to live out the rest of my working and non-working days without one (if you don’t count the little tablet I have for playing mah jong on the bus or looking at hobby-related technical drawings).

    Would wearable tech enhance communication, citizen engagement and customer service? The last thing one wants to do is raise citizen expectations even further, and then not meet them.

  • #181791

    Julie Chase

    Wearable? We can’t even get away from our antiquated desk tops with no storage and loads of security bloatware slowing our daily system applications down to a crawl. I really don’t relish the idea of being tethered to Uncle Sam 24/7. Do I see it in the future for gov employees? Sure….but for many of us…the work day ends by 4 pm.

  • #181789

    Henry Brown

    Basically, I agree with the speaker as SXSW in Austin Texas “I don’t think wearable technology has found its niche,” Manning added during a panel session Monday at the SXSW Interactive conference. “We all know we want it, but we don’t know what we want it to do yet. We’re all waiting for someone to solve that problem, but, unfortunately, Steve [Jobs] is gone.

    Read some more about wearing Technology : Naked Truths” About Wearable Electronics from IEEE

  • #181787

    David B. Grinberg

    Mr. Hammer, to what sir do I owe this honor?

    Thanks, as always, Mark for sharing your often brilliant comments. Please know your feedback is greatly appreciated. I like the example you used about the on-site inspectors. That really makes a lot of good sense. You also make an excellent point about lowering expectations to avoid over promising and under delivering.

    Regarding your other comments, I too sometimes wax nostaligic about the old-school days before the high-tech digital/mobile revolution. But come on, Mark, are you sure you’re only using that tablet for playing games? You mean no research or reading of books and news — no Kindle?

    Wow, that’s not easy to do these days, especially for Millennialls — who were born with cell phones attached at the hip. Funny thing, cell phones are already so yesterday that some people are embarrassed or feel denigrating for using a flip phone.

    Anyway, I think new-age wearable tech, like Google Glass and whatever comes thereafter, will serve countless industries, employees and the general public.

    Moreover, I think the day as fast approaching, relatively speaking, when large populations of smart robots will just be another novelty — for better or worse. Thoughts?

  • #181785

    David B. Grinberg

    Julie: many thanks, as always, for sharing your valuable thoughts. That term “bloatware” is very funny! Also, at least you get to go home early — although I’m sure your day begins well before the crack of dawn.

  • #181783

    David B. Grinberg

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments, Scott, I really appreciate the feedback.

    Thanks especially for mentioning #4 which is a significant point. Also, I particularly like #5 as well. It’s clear the the USA in general and fed/state/local govs in particular, need beef up their cyber security systems — and fast.

  • #181781

    Julie Chase

    That’s cuz you all make the big bucks up there. It’s above my pay grade. Im just a lil ol worker bee at the bottom of the civil service food chain. 7 am sharp. 30 minute commute. ..from my driveway to the building where I work. No tolls, light traffic…and if it snows…lots of admin days off. ; o)

  • #181779

    David B. Grinberg

    Julie, at the risk of waxing philosophical on you, each one us is a “lil ol worker bee” in the grand scheme of life and the cosmos.

    Although, believe you-me, the rush hour traffic in the DC-metro area is usually an absolute nightmare of frustration and road rage — at least to those who can’t keep their cool and drive like idiots.

    Lastly, winter appears to be going out with a bang.



  • #181777

    David B. Grinberg

    Henry, great to hear from you, sir. Thanks so much for sharing that interesting article. The photo is quite provocative. I suppose that’s what they call stage craft.

    I actually disagree with Mr. Manning’s analysis. It appears to me that there are a countless number of beneficial uses for Google Glass and/or other wearable tech across a wide range of industries. I suppose the fashion industry is lagging and shouldn’t really matter much anyway, other than for sales and profits by corporate America to make CEOs super rich.

    I think the most practical and beneficial uses will be in the areas of medicine, science and research, among others. The technology just needs to be perfected, which should come in due time.

    Again, many thanks for the awesome feedback!

  • #181775

    Mark Hammer

    I do shop for apps once in a blue moon, mostly out of guilt and a sense that I’m supposed to be missing something, but don’t really find anything of any use, apart from maybe better calculators. I bought the thing to look at electronic schematics. Seriously. That is my leisure reading. I was originally thinking of just buying one of those digital picture frame things for that purpose, but tablets had more storage capacity, and a better ability to handle the 10G and tens of thousands of schematic files and components datasheets I have, so I went and bought a cheap off-brand tablet. If the wireless router worked better in my house, I probably wouldn’t use the tablet for surfing or e-mail since the virtual keyboard, even on an 8″ screen, is exasperating. I tried reading on it, but I like books and printed articles better, not to mention a larger screen, though it does come in handy when there’s a Youtube I want to show my wife and she doesn’t feel like getting up off the couch to come see it. So, the shoulder bag to work contains a tablet, a lunch, and a pile of printed material. I don’t tweet. I don’t Facebook, or Reddit, or Pinterest, or Google Plus, or have much of a Linkedin profile, or any of those other things. I don’t have a laptop or cellphone, and have never felt the need for any for work purposes. I can’t think of a single thing I would need any sort of portable mobile device for, for work purposes. And since I have only been able to amass about 50G of content in my life (and even that contains some redundancies), leaving plenty of spare room on my 200G hard drive, I don’t “cloud” either. I understand that all that stuff is important to some folks, but there are a whole lot of people who can lead busy productive lives without it, and I’m one of them.

    There is a store I shop at in Toronto, occasionally, that carries a lot of the wearable computing stuff, all those Arduino “lillypads” and such, and I browse the Sparkfun site now and then. But after I mutter “Well, THAT’s interesting”, I ask myself “What the hell would I actually DO with it?”, and the answer is “I have absolutely no idea”.

    The Canadian comedy show Corner Gas had an episode where the main character and the male police officer in their small town were competing to see who had the smaller cellphone. The women would assure them that “it’s not how small it is, but how well it works”. Undeterred by these assurances, they each go to lengths to purchase smaller and smaller phones, until finally they both whip them out on the counter and measure them. I don’t think the Freudian dimensions of that competition were lost on anyone.

  • #181773

    David B. Grinberg

    Interesting article on Google Glass and Gov — credit to FCN for tweeting it.

    According to FedScoop:

    • “Augmented Advocacy is considered the first political Glass app launched. How it works? If someone is wearing Glass and approaches a major federal government building around Washington D.C., a notification pops up on the display about who the department head is, what the department’s budget is and a link to the agency’s contact page.”
    • “Mutualink is a network development firm banking on Glass as a way to foster better communications among government entities. Based in Connecticut with offices around the globe, the company’s work has focused on bridging communications between federal, state and local agencies, especially in emergency contexts when officials want to share a blend of different media.”
    • THOUGHTS???
  • #181771

    Katharine Greenlee

    Hi David,

    I found a great response to a question on the Knowledge Network that is chock-full of ideas of potential applications for incorporating wearable technology into local government. You can review the conversation here: http://icma.org/en/icma/knowledge_network/kn/Question/22587

    Very best,

    Katharine Greenlee

    Community Engagement Manager, ICMA

  • #181769

    David B. Grinberg

    Katharine, thanks so much for taking the time to contribute such awesome and relevant information to this discussion. That was very thoughtful of you. Your valuable feedback is always appreciated!

  • #181767

    Henry Brown

    Interesting and Related blog posting from theNY Times Bit Blog:

    Daily Report: Airlines Use Wearables to Get More Personal

    At a time when many airline “innovations” — like charging extra for an aisle seat or cutting back on frequent flier benefits — might anger more than amaze, carriers like Virgin Atlantic and Qantas are using wearable devices and other technology to get closer to their customers, Nicola Clark reports.

    Virgin Atlantic’s use of Google Glass headsets, as well as Sony smart watches worn by its Heathrow lounge staff, are part of a six-week experiment that began last month, and are among ways that some airlines are harnessing data about premium-class travelers in a quest to provide an ever more personal service. (Even if some of the techniques strike travelers as perhaps overly personal.)

  • #181765

    David B. Grinberg

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Henry. It’s a very interesting and informative perspective. Perhaps a glimpse of what’s coming soon to the major airlines, etc. It appears that Richard Branson is always breaking new ground with high-tech innovations. Can’t wait to find out what he has next in store!

  • #181763

    Henry Brown

    Here is a google YouTube Video that perhaps proves you at least partially correct

    Am having a great deal of trouble believing that Mr. Manning was far enough out of the loop that Google announcement came only 3 weeks after SXSW…

    Here is a column from ZD Net which discusses the Google Announcement

    Android Wear — wearable devices built around relevance

    Summary: Google is able to offer something with Android Wear that no other player, big like Apple or small like Pebble, can offer. And that’s why it’ll win…

    A lot of people, rather disparagingly, call Google an “advertising company”. Sure, advertising is how they monetise what they do, but the real business they are in is this:

    They’re in the relevance business.

    Having seen the light I can see all kind of relevance in the government sector, although as with any new technology it comes with a price (in this case some perceived sense of loss of privacy)

  • #181761

    David B. Grinberg

    Thanks so much, Henry, for sharing that valuable information — much obliged for your exemplary contributions to this discussion.

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