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Wearing a watch just got a whole lot smarter

You may ask yourself why you would need wearable technology when you can just use your phone - is there any point?

Well, 71 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds actually want wearable tech, which includes devices like watches, smart wristbands and Google Glass.

So what’s all the fuss about? Why would I want wearable tech and how could I use it innovatively in a business context?

After researching the market, three months ago I purchased a Pebble Smart Watch (opens in new tab). This product was born from a Kickstarter project in 2012 and boasts a range of innovative and flexible features, at a very reasonable price.

At home, I use a range of apps including a fit app to monitor my running - distance run, time taken, calories burned - a sleep monitor which keeps me on track, and I even play the odd game. I immediately started using Smart Watch apps at work to pair with my phone (via Bluetooth) so I could see meetings in my calendar, reminders, text messages, missed calls and Tweets.

I also used it straight away to send texts like, ‘I’m running late for that meeting’. What will surprise you about your first Smart Watch, is that you’ll wonder how you ever survived without one!

So, what are the commercial applications for wearable tech?

Earlier this year, at one of our 24-hour hackathons (an event where computer programmers and software developers collaborate intensively on software projects), we prototyped a Google Glass ‘Glass Field’ app that allows front-line field support technicians to provide expert level knowledge through speech recognition.

For example, just by saying: "OK Glass, I need help… diagnose fault" for the product they are looking at (in our case it was a fridge), they get the assistance they need.

The Glass plays an instructional video for the product and then the technician can interact with the product to get information by saying instructions such as “ice dispenser not working”. This can also be extended to video-call third line support at head office. This technology can reduce field support costs and improve service levels and efficiency.

The business opportunities and benefits for Google Glass are exciting, and we will continue to innovate in this area.

At G2G3 we develop simulations and serious games. We are investigating the potential of integrating wearable tech into our products to enhance the human engagement and simulation experience.

We are investigating ways to monitor heart rates of people attending our simulation programmes to measure stress levels and how to interact with gamification platforms using Smart Watches.

A recent announcement in this area is the much anticipated Apple Watch. Apple is already inviting developers to develop apps using their WatchKit (opens in new tab) ahead of the launch next year, which will help companies like G2G3 get a head start in the market place.

But there is much more to wearable tech than just Smart Watches and the Google Glass. Our team is always researching and keeping a close eye on emerging applications, from a Sonar Watch (opens in new tab) for the blind, auto-lace trainers (opens in new tab) without batteries, smart clothes (opens in new tab) and even devices that change your mood with a zap to the head. We are already really looking forward to being innovative at our next jam.

As for the future - what does it hold? The personal and business applications of wearable tech are compelling. They are driving an evolution in the way in which technology integrates with, and enhances, our daily lives.

Jon Binnie is chief technology officer at G2G3 (opens in new tab).