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Can Wearable Technology Improve Government Services?

Wearable technology is an emerging global market with exciting momentum. According to market research generated by IDC and reported by the Los Angeles Times, shipment volumes for wearable technology are expected to exceed 19 million units in 2014, more than tripling sales from 2013. We’ve experienced an explosion of wearable devices on the market, with Google Glass, Samsung Galaxy Gear and Apple’s iWatch receiving the most attention based on the brand reputation of their companies and their consumer-friendly nature. As wearable technology has increased in popularity, its adoption has spread to new markets such as government and healthcare, with the implications just scratching the surface of the technology’s potential.

In the government sector, this new technology has seen its most successful implementation to date in military and healthcare-based settings. Military personnel have a slim margin of error, and the importance of tracking and communication cannot be overstated. The military has seen a rise in smart clothing and sensors for such purposes as location and condition monitoring to determine physical health and conditioning. According to Wearable Tech World, BAE Systems is developing a high-tech headset system that will allow military personnel to live-stream 3D maps of battlefields and different drone feeds, among other features. We can envision a future when smart clothing and wearable devices can help snipers know the best time to fire by giving them insight into their physical conditions like their heart rate, and if they are shaking or perspiring, ultimately improving accuracy.

Wearable technology has found another logical partner in the healthcare industry, where it is revolutionizing operations by providing real-time access to electronic health records and assisting doctors in the operating room, according to the Huffington Post. As stated in a VentureBeat article, Stanford University physicians used Google Glass to view an augmented reality display that illustrated the procedure step-by-step with images superimposed over the skin of the human model. The technology is part of the growing field of telemedicine and enables doctors to monitor vital signs and provide diagnoses remotely.

While wearable technology has already made an impact in military and healthcare, plenty of opportunities still exist elsewhere in any industry, namely call centers. The technology could be embedded in headphones and used to make operations remote and adaptable, enabling agents to conduct work from home instead of just from the office. It could also assist agents when they are answering service calls and to be able to multitask with virtual displays to rapidly solve constituent issues.

Less than a decade ago, we couldn’t have imagined the impact that smartphones would have in today’s society. Today, we anxiously await the future for wearable technologies in government agencies, where many unexplored and beneficial opportunities await.

About the Author

Charles (Chuck) Brooks serves as Vice President/Client Executive for DHS at Xerox. Xerox is a global product and services company that serves clients in 160 countries. Chuck served in government at the Department of Homeland Security as the first Director of Legislative Affairs for the Science & Technology Directorate. He also spent six years on Capitol Hill as a Senior Advisor to the late Senator Arlen Specter and was Adjunct Faculty Member at Johns Hopkins University where he taught homeland security and Congress. Chuck has an MA in International relations from the University of Chicago, and a BA in Political Science from DePauw University. Chuck is published on the subjects of innovation, public/private partnerships, emerging technologies, and issues of cybersecurity.

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