Wearable teach takes off in the enterprise

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For all the hype about wearable tech, I have yet to observe evidence of its popularity. Apart from fitness enthusiasts sporting performance-tracking wristbands, wearable devices don’t seem to have taken off on a grand scale. At least, compared to mobile and tablets, there has not been mass adoption of wearable devices.

In terms of wearable tech for enterprises, though, the future looks more promising. In the work environment, enterprise wearables can boost employee efficiency by allowing them to access data and instructions while leaving their hands free to handle tools, machines and equipment. Maybe this is the point: whereas the function and benefit of wearable tech for the business environment is clear, consumers still don’t see the point of them in daily life.

One company that is a pioneer in the development of enterprise wearables is the Japanese multinational, Fujitsu, the world's third-largest IT services provider after IBM and HP. Last week, at the Tokyo International Forum, consumers were able to have hands-on experience with prototypes of wearable devices embedded with Ubiquitousware, developed by Fujitsu.

Just days before, the company revealed the Fujitsu loT Solution, an Internet-of-Things package that senses the status of people and things in their surroundings and analyzes the information to provide real-time, actionable data to businesses.

No more furtive smoke breaks

The Ubiquitous Location Badge is a wearable tag the size of a stamp that detects changes in location, posture and heat. The tag transmits data using Bluetooth Low Energy and is designed to be worn on wristbands, lapels or breast pockets.

Wearing this tag, employers will know exactly where workers are, what conditions they are working under, and even if they are carrying a too heavy load or standing in a place where they might fall. In fact, they will be alerted immediately if a worker has fallen. This real-time monitoring can avoid accidents in places like warehouses.

Other applications of the device include the monitoring of patients and the elderly.

Keeping track of workers’ physical well-being

Fujitsu’s Vital-sign Sensing Bands transmit data related to temperature, humidity, movements, and pulse from a sensor worn on the wrist to ensure a worker’s physical well-being. Worn by workers in construction, manufacturing, or agriculture, this can be used to estimate heat stress from the surrounding environment, whether the wearer is taking breaks, and their physical status. It can also be used to detect falls or other accidents, to respond to them more quickly, and to make the workplace safer.

Long-haul truck drivers won’t fall asleep behind the wheel

Targeted at the transportation industry, the ICT FEELythm wearable device, has a sensor that is attached to the driver's earlobe and monitors the driver's pulse through a proprietary algorithm developed by Fujitsu engineers. It gauges levels of alertness and drowsiness using the pulse monitoring, and issue alerts as soon as the results indicate the driver is getting drowsy. The sensor is connected to a device that is worn around the neck.

High tech support tool for infrastructure maintenance and assembly work

Revealed to the public at the Tokyo International Forum last week, the Fujitsu IoT Solution Ubiquitousware Head Mounted Display is a wearable device for enterprises. The HMD features a 0.4-inch display, a camera, two microphones, and various sensors, which can be operated with a wearable keyboard or by voice. Constructed to be tough and for ease of use in challenging environments, the product is water- and dust-resistant for outdoor applications.

For infrastructure inspections or factory assembly work, the display allows safe and accurate hands-free task support in the form of images, video, and audio. Remote support from skilled operators means the work can be done by inexperienced employees.

The Ubiquitousware HMD went on sale last week. Location badges, vital-sign sensing bands, and other products will be rolled out beginning December 2015.

Fujitsu has put its Human-Centric IoT platform at the disposal of its customers to try out their ideas for IoT applications using Fujitsu sensors, networks, middleware and applications.