How wearables can change the big data game

Before big data flooded the IT market, it used to be that you just woke up "on the wrong side of the bed." With modern devices like smartwatches and Google Glass at our disposal, there's now a scientific feed of information that proves not only did you have a tough night's sleep, but that this is also a trend when you sleep on your back.

Integrating cloud computing into our everyday lives is just the first step in establishing the Internet of Things (IoT), or making big data feedback in one's private and professional life as normal as a Diet Coke at lunchtime. Here are just a few ways that technology-infused wearables can make the way you work more efficient than ever.

Test drive wearables at home
Many users begin their journey with wearables by buying a product like a smartwatch for their own personal needs, then later realize the practical purpose they have in an office environment. According to a recent editorial piece from Forbes contributor Jenny Dearborn, many users purchase their first gadget with their health in mind - the Polar wristband has become an incredibly popular consumer tool that tracks heart rate, distance run and other analytics to give runners feedback on their workout.

Before wearables are brought into the business and into the general cloud infrastructure, make sure that it's a user-friendly option that makes sense for the average worker. VentureBeat writer Ross Rubin wrote a recent piece detailing the convenience of wearables when used to inform and feed data across other platforms like desktop computers, tablets and cell phones. For companies that need feedback fast, big data tools may be the way to go.

Share wearables with your staff and customers
Dearborn warned project managers who hope to integrate the product into their office to form a viable plan for its uses before the first employee opens the box.

"Your employees are more likely to embrace tools that improve their safety or effectiveness vs. being monitored without purpose," she explained. "And create metrics for your metrics. An app that tracks informal social interactions within a work team sounds great, but if using it never results in improved productivity or morale, then move on to the next idea."

If wearables don't make sense for staffers, they may be put to better use as a way of collecting customer data, similar to the old practices of aggregating radio listening and television watching metrics. When a consumer's every move and habit are monitored by a smartwatch, glasses or other tool, a company can use big data to extract and analyze the information relevant to its product to make future decisions. Those willing to participate in the non-invasive study can be compensated or - even better - be allowed to keep the cool gadget that was keeping track of them in the first place.

As the general public continues to figure out where wearables fit into their daily lives, businesses can assess whether using big data on a small scale is best for their bottom line.

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