Wearables

Wearable Technologies in the Health Enterprise

Wearable technology has been on the horizon in the tech world for the past several years, but has often been viewed as a gimmick or expensive novelty item. Yet this futuristic trend has seen recent break outs in the areas of health and fitness, namely with wrist type wearables such as Fitbit and the Apple Watch.

Many of these devices are packed with everything you might find in a larger tablet, but miniaturized. Touchscreen technology combined with large amounts of memory are now being offered in a lightweight, wrist held package. These devices often offer WiFi, GPS, camera, microphone, and the GBs of storage we have grown accustomed to in our modern lives.

Yet the wearable market is poised to open into newer and broader fronts with the advent of "smart" clothing. Most smart clothing looks and feels similar to normal clothing but with sensors embedded into the fabric in such a minute fashion that the wearer is often unable to tell they are there.

Behind this smart clothing idea is the premise that they can be embedded with sensors that are then connected wirelessly to smartphones. They will then relay a variety of information to the user about their fitness and health regimens.

Recently, running socks have been launched that can track your runs better than a fitness tracker on your wrist. These socks have three pressure sensors embedded into them that track your pace, distance and time during a workout. This data can then be analyzed to give you tips on how to improve your exercise, improve exercise efficiency and help you to avoid injury. 

Whole body clothing is being developed that goes even further. These full body outfits track what muscles are being worked the hardest during your workouts. This technology is useful for people who want to efficiently work on a certain part or muscle area in their body and don't have the time to spend on traditional full body workouts.

This is a growing area that has not yet been exploited by marketing, and offers a unique position for a new businesses trying to break into the technological market. As the world becomes more connected, the devices we use daily have become so as well. This has wearable technology is traveling into new and unknown territory for marketers to adventure. 

Smart Badge Technologies in the Enterprise Work to Improve Businesses

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Wearable technologies in the enterprise serve to improve business processes in many effective and creative ways. A simple badge the size of a credit card recently released by Netclearance serves as an excellent paradigm. Though the initial reaction to the term ' wearable technology' may lead some to imaginative conclusions, the technology is real and ground-breaking. With ever evolving advantages to enterprise, from their bottom-lines to the efficiency of their operations, wearable technology is proving its value everyday in the business world.

What may appear as a simple badge that identifies the wearer, upon further examination reveals a highly complex communication device. Embedded in the badge's, or mBeaconCard, manufacture is a Near Field Communication module and a Bluetooth Low Energy radio. Though an observer may see just a picture and wording, the badge is actually a transmission tool sending data packets to Netclearance's mBeaconGW, or IoT gateway. 

More than just being able to track an employee's movement and location within several feet, the badge finds use in tracking goods as they travel through a facility. Security and timing underscore this function. Knowing where goods and individuals are in the enterprise's facility is always an important concern.

As a convenience, an individual can use the badge to buy goods. 

The BLE also interfaces with, as reported by IOT Journal, "Netclearance's mCloud Content Management System software [and] is used to collect and manage the data transmitted by the badge, and from there it can be sent to Netclearance's business application or analytics software." This clearly indicates that the badge belongs to an integrated system with the potential to update and analyze facts as they change real-time. This also includes third-party applications and analytical platforms.

With an eye on the need to adjust in the facility's environment, smartphone communication is possible with the proper software.  With the NFC reader capabilities, the technology finds utility at the room-level for tracking in large facilities. 

The capabilities continue to expand. Already Netclearance offers a vibration sensor and magnetic sensor using an embedded accelerometer. This technology employs trigger tracking. As the name suggest, a motion or contact event must occur before the badge triggers the software or application systems by transmitting the required data.

Benefits Reported for Wearable Technologies in the Enterprise

Wearable technologies in the enterprise are providing advances in productivity like never before. For now, assisted reality is the here and now in the enterprise. Augmented reality gets everyone's heart pumping but the enterprise is not quite ready for it yet. Instead, focusing on wearables that free up the hands of employees and move those operations that required recording information on a tablet or other device to a wearable technology should be today's focus.

Wearable technologies are demonstrating new, increasing benefits all the time. From being able to offer real-time reporting to significantly reducing time that used to be spent in audits, they are beneficial to employer and employee alike. Employers now have access to productivity at any given moment throughout the day and are even able to detect if an employee is overtired. Employees appreciate having one less thing to track daily. Processes that previously were tedious in reporting and tracking are now captured immediately and with more precision. This increases the effectiveness of reporting that in the past would sometimes be postponed until time became available to stop and record either in a computer, tablet or written form. 

The industry of wearable technology now hosts an event whose sole purpose is to educate enterprises on the use of wearable technology in the workplace. In regards to efficiency, a study released by Rackspace, The Human Cloud at Work, concluded that employees that utilized wearables at work became 8.5% more productive and 3.5% more satisfied with their jobs. Wearable technologies are not a thing of the future. They are here now and although it is just the beginning of things to come, initial indicators show increased satisfaction and performance on both the employer and employee's part.

The Netclearance Smart Badge (mBeacon Card) is a wearable identity badge. Its primary purpose is to support indoor tracking and access control and payments among other workplace applications. This technology will allow for fewer identification sources that are currently being utilized. 

Wearable Technologies in the Enterprise Give Businesses a Competitive Edge

Wearable technologies are the next evolutionary step in computing. Businesses are already finding a multitude of ways to profit from them, and the wave is just beginning.

Wearable Sensors Enable Physioletics to Improve Workplace Efficiency

Frederick Taylor would have loved to have been able to monitor the efficiency of workers with wearable sensors. Tesco uses armbands to track how workers are transporting goods in their warehouse. Employees like it because it saves them from having to carry and fill out clipboards of paperwork.

Some Wearables Even Track Worker Health and Fatigue

The technologies are not only about efficiency. In the construction industry, now sensors can notice when a backhoe driver's head falls forward or their back slumps. That indicates they're tired or even that they experienced a "microsleep," where they actually did fall asleep for a fractional second. When operating heavy equipment, that's plenty long enough for a mistake that could cost somebody an injury or their life. Therefore, if the continues to work, they're at greater risk of an injury. Some wearables can track such longterm health indicators as rates of breath and heart beats per minutes.

Displaying Hands-Free Data

20 years ago, Boeing began using technology that allowed pilots to see critical information without having to glance down at dials. Now, many technicians from wire assemblers to plumbers can access instructions without having to use their hands to thumb through instruction manuals. Some smartglasses allow the workers to talk one-on-one with a remote expert.

An EEG headband developed by Melon may help knowledge and creative workers by monitoring their brain waves to determine when they are about to have a new idea and to track at what times of day or under what circumstances they are most productive.

Increasing Security

One obvious use of wearable technology is to monitor employee locations. Along with that, it could track visitors to make certain they remain within authorized areas. Employees with authorization could enter restricted areas with less hassle over identification. It could also keep them away from areas under construction or repair.

Protecting Police, Firefighters and Soldiers

Police are wearing technologies to track their activities to better respond to allegations of abuse. One city in California had complaints against police drop by 88 percent. And police in trouble no longer have to call on their radios or rely on a citizen to call 911 if they're unable to. The military can also track activity as well, to respond more quickly when someone attacks soldiers. Sensors can let firefighters know when they're approaching dangerous levels of heat and gas.

Many Employees Like the New Technologies

According to Goldsmiths, University of London, these new technologies improve employee satisfaction by 3.5%. That's from a survey taken of 4,000 adults in the United States and the United Kingdom. One out of every three reported that wearable technologies had enhanced their careers.

Netclearance has launched a suite of wearables for the enterprise including the mBeaconSense and the employee mBeaconCard badges that can help monitor employees and visitors. It also works as a way for employees as a way to signal for help during emergencies. Wearable technologies in business enterprises are here, and are going to become mainstream in the years ahead.

LoT - Location of Things - Making Sense of IoT Data

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The world is awash in smart devices.  So much so that at times, these devices seem to dominate every aspect of life.  The city of Augsburg in Germany has gone so far as to embed traffic lights in the pavement, because "Pedestrians were so busy looking at their smartphones that they were ignoring traffic lights," according to an article by Rick Noack dated April 25, 2016 in washingtonpost.com titled "This city embedded traffic lights in the sidewalks so smartphone users don't have to look up."

Smartphones, smart engines, smart aircraft, smart cars, smart UPS delivery trucks, smart gas meters, smart Johnny Walker Blue Label whiskey labels, smart trash collection equipment, and smart cow locating/monitoring equipment...these are just some of the examples of the IoT as reported by Christina Mercer in the April 2016 issue of computerworldUK.com.   It's safe to say that the IoT is just getting started; the list of applications and devices and smart technology of all forms will only continue to grow.  She goes on to say, "Reports suggest there will be 25 billion internet-connected things by 2020..."

Behold the next major wave of development to follow the IoT:  It is called LoT -- Location of Things:  "When a concept is as far-reaching as the Internet of Things (IoT) — involving literally billions of elements — we need principles for organizing and making sense of the data it communicates.  That’s where an emerging IoT subcategory known the “location of things” comes into play. Location is a vital dimension of the IoT concept that encompasses the ability of “things” to sense and communicate their geographic position," from a blog by Christian Lundquist published on April 26, 2016 in internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com.

Of course we are familiar with GPS technology and search engines such as MapQuest, Bing, Google, etc., that help immensely with zeroing in on out-of-doors locations.  However, "Lots of our devices and sensors — along with other assets, people and content — are inside buildings, where GPS has no real reach. That’s where indoor positioning systems (IPS) are creating the next big buzz within the location of things. As IPS technology continues to be enhanced and as more apps that harness its power become available, we’ll see a slew of new data becoming part of the location of things," from the same article quoted above.  

For the business decision maker it quickly becomes apparent that such technology affords tremendous advantages.  If let's say you are warehousing and distributing large stores of Johnny Walker Blue Label whiskey, a smart label on each bottle might be very helpful in certain circumstances.  Same thing for very expensive equipment and tools -- if you happen to be in charge of a big factory or machine shop or warehouse, wouldn't you want to, for example:

-Understand where your high value assets are located at all times.

-Know where your vehicles are, all over the plant.

-Help keep your operating costs down with insight into how to improve logistics management and operating processes.

-Keep track of the 10,000 pallets you just shipped and to your factory's distribution center.

--From the NC_brochure_logistics_091815, downloaded from netclearance.com/industries.

Manage your assets and improve your logistics with superior insight -- using technology from Netclearance, at the cutting edge of the LoT - Location of Things.

Please contact us for more information about real-time tracking of high value assets and inventory, and about business intelligence, mobile customer engagement, and other workplace management solutions .  Thank you. 

 

 

Smart Badge to Power Workforce IoT Applications

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Netclearance, a maker of multi-sensor beacons and software designed for a range of business applications, such as optimizing workflows and tracking assets, has introduced a new product called the mBeaconCard. Approximately the size of a credit card, the mBeaconCard contains a Near Field Communication (NFC) module, as well as a Bluetooth radio. It can be used not just as an identity card or badge, but also to enable workers to make purchases using its NFC module, as well as to track the locations of employees on job premises, by utilizing the card's Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radio. Alternatively, the card could also be mounted to high-value mobile assets and be used to track their indoor locations.

The basic mBeaconCard configuration contains a microprocessor, a BLE radio and an NFCmodule. But customers can also order a version that comes with an embeddedaccelerometer, a vibration sensor and a magnetic sensor—either a compass or a reed switch—in order to support a wider range of applications, such as those requiring movement to trigger tracking.

The BLE radio is used to transmit sensor data or information written to the mBeaconCard's 2 kilobytes of memory, explains David Fernandez, Netclearance's founder and CEO. It transmits data packets to mBeaconGW, Netclearance's beacon gateway appliance, or to nearby smartphones running the Netclearance mobile application.

Netclearance's mCloud Content Management System software is used to collect and manage the data transmitted by the badge, and from there it can be sent to Netclearance's business application or analytics software. Conversely, the data can be forwarded to third-party applications or analytics platforms via an application programming interface. Using the mBeaconGW gateway and an external NFC reader, employers can set up an access-control system. If the badge is being used for room-level tracking, Fernandez says, location can be determined to within a few meters.

Pricing information has not yet been released, but Netclearance will demonstrate the mBeaconCard and its full product portfolio at the RFID Journal LIVE! 2016 conference and exhibition, taking place on May 3-5, in Orlando, Fla., in the Internet of Things Pavilion (booth #728B).

Original article from IoT Journal: http://www.iotjournal.com/articles/view?14379

The Value of LoT - Location of Things Technology in Retail

Retailers today are looking for effective ways to streamline operations and increase revenue per square footage. By using state-of-the-art wireless sensor technology are able:

  • To see which products and locations in your store are most popular?
  • To know which marketing displays are most effective?
  • To learn how long customers typically wait in line at different times of day?
  • To have your customers pay quickly and easily?
  • To know if enough employees are available to help customers?
  • To know when your employees arrive, where they are in the store, and when they leave?

For retailers this sounds like a dream come true, but with LoT - Location of Things it can be reality. LoT combines location with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices such as smartphones, smart badges, shelf sensors, merchandise sensors.

LoT allows retail businesses to track and communicate with customers, then accept payment for merchandise from a mobile wallet. With LoT you also know how often a customer shops at your store. If you have a customer loyalty program, you will no longer need to stamp or scan cards. If you have a tourist based business, you will be able to see if your customers are from out of town.

LoT can tell you when an employee enters and leaves your business, no more punching a time clock. You know if your employee is on the sales floor, at the cash register, or in the stock room.

Using active and passive RFID technology you can track sales and inventory. Not only you will know if an item is in stock, but where that item is in your store. You can easily keep track of when sales happen, which employees really sell products.

Best of all, now retailers can do all this, and even more, remotely. LoT - Location of Things, will take retail business operations to a new level and Netclearance can help you get there. Contact us to learn how LoT solutions can be applied to your retail operations.

Visit us at RFID Live on May 3 - 5, 2016 Booth 728B  Orange County Convention Center in
Orlando, Florida and discover what LoT can mean for your business.

LoT - Location of Things the Real Value Behind IoT

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The world of technology is, at its most basic level, a human-driven phenomena. As such, it’s subject to all the psychological foibles of our species. One of these is known colloquially as the “wow factor.” It refers to how those who first hear of a new advancement become excited at its sheer ingenuity and novelty. Their initial reaction is, “wow; that’s cool!” It’s only after the excitement fades that someone says, “Hey, what good is this thing anyway?”

The “wow factor” has played a major role in the public’s perception of the soon-coming Internet of Things or IoT. There’s something about the idea of a world made up of objects all linked together that resonates with people on a primal level. Perhaps the concept appeals to our innate sense of oneness with all creation. Perhaps not. Either way, the prospect of an interconnected society has some people saying, “Great! Now what do we do with it?” That’s where LoT - Location of Things comes into the picture.

LoT refers to the ability to locate and monitor all types of things in real time. The advantages of this capability are immense. Take for example networks. Whether they're used to transfer information, energy, goods, or human beings, networks are essential to modern life. When they break down, the consequences can range from minor inconvenience to life-threatening emergencies.

This is where LoT proves so useful. It enables personnel to monitor all types of networks of things for signs of trouble. In the event something goes wrong, it guides them to the exact point of failure. It can even give them vital information about the nature of the breakdown, speeding repairs and minimizing problems.

Needless to say, this technology has enormous potential for making the world a safer, more secure place in which to live. At Netclearance, we have developed pioneering LoT capabilities that can benefit your organization in multiple ways. Contact us today to find out more.

Visit us at RFID Live on May 3 - 5, 2016 Booth 728B  Orange County Convention Center in
Orlando, Florida (www.rfidbeacons.com)

Understanding LoT - Location of Things - The Killer IoT App

There is currently much hype surrounding IoT, or the Internet of Things. IoT refers to the integration of internet-based technology into every-day items, such as wristwatches and other jewelry, key chains, home appliances, pets and almost anything. A less popular buzzword, but one that is essential for understanding how IoT adds value to an organization, is LOT -- the Location of Things.

Location of Things technology spans the area of identifying where IoT devices are located in relation to their origins, destinations or other adjacent devices. What is the value of sensors capturing identity, environmental data, and status among other things if the consumer of this data doesn't have the contextual location information to give this data some meaning.

By adding "context" to the billions of location-aware sensors and devices that will be part of the IoT ecosystem it will open up unlimited  opportunities to enhance customers’ experience, improve service quality, margins and reduce operational expenses across a wide range of industry verticals and the public sector. 

There are several enablers to LoT such as:

  • LPWA (Low-Power Wide-Area) networks that allow a mass market for low-cost long-range low-power connected network of objects. Analysts forecast that there will be 2.7 billion LPWA connections by 2022. 
  • Indoor positioning thanks to proximity context-aware devices like Wi-Fi, UWB, Mesh and BLE-beacons.

So get ready for a much wider usage of the term LoT. In the near future, Location of Things will help bring "context" to the "who" and "what" provided by the billions of IoT nodes and sensors that will populate our planet over the next decades to come.

Netclearance has been developing LoT technology and solutions since its inception for a multitude of industrial and consumer applications with the goal to add value to your IoT applications. Contact us to learn more about our IoT location gateways, readers and sensor nodes that can bring "context" to your IoT atmosphere.

Visit us at RFID Live on May 3 - 5, 2016 Booth 728B  Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, Florida (www.rfidbeacons.com)

IoT Payments Solutions Overcome Traditional Card Terminal Boundaries

IoT payments are the wave of the future when it comes to exchanging currency. According to LetsTalkPayments.com, new apps, operating systems, and hardware are being developed to accommodate this trend: "Internet of Things is attractive for fintech, not only for software and hardware developers, but also for banks and other FinTech companies to enable innovative payment experiences and provide wide range of methods to accept payments using NFC chips, payment apps, sensors, tracking devices, etc."

Indeed, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and other credit card and banking companies are all jumping on the bandwagon, racing to implement Internet of Things payment services. In particular, they are targeting wearable and carry-able devices, such as watches and key chains, thus appealing to costumers' senses of fashion and sleek design. For example, an October, 2015, article in Mobile Payments Today states that "MasterCard announced at the Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas that its initial partners in this endeavor include fashion designer Adam Selman, automotive giant General Motors, wearable technology company Nymi, smart jewelry company Ringly and Bluetooth locator TrackR."

Beyond fashion, safety and security are key benefits of the new technology. According to an August, 2015, blog on Transfirst.com, "In the payment space, the Internet of Things is evident in digital wallets that securely store a user’s payment information and passwords, enabling consumers to use an electronic device to make transactions." Such devices will keep passwords secure while their owners carry their "digital wallets" on their wrists and in their purses and briefcases.

So get ready to join the wave of the future with IoT payments. You will join a growing number of businesses accepting payments from wearables, garments, motor vehicles, and mobile devices.

Netclearance offers a complete portfolio of IoT gateways and end devices to implement your IoT payment strategy. Contact us to learn more.

Driving to incorporate IoT payments in wearables

Use cases for IoT payments abound. From keyfobs to wearables, they're beginning to show up everywhere. The biggest attribute it must have is that it is something precious to the user that they take with them everywhere, and that isn't lost or misplaced regularly. 

Many banks and card companies are looking towards wearables more than most other options, from rings to watches to fitness bands. American Express announced in April that it partnered with Jawbone for its UP4 band, using NFC technologies, a variation on RFID. Some estimates are that wearable proximity payments will be $501B by 2020.

Mastercard has also jumped on board. In October, they announced:

"The program will launch with the support of several marquee partners across multiple verticals to fit every lifestyle need. Designer to the stars Adam Selman, automaker General Motors, wearable technology innovator Nymi, smart jewelry company Ringly, and Bluetooth locator TrackR are among the prominent consumer brands enabling their products through the program."

The product makers plan to put IoT payment capability into clothing, keyfobs, wristbands and rings, among other items.

PayPal is working the process from the app direction, with apps for wearables containing most  of the functionality of the web-based program, and of course iPhones were at the forefront of IoT payments.

Many of these payment structures have been built like a house with many wings, adding on as they went. The state-of-the-art mBeaconPay platform has been built from the ground up to support all these use cases.

If you're in the market for your organization to develop proximity payment capability in wearables or other candidates from the IoT, we can help.

Nominated in the Best Cash Innovation category by PYMNTS.COM