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Wearables at Work

Ben Waber (Sociometric Solutions)
Location: Festival Pavilion
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Slides:   1-QT    2-PDF 

Wearables have a long history as an integral part of the workplace, appearing as ID cards, point of sale devices, and audio headsets. However in recent years wearable technology development has eschewed this success and focused on consumer applications with limited success. Wearables for commercial applications have been relatively underdeveloped, to the detriment of the entire industry. Today, wearables for work only scratch the surface of their transformative potential.

The real power of wearables comes from the behavioral data they generate and the environmental interfaces that they enable. Pairing data from these wearables with micro-level outcome data enables online-style behavioral analysis and A/B testing in the real world at an unprecedented scale. Physical changes in the workplace, from autonomous augmented cubicles to shifting walls will push the boundaries of what organizations can accomplish. This will not just change how people are managed, but will fundamentally alter the world economy. In this talk I’ll discuss how we can realize this promise, and some early results that further illustrate this potential.

Photo of Ben Waber

Ben Waber

Sociometric Solutions

Dr. Ben Waber is the president and CEO of Sociometric Solutions, a management services firm that uses social-sensing technology to drive innovative transformation services. He is also a visiting scientist at the MIT Media Lab, and he was previously a senior researcher at Harvard Business School. He received his Ph.D. from MIT for his work with Alex “Sandy” Pentland in the Human Dynamics group at the Media Lab. Waber’s work has been featured in major media outlets such as Wired, The Economist, and NPR. He has consulted for industry leaders such as LG, McKinsey & Company, and Gartner on technology trends, social networks, and organizational design. His book People Analytics was released by the Financial Times Press in 2013.