I’m now on my third replacement Google Glass, second Pebble, have lost count of the number of FitBit issues, and don’t start me on the experience I’ve had with the Misfit Wearables Shine.
Running interference. Pebble watch on the blink again.
Since I’ve started using wearable technology in a serious way I have not a month free of grief caused by some major device component acting up or the whole shebang failing.
Google Glass, FitBit, Shine, Pebble. A revolving door of UX issues for the serious wearable tech researcher.
I haven’t been mistreating these devices or pushing my luck. I’ve done nothing the manufacturers haven’t advertised as being supported, and kept within their warranties (these things can be expensive).
Wearables or Swearables?
This overall lack of reliability is massively irritating, to say the least. Particularly, as I travel globally. To be fair, the Google Glass and Pebble support folks have been awesome, but I’d really prefer not to have formed such an, eh enduring relationship.
Asking if wearable tech is robust enough for the enterprise world is kinda moot, given it’s not really up to serious and sustained consumer use. Wearable tech must be simple to use and maintain, and reliable and dependable for the world of work. A poor user experience costs the entire business.
Wearable tech needs to be able to withstand the typical context of use of the wearer (sorry, user) if they’re to live up to the promise ever augmenting what’s loved about work and automating the hated stuff.
It seems we have some way to go yet before off-the-shelf wearable tech meets enterprise user requirements.
What is also massively problematic to me, and also worrying for the enterprise adoption of wearable tech, has been the loss of data caused by intermittent device failure on the go.
Is wearable tech a new UX graveyard?
Now, imagine it’s not my miles run or the recording of my daily activity that disappears into the ether, but details of a strategic opportunity, key employee data, or micro-location signals in your store come the next Black Friday.
Battery life is another bugbear. Take my own simple, though not unreasonable, road testing with Pebble and Google Glass. Neither are capable of staying alive for a prolong run. During the San Francisco marathon, for example, my Pebble with a Bluetooth connection to my MapMyRun app on my iPhone ran out of juice after about 18 miles. Google Glass using Strava Run glassware is only good for about the same distance (effectively a little over a couple of hours).
Would you use a device that pooped by lunchtime on your working day?
And of course, then there is the problem of all multi-device wearers. Charging my devices has become the bane of my life; always plugged into something, somewhere. Luxury problem you say? No, not in the world of today’s flexible worker who carries more than one device, each optimized for the task at hand.
Wearable tech has a ways to go generally, I know. Robustness and reliability aren’t the only considerations, but they do need to be addressed for the enterprise.
Wearable tech research can be frustrating.
But I’ll stick with it…