By Jim Joyce Senior Vice President, Agile Workplace for Xerox

“It’s my life.”

A common statement when people reference their smartphone – people of all ages.  Some would insist they are no less important than our eyes, ears, hands or feet, or so it seems.  Actually, in many cases – smart devices enhance sensory perception, safety, awareness and certainly communications.

The Smart Mobility Era is here, and the “times they are a’changin’.” While smartphones, tablets and similar mobile devices remain prevalent, a new generation of technologies are coming that will rock the boat in terms of how we live our lives and do our jobs. (Some are here already.)

“Organizations recognize the power and potential of mobility, and are in a fever to showcase demonstrative results.” – Jim Joyce

“Organizations recognize the power and potential of mobility, and are in a fever to showcase demonstrative results.” – Jim Joyce

Think Google Glasses, Wi-Fi watches, even wireless and sensor circuitry woven within our shirts and pants. Today, think of the Fitbit, Samsung’s GALAXY Gear, Sony’s SmartBand and recent chatter about smart contact lenses.  As someone who personally suffers from hearing loss, I have an app I can use to adjust sounds around me – taking out background noise and allowing me to focus more specifically on certain conversations or sounds.

Keys to Workplace Agility: Mobile and Wearable Tech

The common denominator among these devices is data. For every phone, tablet or pair of glasses, there’s a steady flow of information, coming and going, that can be collected, analyzed and applied in numerous ways. Most of this information focuses on unstructured data such as video, graphs, photographs and documents. The push to consumerize such devices is proliferating. But equally powerful is the use of mobile devices—including wearables—for the workplace. They may be the next-generation tool that helps you do your job.

Such technologies are a core component for companies set upon advancing workplace agility—the ability to respond and act quickly, be nimble, proactive and more responsive.  Such agility requires companies to invent and innovate so their entire companies can operate as a mobile enterprise. Xerox is working with several organizations to enable mobile, cloud, big data and analytics to work together in this way. Organizations recognize the power and potential of mobility, and are in a fever to showcase demonstrative results. Consider how wearables and mobility can transform classrooms, hospitals, manufacturing plants and especially services companies. Imagine working in a chemical plant wearing an intrinsically safe wristwatch-like device that monitors air quality in real time and sends immediate alerts prior to a crisis. Worse, if a disaster occurs, that same device becomes a voice-enabled avatar that leads you to the closest evacuation exit.

The Heart of the Workplace: Your People

It can all be mind-blowing in technology terms, but the real heart of workplace agility is its focus on people—those frontline workers in a company who walk the sales floor, repair the air conditioners, or give medicines to patients. They are the ones who will define which companies are most successful and most agile. They are likely to be the pioneers of the newest wearables and related devices.

It’s a new time. A new era. A new window of opportunity to race ahead of industry laggards. Customers win because they gain the benefit of frontline workers who work smarter and faster, and are fully informed, engaged and connected.

Ultimately, you are the winner with an agile workplace, equipped workers and customers who keep coming back.

Follow JimJoyce on Twitter @JimPJoyce.

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