Wearables in the Enterprise – A Summary Report

Move over BYOD, its BYOW time! Well, marketing folks never give us a dull moment and thanks to Apple Watch, Bring Your Own Wearable (BYOW) is now the in-thing to worry about for the CIO and the CLO.

Image showing an use case for wearables in the enterpriseHere are three things you should know about wearables in the enterprise.

1. Types of Wearables in the Enterprise

Wearables are not just about smart watches or Apple Watch. Enterprises are already using a variety of smart devices. Accenture classifies wearable gadgets into Monocular (Example: Google Glass), Immersive (Example:Oculus Rift) and Wrist-worn (Example:Apple Watch) and goes on to give interesting examples of how these devices can be used in the enterprise. Google Glass type devices (the product has been withdrawn but is slated to make a reappearance) can be used by retail store associates to look up inventory or customer purchase history on the floor. Immersive virtual reality or augmented reality devices can provide construction workers access to CAD drawings or finished building. Smart watches could be used to send safety alerts to employees working in mines or provide location-based information or alerts.

2. Ecosystem needed to Support Wearables in the Enterprise

Supporting wearable devices in an enterprise will require several additional components to come together. They include:

Interaction Design to provide contextual information with limited screen sizes / processing power to contend with.

Integration of wearable devices with core enterprise applications and managing multiple wearable devices and the apps that run on them will be a big challenge for the CIO organization. Its BYOD all over again!

Data Visualization and presentation for the data gathered by wearable devices will be a key requirement. Accenture has identified active and passive data collection opportunities such as recording videos or measuring the air temperature or even heart rates of employees doing risky jobs.

Privacy and Security will attract special attention as employee activity tracking will raise lots of privacy questions. Data security need to be extended to wearable devices as well.

3. Challenges and Future Potential for Wearables in the Enterprise

The promise of wearables can be realized only when products have a large and diverse app ecosystem to fuel adoption. Currently, due to a fragmented market, there is no comparable app ecosystem as seen with iOS and Android but more apps are being built as you read this blog post. As the use cases are unique, developers are also figuring out the best approaches to building apps for wearable devices. Things should improve considerably in the next 18 months. Enterprises might want to take a wait and watch approach to see if a clear winner emerges so that all supporting infrastructure can be designed for the market leaders (just ask people who developed apps for Blackberry).

Additional Reading

Here a couple of reports on Wearables in the enterprise from Accenture and Salesforce.com

Srinivas Krishnaswamy

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Posted in Mobile Learning, Smartphones, Smartwatches, Wearables

The Ultimate Guide to Navigating the Trade Show

imats-450959_1280If you are a member of a sales team or if you happen to be attending an industry event or a conference, you are bound to find yourself in the exhibit hall, a.k.a. expo hall of a trade show.

So what should you do there? Keep calm and read on.

Sales Teams at Trade Shows

1. The expo hall is not a place where you can meet your sales quota unless you are selling candy to children. So relax and try to help whoever stops by your booth. Learn about the visitor and talk about relevant services or capabilities. If you can, please don’t go on and on about how great your company is no matter what your corporate communications team has led you to believe.

2. If you are not the social type, at least pretend to smile at people walking by. Please don’t stare at your smartphone or open your laptop. This is a place to meet people and create awareness about your product or brand or may be even find an interested buyer (if you are lucky).

3. When a prospective buyer or visitor to your stall is holding a glass of wine, take whatever she says with a pinch of salt. Some people are nice to you when they have a buzz going.

4. Develop skills to read body language and look for cues to identify people only interested in collecting giveaways. You will see that they are carrying loads of stuff and are not making eye contact with you as they are busy scanning for what you have to give. Please let them have whatever they want (for themselves, their family members and mother-in-law). Believe me, that’s the best way to save your time and energy. Don’t insist on scanning the badge if the visitor has not even bothered to ask what you do. You will be only diluting your leads list.

4. If you would like to learn about your competition, please walk up to their stall and talk to them when nobody is around. Don’t go around taking photographs without making eye contact with the people in the stall or without asking them. While you may want to prove to your boss that you did your job, you will come across as a creep. Who knows, you may somebody want to work for your competition.

Visitors at Trade Shows

1. It doesn’t matter if you are looking to buy products / services or just want to find out what the vendors are up to, people manning the stalls are people and they don’t bite. A smile or a nod, if you happen to make eye contact, will be appreciated.

2. If you are visiting the expo to sell your products or services to the exhibitors, please be considerate to the vendor by not taking up too much of their time. Remember, they are paying ridiculous rates for the privilege of setting up the booth and the chair you may occupy at the booth costs over $150 a day on rent.

3. Please be aware that vendors want to believe that you will buy their product or service. So expect a bunch of follow-up calls or emails after the event. It’s the price you pay for the information you wanted.

dt120506

In summary, the best approach to navigating the expo hall would be to walk in with a genuine curiosity to learn from others, share information, and strike relationships, if possible.

Srinivas Krishnaswamy

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Posted in Events, Trade Show

Learning from the Failure Cycle

This post is in continuation to my earlier post on the topic of failure and how to come out of it better.

Check out this interview with the author of The Other “F” Word: How Smart Leaders, Teams, and Entrepreneurs Put Failure to Work, Mark Coopersmith.

Srinivas Krishnaswamy

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Posted in Learning

Back to the Future

mq1Here is an extract from Harvard Business Review on a study done at Texas Instruments on the relationship between organizational climate and job performance.

The rate of technological displacement—and hence the need for effective training—is increasing. This fact, in combination with the current labor shortage, the entry of more young people and minority groups into industrial employment, and the deployment of new plants domestically and internationally, means that management should place more emphasis on training and other personnel management innovations than ever before. Lessened turnover and accelerated learning curves constitute a significant advantage to companies that are able to achieve them.

U.S. business has been hard pressed to match international competition. Handicapped by the pay differential, American companies have met the challenge primarily through technical innovation and superior quality. They can also meet it with management innovation. A great deal can be accomplished in this way, as our experiences with accelerated learning and job enlargement demonstrate.

Oh, I forgot to mention that this study was published in 1966. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Roads? Where we are going, we don’t need roads – Dr. Emmett Brown

Srinivas Krishnaswamy

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Posted in Training

LinkedIn and Lynda.com – What’s Next?

This week’s biggest news in the eLearning industry is the acquisition of Lynda.com by LinkedIn for $1.5 Billion. This development gives me a sense of deja vu all over again 🙂

Remember what happened in the talent management and enterprise learning space in the recent past? Pure play LMS vendors expanded their portfolio to include talent management and talent management companies acquired LMS products to provide end-to-end coverage for their customers.

It is interesting to see LinkedIn moving in the same path charted by other companies. The only difference is that LinkedIn is the big daddy when it comes to user base and global coverage. What started as a networking site for professions has seen a steady march towards becoming a complete talent management platform outside the enterprise!

Here are my predictions for the evolution of LinkedIn’s product features:

1. Discussion Forums can easily become another monetization tool if LinkedIn can let enterprises pose business challenges and seek solutions for a fee.

2. How about an enterprise version of LinkedIn that will tie all LinkedIn profiles of employees to talent management systems within the enterprise? This is a great way to unearth hidden talent and skills as people are used to sharing on LinkedIn!

3. The biggest challenge with LinkedIn usage is that the number of connections you have has no bearing on the value you can unlock from the connections. A lot of people are making money by talking about how LinkedIn should be used. How about a solution that will prompt meaningful interactions with connections (as opposed to just congratulating connections on work anniversaries or job changes)?

4. Why not let connections suggest changes to your profile or even rate your profile on some parameters? So many of us are shy when it comes to sharing our achievements and strengths. The people we work with or connected to can possibly recognize our contribution better than us!

Srinivas Krishnaswamy

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Posted in eLearning, Talent Management

Learning from Failure – It’s Not Easy!

Last year Harvard Business Review published a summary of a paper titled, ““My Bad!” How Internal Attribution and Ambiguity of Responsibility Affect Learning from Failure“. Here are the conclusions from this paper.

Saying “My Bad” is actually good for you

We are more likely to learn from our failures if we take personal responsibility as opposed to external factors. For example, I may attribute the loss of a deal because the demo did not work as expected in front of the customer. I may completely ignore the fact that I was not prepared with a back-up plan and have a fall back solution in place for future demos.

My job description can stop me from learning

According to the authors of this paper, “surgeons learn far less from their own failures (learning instead from their own successes and others’ failures), presumably due to the ambiguity that comes from a bad surgical outcome – the surgeon is held accountable for the outcome, but it is unclear if it is his or her responsibility. The inherent gray area that comes with the job needs to be tackled if we expect the individual to learn from failures.

Remove ambiguities that can become convenient excuses

One way of making sure individuals and teams learn from their failures is to remove all extraneous factors that can later become excuses. If we go back to the salesman example, ensuring that the salesman has access to robust demo software / hardware is one way to making sure there is less ambiguity.

Create a culture of learning from failure

This is easier said than done, but it’s not impossible. Here are some suggestions by the author

– Non-punitive root-cause reviews when a team fails, which can result in both learning for those responsible and for other team members who can learn vicariously.

– Create a shared understanding, or framing, around the types of failures that employees can expect to happen at work; and reward the messenger who brings up bad news.

Srinivas Krishnaswamy

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Posted in Learning

Sizing the Skills Gap Problem

Here are snapshots from the 2014 CareerBuilder survey on the topic of Skills Gap. This survey covered over 1000 employers in the healthcare, financial services and IT industries;over 1500 employees; and over 200 academics. I will let the survey results do that talking!

Careerbuilder_2014SkillsGap

Srinivas Krishnaswamy

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Posted in Training

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