Last updated: 08.11.13

Smartglasses 'could transform workplace training'

Wearable technology such as smartglasses could improve training practices and boost employee productivity in various sectors, including manufacturing, healthcare and retail.

This is according to a new report from Gartner, which suggested the number of companies in the US to implement smartglasses will rise from less than one per cent at present to ten per cent over the next five years as an increasing number of chief information officers recognise their benefits.

One of the main advantages of the gadgets is that they enable on-the-job training, particular in the manufacturing industry, showing staff how to perform certain tasks and fix equipment through augmented reality (AR).

With sectors like healthcare and consumer packaged goods, the glasses could be used to help employees look for information via a visual search.

Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner, said smartglasses with AR and head-mounted cameras are able to boost the efficiency of engineers, technicians and workers in countless other specialities, but over the next three to five years, the industry likely to benefit the most from the technology is field service.

She explained: "The greatest savings in field service will come from diagnosing and fixing problems more quickly and without needing to bring additional experts to remote sites."

There are many ways smartglasses aid training, such as the provision of instructions through the visual displays and offering video collaboration with professionals.

In the healthcare sector, smartglasses could be used to set up video conferences between specialists and streamline the patient experience at doctors' offices by introducing facial recognition.

Across all industries, the video aspect of the gadgets is great for conducting inspections and store evidence that a task was carried out correctly. These clips can then be uploaded to online portfolios to be later played during a training session as an example of how things should be done.

Ms McIntyre concluded: "Now is the time for IT organizations to refresh their bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies with smartglasses in mind."