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CIO: The benefits, potential pitfalls of wearable tech projects

In 2016, Seattle-based mechanical contractor MacDonald Miller launched a wearable technology platform to improve customer support. The deployment provided MacDonald Miller CIO Bradd Busick with numerous lessons about wearable tech projects, including that it's important to start with considering business need first. Busick spoke with SearchCIO at the recent Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit in Boston, where he discussed what IT companies must consider before implementing wearable tech projects. In this video, he highlights the mistakes to avoid when deploying wearable tech, explains the benefits of implementing wearable tech and sheds light on the future of AI in wearables.

Editor's note: The following transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

What advice do you have for CIOs trying to implement wearable tech projects? 

Bradd Busick: Don't do it alone; start with the business. The biggest mistake that IT companies are making across the country is they're doing it without their customer and then coming and taking a solution to the customer that their customers didn't ask for. Don't chase something that is interesting, but not actionable. Be mindful about what you're going to go after, before you go after it. 

What are the benefits of implementing wearable tech projects? 

Busick: You see increased revenue, increased customer satisfaction right out of the gate. Our payback period for our wearable glasses deployment was less than a month. But, aside from that, the stickiness factor that it gives MacDonald-Miller is something that is hard to quantify. That is because switching costs are now so high for our competition that if they ever tried to switch and went to someone that didn't offer this capability, they would automatically look antiquated. We've done our customers a great service. MacDonald-Miller is still out in the front leading the pack with this technology. 

What role does AI play in enterprise wearable technology? 

Busick: The role of artificial intelligence in enterprise tech, for us, is playing out in real time. Nine times out of 10 in our industry, when something goes wrong in a building, they will deploy the wrong tech. But what if the building was smart enough to notify and flag the type of issue that it was having and then using LinkedIn, in collaboration with Microsoft, to route the right technician in the area, based on his or her skillset, to the look at the issue. We're doing that now in downtown Seattle as a pilot. That essentially lets us route the right person to the right problem at the right time.  

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How can CIOs determine what IT processes would most benefit from implementing a wearable tech component?
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