Enterprise Wearables

Enterprise Wearables

Team Polyrific

X-Ray vision. Telepathy. Telekinesis. These are the powers that have captured many childhood--and adult--imaginations since the first Superman comic book hit store shelves in 1938. Who hasn't dreamed of being a superhero? Thanks to advancements in wearable technology, we might all have our chance. 

Back in 2015 wearable technologies, or "wearables", hit the consumer market in a full-on assault led by tech giants such as Google, Apple, and Samsung. These tech giants bet big on fast consumer adoption resulting in record-breaking profits. . .and they lost. Then, something interesting happened that is rarely seen in the world of tech: enterprises began adopting technologies originally intended for consumers on a massive scale thereby keeping the market for the erstwhile "game-changing technology" alive.

DHL began incorporating smart glasses in the warehouse to speed up the process of picking orders, Quebec City International Airport equipped their duty managers with Apple Watches enabling them to receive real-time operational alerts with a quick glance at their wrist so that they can make better decisions and decrease delays, Buffalo Wings & Rings restaurant put the new Samsung Gear S3 to work notifying servers when customers need attention without requiring the use of their hands and shaving critical minutes off of the table-to-check cycle which boosts turnover and revenue.

The thing is, wearables solve a problem more critical to the enterprise than to the individual consumer: it multiplies the capability and productivity of a worker while keeping his or her hands free. In essence, wearable technology gives works an extra set of hands. In the case of Buffalo Wings & Rings this means that servers are notified the moment that a new table is seated and immediately when service is needed. This translates to faster turn-around time on tables and, when boosting sales each night by 10-20% is the result, it's pretty significant.

The use of wearables in the enterprise uncovers the potential to take leaps in productivity the likes of which have not been seen since the industrial revolution. Imagine equipping construction workers with smart glasses that allow them to see inside walls or underground so they can locate existing utilities or using smartwatches on knowledge workers to detect when they are at their desk (and therefore available for calls) or when they are becoming stressed or losing the ability to pay attention in a meeting which has carried on for too long.

Wearable technology is going to be the most popular trend in the enterprises over the next couple of years with sales expected to reach $53.2 billion by 2019. This technology has many different workplace benefits and plenty of options available to suit the individual use-cases of almost any enterprise. In addition to smart watches and glasses, smart clothing is now emerging. In March 2017, Levi's and Google announced a partnership to develop a smart jacket that allows it's owner to interact via gestures such as brushing a hand on a sleeve. This may sound silly at first glance, but imagine a field worker, soldier, fire-fighter, or any other type of worker who is wearing bulky clothing and possibly gloves that make interacting with a tablet difficult--to them it's not so silly of an idea.

Wearables also can collect myriad biometrics from their users which may or may not be subject of privacy debate in your enterprise. Assuming that your employees are willing to grant access to their personal biometric data, there are many interesting insights that may come from it such as levels of stress and fatigue, including stress when in proximity to another specific worker.

Wearable technology indeed has the ability to grant superpowers to workers of all types in your enterprise. Your only limitation is your imagination (and ours if you hire us) but one thing is for certain: you will need a great technology consultant and application developer to make your vision become a reality and we want to be the consultant that helps you become a superhero in your enterprise.

PRO TIP:  Begin integrating wearable technology into your enterprise by identifying tasks that require employees to use their hands while at the same time requiring them to refer to various data sources. Whenever you find a situation like this, there is almost certainly a solution that can be provided by the use of wearable technology.

Please contact us today learn more about wearable technology and how it can be used at your enterprise.

Team Polyrific | Feb 06, 2018

If you haven't already heard the term "NoOps" as it pertains to enterprise software development and delivery you probably will soon. NoOps is an emerging movement that seeks to relieve a bottleneck created by traditional IT operations and on-premise application hosting by utilizing solutions rooted in automation and cloud-based infrastructure. At Polyrific, we have developed an outstanding NoOps solution called Catapult and we offer this article in hopes that it helps you better understand why Catapult is such a big deal.

From DevOps to NoOps

Perhaps the best way to begin understanding the NoOps movement is to first understand the DevOps movement. The term "DevOps" is an amalgamation of "Development" and "Operations" and refers to the interplay between software developers and IT operations during the process of deploying applications to the world. In every enterprise, it is necessary for these two departments to stay close to one another in order to best serve the needs of the business.

At most enterprises, responsibilities for developers generally include the following:

  • Work with stakeholders to understand the needs of the business
  • Distill those needs into requirements and specifications
  • Develop applications that fulfill said requirements

By contrast, IT operations are generally responsible for interfacing with network hardware:

  • Allocation & management of server resources
  • Fault planning & monitoring
  • Security & compliance
  • Device management

Obviously, applications that are developed to suit the needs of the business have to be deployed somewhere so that they can be consumed, and this is where the interplay between the developers and IT operations managers comes in: they must work together to take the developer's work and deploy it to the world on their enterprises resources. This makes perfect sense if the picture were so simple but, as we will see in the next section, reality is a bit more complicated.

Agile & Continuous Deployment

In the early days of enterprise software solutions, very few enterprises created custom software solutions or applications of their own. However, as workplace environments have become more dynamic and reliant on smart hardware and software solutions, the demand for rapid release of custom software applications has grown dramatically. The Agile movement was largely a response to this exponential growth in application demand and it is founded on principles inspired by the Silicon Valley "fail fast & fail early" philosophy.  Gone are the days of months of planning, tedious software architecture design, and software release schedules following a waterfall schedule into a deployment phase that is given equal weight by the IT operations team. Today's software development teams are expected to respond immediately to a seemingly never-ending stream of features and demands requested by the business.

Often, projects are started as bare-bones applications that are immediately thrust into production environments where they will be constantly updated and expanded upon as the business requirements evolve. This sounds great, but it presents a few challenges to software development and IT operations teams, especially with regards to quality of the end-user experience and application uptime. To counter this, the development and ops teams employ a set of automation tools and checkpoints, collectively referred to as "Continuous Integration" or "Continuous Deployment" that smooth out the problems caused by rapid iterations in the software development life cycle. For example, when properly configured, and CI pipeline can trigger a series of automated tests whenever a developer checks in new code to ensure that the new code does not break anything or cause "regression" bugs.

The (Traditional) IT Bottleneck

It operations experts are fantastic but, in our view, their role is best executed when the evidence of their work is everywhere, but their presence is not so apparent. A good server at a restaurant will keep your glass full and your food coming without you noticing them much at all and it should be the same with IT operations managers but sometimes--often through no fault of their own--this is not the case. Without considerable depth of automation in your software development life cycle (SDLC), it becomes necessary for the development team to spend significantly more time with the IT operations team in order to coordinate downtime, deployments, rollbacks, and so forth. This is especially true in the case of on-premise deployments. This close coupling between IT ops folk and the developers is bad for at least three reasons:

  1. It takes the developer's focus away from understanding the needs of the business stakeholders
  2. It cuts into development time
  3. It can influence the engineering and delivery schedule of the application

Given the above, you can probably start to see where this is headed: interaction between development and IT operations should be automated so that the software engineers can remain focused on what they do best: delivering application-based solutions that serve the immediate needs of the business.

NoOps Produces Better Outcomes

So in order to respond to ever-changing demands of the business, development teams must be capable of quickly organizing the stakeholder's needs into business requirements and then parlaying those requirements into working code that is tested, quality assured, accepted by the end user and deployed into production environment on a frequent and recurring basis without being slowed down or distracted by hardware and deployment challenges on the IT ops side of things. Does this mean that IT operations professionals must be removed from the SDLC? Of course not. What it does mean is that IT operations personnel should join forces with the developers to implement game-changing solutions that help to automate the business of getting the developer's changes into production with very little interfacing required between development and operations.

In a NoOps world, developers don't check with IT operations before deploying code or to schedule downtime. In fact, they don't deploy code at all--they simply check their changes into source control and the rest happens automatically, behind-the-scenes, just like the server who always keeps your drink full without your noticing they were there at all. Similarly, developers do not need to request allocation of new resources from the IT department. They can, in theory, "spin up" a new ecosystem of server and database environments for a special purpose app while they sit with the stakeholder during a requirements gathering session.

The Catapult Digital Developer & NoOps Solution

As previously mentioned, we have developed a software solution called Catapult that takes automation of enterprise software delivery to the extreme. Using Catapult, even non-technical stakeholders can create new application projects on a meta-level that immediately spin up server resources using popular cloud platforms such as Azure and AWS. Catapult then allows entry of high-level data models in order to populate databases (or it can connect to existing ones) and generate, and deploy comprehensive codebases all without the user knowing how to write the simplest of SQL queries.

Like the restaurant server that deftly keeps your needs satisfied without making his or her presence known, Catapult allocates hardware resources, creates code bases, sets up source control repositories, allows stakeholders to manage content and seed test data, manages branching strategies, communicates with engineering team members to let them know of code changes, and pretty much anything else a competent developer and IT operations professional on your team would do. That is why we refer to Catapult as the "enterprise digital developer".

If you'd like to learn more about Catapult or any of our other software development solutions, please contact us or call us at 833-POLYRIFIC.

Team Polyrific | Jan 24, 2018

CES 2018 is now over. The parties have ended, the eye-popping demos have ceased, and the amazing booths (if you can even call them booths) have been taken down. As usual there were some amazing gadgets (HyperVSN by Kino Mo especially), but overall we are left with five major trends that defined CES 2018 and, by extension, our new year in tech. Here is a run-down from Polyrific's perspective:


As we have previously written, 5G New Radio (NR) cellular data transfer and millimeter wave technology was a much buzzed-about technology and important trend towards an infrastructure that can may be able to quench our growing thirst for a connected world. Broadly, "5G" describes the next generation of post-4G mobile networks. It will be always-on and have almost imperceptible latency.

5G is like nothing we have seen before. Whereas 4G can transfer data at 100 Mbps, by 2020 5G will transfer data at a searing 10 Gbps. Some experts even speculate that 20 Gbps are possible. To put this into perspective, 20 Gbps data rates will allow you to download a two hour long high definition movie to your smart device in just over one second

The importance of 5G speed isn't in the fact that we can download more media in less time--5G is important because of the industries it will enable such as streaming 8K video for digital medicine, data streaming for self-driving cars, mega-encryption for the Internet of Things, and smart cities.

Smart Cities

Smart Cities were a major theme at CES 2018 and served as a superset of constituent technologies such as AI, self-driving vehicles, and the Internet of Things. Around the world populations are booming and cities are scheduled to represent 60% of the worldwide population by 2030. In order to operate efficiently and cost-effectively, cities will have to implement smart infrastructures that help to better manage traffic, reduce accidents, improve waste management, analyze terabytes of video for a variety of public concerns, aid in water sanitation and wastewater management, and provide thorough public safety services for our changing threat landscape.

Augmented Reality

Virtual and Augmented Reality were everywhere at CES 2018 and while the VR side of things provides a very immersive and interesting entertainment experience, we haven't been as convinced about AR (augmented reality) until now. Most of the firms pitching AR technologies at CES had some sort of goggles or glass that the user needs to wear which we think should be reserved for very special use cases. What piqued our interest, however, were the growing number of companies creating useful AR apps that can be used in a familiar handheld way by anyone who owns a smartphone.  A very simple use case for this technology is waypoint finding in shopping malls, casinos, amusement parks, museums, and airports. 

Virtual Assistants

Although virtual assistants have been making waves for a few years now, the intensity was ratcheted up even more during CES 2018. Siri, Cortana, Bixby were a bit scarce at the show--perhaps they were hiding in the shadows of Alexa and "Hey Google" (notice a syllable missing from the previous "OK Google") which are fast becoming the undisputed titans of the space. It's easy to understand why this is: Where as Siri, Cortana, and Bixby are confined to their respective devices, Amazon and Google have worked hard to open their VA platform so that it can be used across multiple devices to span the life and clock of its user base. Expect to see a common virtual assistant experience that knows your individual context and follows you from home, into your car, to the office, and back home again very soon. Alexa and Hey Google enabled devices were everywhere at CES. 

Virtual Medicine

With healthcare becoming more complicated and less affordable (at least in the US) than ever, we see the new wave of digital medicine as a major force in the healthcare market. Enabled by other emerging technologies such as 5G, 8K video resolution, and IoT, patients will soon be able to consult with affordable health care providers directly from their homes for the most common non-emergency situations such as flu symptoms and sinus infections.  We look forward to watching this technology and hoping for a positive impact on our society.

As we see it, these are the five trends that mattered at CES 2018 and are worth keeping a close eye on as we progress throughout the year. Sure, there are other notable technologies such as self-driving cars, but we think those already get enough air time even though they aren't quite ready for prime time. 

Feel free to contact us if you need any help in understanding or developing software for use in these areas.

Team Polyrific | Jan 24, 2018

The 2018 Consumer Electronic Show is now underway in Las Vegas, Nevada. Each year CES brings forth emerging technologies to the world stage that will soon power the way we live, work, and play. Here are the buzz-worthy technology trends at CES this year:


Of notable buzz is the expansion of 5G New Radio (NR) cellular data transfer and millimeter wave technology. Five years ago, the upgrade to 4G felt like a big deal, but 5G is like nothing we have seen before. Whereas 4G can transfer data at 100 Mbps, by 2020 5G will transfer data at a searing 10 Gbps.  To put this into perspective, 10 Gbps data rates will allow you to download a two hour long high definition movie to your smart device in about three seconds

Such high data transfer rates should catch the US up to other areas of the world that have newer (and therefore faster) data infrastructure like South Korea, Japan, and Singapore. The importance of 5G speed isn't in the fact that we can download more media in less time--5G is important because of the industries it will enable such as streaming 8K video for digital medicine, data streaming for self-driving cars, mega-encryption for the Internet of Things, and so forth.

AI (again)

Be prepared to hear more about AI now and for the next several CES conferences. Specific intelligence, that is intelligence trained for a very specific purpose, is now a mature technology and one that you most likely already use on a daily basis. There is a heavy focus this year on the application of AI to building better and more conversational digital assistants like Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and "Hey Google" (seems Google dropped the additional syllable in "OK Google"). 

As AI goes from specific to general (a process that will take many more years), conversational interfaces become more, well, conversational. For example, instead of "Hey Google, find Italian restaurants", we would have, "Hey Google, I want to go out tonight. The weather is going to be bad so I don't want to travel far from home. Just go ahead and make a reservation somewhere close--you know I love Italian food but Mexican is fine as well".


AI and Robotics are the peanut butter and jelly of the tech world. You can't have efficacious robots without strong AI. AI has come a long way in the last few years and this is giving rise to a whole new family of robotics here at CES this year.  There have already been unveiling events for several humanoid robots which, like there predecessors, have been clunky and prone to errors; however, the more purpose-built robots geared towards specific industrial or practical purposes are faring much better. Among such technologies are "smart baggage" and self-driving vehicles. Check back for more detailed articles on such robotics in the future.

Virtual & Augmented Reality

Virtual reality is still limping it's way to mass adoption with Sony announcing that just under 3 million Playstation VR units have been released as of the Holiday 2017 season. Many of the big names such as Oculus and HTC have announced lower-cost and self-contained VR units in a move to catch up with Sony who currently dominates the space. In our view, VR seems to still be a ways off in terms of mass commercial adoption; however, there are interesting applications such as therapy for post traumatic stress disorder that we believe will be useful in the near term. 

By contrast, augmented reality technology is just beginning to sprint towards mass commercial adoption. When you think of augmented reality, think about viewing the world through the window that is your smartphone rather than through special glasses (though both are happening). What we are seeing here at CES are several applications wherein ordinary smart phone owners can use the phone to overlay useful information onto the real world like where the nearest restroom is. We will be adding more articles about augmented reality in the coming weeks.

Digital Therapeutics

Digital therapy is another big topic at CES 2018. The term "digital therapeutics" encompasses all types of sensor-based diagnostics that enable virtual medicine. At Polyrific, we view emerging technologies in digital therapeutics and virtual medicine as essential for the well-being of US citizens in our changing healthcare landscape. We will be publishing articles on digital therapy in the future, but essentially this topic involves the gathering of personal health data from a variety of sensors in our smart devices and checking that information against oceans of data to indicate trends and even perhaps make a diagnosis. Additionally, with your permission digital therapy enables doctors from across the world to review your medical history and deliver a consultation which, depending on your healthcare situation, might be critical to your well being.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of things is nothing new to CES and is prevalent once again this year as it continues to expand and serve as the world's digital nervous system. Of particular focus this year are the IoT implementations that drive smart cities and energy conservation.

Various Improvements to Consumer Electronics

As you might imagine, there are many fun updates to consumer technology being announced at CES 2018. We won't go too deep into these areas but a few highlights include 8k video, thinner, lighter, and more powerful laptops, hand-held mini-camcorders with built-in stabilization gimbals, and new ways to enjoy sports in virtual reality.

So these are the primary trends driving CES 2018! Stay tuned throughout the week and follow @Polyrific on twitter for more CES coverage.