16 SEPTEMBER 2015 MILITARY & AEROSPACE ELECTRONICS www.militaryaerospace.com
Widespread use of
Aerospace and defense professionals embrace the latest wearable
electronics devices to improve efficiency and productivity.
BY Courtney E. Howard
Wearable electronics is a technological phenomenon on the cusp of
widespread, worldwide adoption.
Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)
wearable technologies like smart
watches, smart glasses, health
monitors, and activity trackers are
popping up and intriguing
even those who have refrained from adoption.
International Data Corp.
(IDC) analysts in Framingham, Mass., estimate that
72.1 million wearable devices will be shipped this
year, up from the 26. 4 million units shipped in 2014.
Wearable computing devices are “moving ahead with
improved user interfaces,
user experiences, and applications. These will raise
the expectations of what a smart
wearable can do. We’re not there
yet, but we’re seeing the building
blocks of what is to come,” says
Ramon Llamas, wearables research
manager at IDC.
New technology needs time to
mature; yet, the path from innova-
tion to mainstream adoption can be
a long road, especially in aerospace
and defense. It is not uncommon for
members of military and aerospace
organizations, including warfighters
in the field, to want (and wait ex-
ceeedingly long for) the same high-
tech devices they use in their per-
sonal lives to be accessible to them
in their professional lives. Today’s
aerospace and defense professionals
want portable, powerful computing
devices at their fingertips.
Wearables are starting to be more
widely adopted in aerospace and
defense, and this trend “is likely to
pick up momentum during the next
few years as the technology contin-
ues to mature,” says John Schmidt,
managing director of North Ameri-
can aerospace and defense business
at Accenture in Chicago.
Schmidt is seeing signif-
icant interest from defense
contractors and aerospace
manufacturers wanting to
exploit the technology.
“The industry is rapidly
coalescing toward an all-
digital mindset across the
board, and wearable de-
vices and technologies are
one key driver of this ma-
jor industry trend. Wear-
able technology provides
instant access to critical
quality, and helps increase collab-
oration. This technology enhances
existing workflows and opens new
opportunities in many aspects of
this industry,” Schmidt adds. “The
technology may also increase work-
force productivity, reduce the risk
of errors, and eliminate the need
The Canadian Armed Forces test a mobile ad-hoc network with Google
Glass head-up displays and smartphones for dispersed operations.