Wearable Technology Pilot Project Proves Successful

During the 2018 spring semester, the Information and Communication Technology Team at Northwest Vista College tested the business and academic capabilities of wearable technology including Apple and Android watches. The pilot objectives set for this project were completed successfully.

“This initiative was 100 percent supported and funded by our NVC Cabinet,” said director of Information & Communication Technology (I&CT) Felix Salinas, Jr. “The goal was to better understand the potentials of this select wearable technology in support of our academic student success strategic initiatives.”

Felix credits Tyrell Schwab, NVC coordinator of College Technology, and Ana Escamilla, NVC technical support supervisor, as being instrumental to the success of the pilot program. They, along with their teams, clarified expectations of the program to the pilot users, defined objectives and gathered feedback to determine next steps.

The program’s objectives were to:

  1. Assess NVC’s functionality of wearable watch technology
  2. Assess full capabilities of wearable watch technology

Felix says the final outcome was to assess whether wearable technology could be supported by NVC and if so, establish a purchasing process for these devices.

“Based on the feedback we received from the pilot, NVC has some key functional reasons to continue to support and utilize wearable watch technology,” Felix adds.

The next step, he said, will be to share these findings with sister colleges within the Alamo Colleges District as well as with the District office to develop a process for district-wide purchasing and support system.

The following departments participated in the pilot project:

  • Chemistry
  • Speech Communication
  • Speech Department
  • Digital Media
  • Workforce
  • Information & Communication Technology
  • Public Relations

Here are ways in which wearable technology proved to be a successful tool:

  • Immediate response to students via text, email or voice on the watch
  • Increased hours of availability to students
  • Measure student heart rate before and after giving a speech
  • Move from one PowerPoint slide to the next quickly
  • Received server outage notifications via watch
  • Used as a portable speaker phone
  • Faster response to student questions and concerns
  • Real time interaction for online and hybrid students
  • Obtaining quotes from vendors using the watch – did not need to touch phone

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