2014: Big Year for Wearables

Plus, Howard County, Md., launches a CISO-in-Residence program and NIST releases version 1.0 of its Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure.

by / December 17, 2014
The FitBit Flex is one of many wearables on the market today. Jessica Mulholland

Utah drew attention in February with the launch of OnTime for Glass, a public transit tracking app for Google’s high-tech eyewear. Released even before Google Glass became widely available, the Utah app notifies users of an approaching train or bus and lets them track public transit vehicle locations in real time.

State CTO Dave Fletcher called the project an attempt to sort out how rapidly emerging wearable technology applies to government.

“We all need to understand the kinds of apps that will make sense in that space,” Fletcher told Government Technology.

By any measure, 2014 was a big year for wearable tech products. Wearables were front and center in January at CES 2014, the industry’s massive annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Google Glass hit the consumer market in May, after a year of limited availability. And Samsung, which released its first smartwatch in late 2013, followed up with a more capable version that arrived in stores in November.

Perhaps the biggest news came in September, when Apple’s announcement of a long-awaited smartwatch triggered the requisite bouts of euphoria among the company’s disciples. Though the new Apple Watch won’t be available until 2015, the announcement fueled speculation that citizens soon would expect to interact with government agencies using the new device, especially in conjunction with the company’s Apple Pay wireless payment service released at the same time.

Back to the Year in Review: Making Sense of 2014

Steve Towns

Steve Towns is the former editor of Government Technology, and former executive editor for e.Republic Inc., publisher of GOVERNING, Government TechnologyPublic CIO and Emergency Management magazines. He has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at newspapers and magazines, including more than 15 years of covering technology in the state and local government market. Steve now serves as the Deputy Chief Content Officer for e.Republic.