Water utility company Severn Trent's field workers could use Google Glass to access data and feed it back to improve efficiency and health and safety, its CIO Myron Hrycyk announced.

Speaking at a Hitachi Data Storage roundtable last week, Hrycyk said that he had been considering the best way to utilise wearable technology for engineers, and believed that the company's engineers will be wearing them by 2020.

"Some of the best uptake in technology is where the technology is empathetic to the individual who is using it. So I sat there I thought actually what would my people really like to use – they have to wear safety goggles when they're working as they have to have both hands free," he said.

Wearable technology

"Google Glass has got potential to provide them with facilities where I can stream all this data and make it really useful to them in a way that would be acceptable."

Hrycyk said the technology would be perfect for lone workers in confined spaces who were at risk from dangerous chemicals. Motion sensors and cameras would enable real-time trackers to ensure workers are "still moving" and they will be able to utilise map, instruction and serial number information for jobs while on the move.

Some 2,000 work crews use ruggedised laptops on the field - connected via the iPass enterprise WiFi service - to access centralised business applications. They can update maps, process serial numbers for equipment and feed back information while on a job. 

Unlocking value from Big Data

Hrycyk also said that he believes that manipulating data in real-time is key to transforming it into tenable business and customer value.

"The speed at which we can manipulate that data and analyse it in terms of in-memory computing and those powerful processing is another key to opening the lock it took me a month to do some analysis it would be great if I could have done it in half a day," he said.

"It's more than harvesting and mining information but how it is available. In 2020 it could well be that Google Glasses will be placed and a stream of data through high bandwidth, fast processing time, access to metadata will give our employees really big technology support."