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R&D white coats at HP Inc will make corporate ID into wearable tech

'32,000 years of wearable evolution' – this is what it's come to

The consumerisation of wearables has got HP Inc’s chief techie thinking about ways to reach out and touch everyone on the planet. The obvious way to do it? Sex up the corporate name badge, of course.

Shane Wall, CTO at the PC and printer monster told us the company is eyeing up the top spot in commercial wearables – though most people in Europe won’t associate HP with the sector because it has only sold its watches in the US.

“The objective is to be number one in the commercial segment and to own that segment as its a natural strength for us. And then in consumer we’ll play very aggressively in areas where we believe we can be profitable,” he said.

To date, HP has engineered the tech behind the Movado Bold Motion smartwatch, and has worked with Titan, Michael Bastian and Isaac Mizrahi on product launch Stateside too.

“But we think the bigger opportunity is in commercial,” Wall claimed.

He said wearables are not new: “They’ve been around for 32,000 years, there’s the henna tattoo, the piece of leather that got stripped out, the piece of metal that got pounded out more.”

So after all those years of evolution, what is the next big thing? “Think about it, what is the most deployed wearable in enterprise? It’s actually your badge. All of us at any sizeable company have a badge. We see the opportunity to replace the badge with something you are already going to wear today.”

The, er, smart badge, will allow the person wearing it to get access to their work’s premises, to compute resources and it can be used to authenticate the person, as opposed to “authenticating against a badge that could be handed to someone else for entry.”

“That is where we see a blurring between consumer and the commercial,” Wall told us.

There’s a bunch of industries that don’t wear the corporate badge of honour, and some of you might be amazed that includes employees at The Register.

Maybe HP is limiting its horizons here. It could also be the firm is looking for a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. And in all honesty, it seems a bit silly. ®

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