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2015 will probably be the year of wearables. As part of an innovation project at BTEXX we tried to unmistify the magic behind it and implemented a couple of Smartwatch prototypes based on SAP Portal backend data, because you do not need to wait for S/4HANA to build a fancy SAP Smartwatch App … 😉

We are happy to share our experience in a “Portal on Smartwatch” blog series. Which we would like to divide in 3 parts:

Introduction to Wearables

Current research studies, e.g. from Forrester, have shown that end users and enterprises are interested in wearables and are planning to use them or are willing to invest in business cases based on them. Forrester has published the following 5 predictions of wearables:

  • The people want it
  • The business wants it even more
  • Companies are inventing new business and service models around wearables
  • Wearables involve surprises
  • The target can be an all-body network

Source: CIO/Forrester (German Site) or an alternative English blog about the topic

Pebble Smartwatch

If you are following the smartwatch market, you have probably heard of Pebble. Pebble was successfully funded via the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter in 2012 and till now they have sold over 1 Mio. Smartwatches. Currently they are funding their new edition “Pebble Time”, which will be again the biggest campaign on Kickstarter. On the first day of the campaign they have raised over 5 Mio. dollar alone… 

For our development we used the “Pebble Steel” which works as companion watch for Apple iPhones or Android Phones. The watch has a 144 x 168 pixel black and white e-ink display and you can implement the following kind of watch apps:

  • Watchfaces: Modern or classic watchface enriched via smart information, e.g. from an SAP System
  • Notifications: Push notifications, primarily the Pebble is displaying notifications from the connected smartphone
  • Watch Apps: Custom smart watch app implementations based on the Pebble SDK

What I loved during the development/prototyping was the cloud based development environment, without a local setup I was able to develop my first watchface in a couple of minutes and was able to deploy and test the development on the watch. A good start for Pebble developers is the Pebble Developer Site, which offers good tutorials and API documentation.

But now let’s have a look what scenarios/prototypes we have implemented for the Pebble.

Portal Scenario 1: UWL Watchface

Simple UWL (Universal Worklist) watchface implementation, which shows next to the time (it’s still a watch) the total number of open tasks (e.g. 8 tasks) and details of the latest task, in this case a HR time correction request (Clock-in) of Dieter Martens…

uwl_watch_en.PNG

Update (08.03.2015) based on the new Pebble SDK 3.0 (Pebble Time, Platform: Basalt)

The screens show the migrated watchface to the new SDK 3.0, which supports colors, and two screens of the BTEXX mobilePortal companion app to show the workflow/interaction:

PebbleTime_Watchface_with_mobilePortal.PNG

Update (17.03.2015): Picture of the watchface on the unpublished Pebble Time

Thanks to the Pebble development team I got an picture how our watchface would look on a real (unpublished) Pebble Time. Good to know that the watchface works also on the real watch 😉

Pebble_Time_Live.PNG

Portal Scenario 2: BTEXX mobilePortal on Pebble

This menu based smartwatch application displays the latest news, tasks and services…

mobilePortal_1_en.PNG

The UWL tasks can even be approved/rejected via the watch…

mobilePortal_2_en.PNG

Architecture

pebble_architecture.PNG

The native watch apps are implemented in C (Layout and Business Logic) and Javascript (Connectivity to the Internet/REST Services) and are running directly on the watch on top of the Pebble SDK.

Via bluetooth coupling between the watch and the smartphone the Pebble SDK on the watch can connect via the Pebble Companion App on the smartphone to our REST API of the BTEXX mobilePortal to access e.g. Universal Worklist entries, etc…

I hope you found the provided information valuable! I am looking forward to your feedback or questions!

Stay tuned for the Portal Scenarios on Android Wear and on the Apple Watch… hopefully we will find time to write the blogs in the next weeks…

Best regards,

Michael

About BTEXX

Based on the connection between user perspective, SAP technology and process know-how, BTEXX implements user-friendly solutions that make companies more efficient and users happy.

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10 Comments

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    1. Michael Beining Post author

      Thanks, the development of this show case was a lot of fun and it was quite interesting to check out some development tools/concepts outside of the classic SAP Enterprise Portal world…

      Have a great weekend!

      Michael

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  1. Martin English

    Some UI related questions;

    Exactly how much information can I see on the smart watch ?

    Can I realistically validate the information being presented on the wearable ?

    Security;

    It looks like you use bluetooth to select a link or notification on the wearable, and have it open on another device (like a smartphone). Have you examined any of the Bluetooth Security issues ?

    hth

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    1. Michael Beining Post author

      Hi Martin,

      very good questions, thanks for your interest!

      1. UI Related

      Based on the limited display possibilities of a smartwatch (the Pebble has e.g. 168 x 144 px) in comparision  to a smartphone (the iPhone 5s has e.g. 1136 x 640 px) and Desktop-Monitors (e.g. 1680 x 1050 px), which are still the main frontend for SAP applications, you definitely have to think about the relevant use cases and which content and in which form make’s sense on a smartwatch.

      From my personal experience (I have the Pebble Steel now for 2 months), the watch is great to display notifications (e.g. mail, directions, messages, threshold valure, etc.) which enables me to start an action, which can be a digital action, e.g. on my watch or on my phone, or on my desktop, or a physical action, e.g. turn left to find the restaurant which I was looking for…  

      Next to the notifications I find e.g. time sensitive content great. The watch knows e.g. what time it is and that in 15 minutes I have to go to the train station to platform 1 and that I should step into wagon 28 and that my seat has the number 55. This works pretty great on a smartwatch interface and is/was quite valuable for me 😉     

      2. Security

      The Pebble Watch currently does not support to open an app/link on the smartphone yet (as far as I know). With the 3 colorful screens, which you are probably refering to, I wanted to visualize the following:

      1. On my smartwatch tasks watchface I see the total amount of open tasks and 3 attributes of my latest task

      2. Based on that I can manually decide to take an action. E.g. checking more details on my phone or desktop

      In the upcoming blog about Android Wear (Part 2) we will describe how you can open an app/link on the connected phone via a android wear watch. Android Wear supports that already…

      Bluetooth security issues I have not examined in more detail yet, but I will have a look into that.

      Hope that helped!

      Michael

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      1. Martin English

        thanks;

        looking forward to seeing what comes of your example, and this technology in general. Just the fact that Apple is releasing a smartwatch (official from 7 hours ago as I type) is going to put it on the cool kids radar 🙂

        hth

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  2. Michael Beining Post author

    As teaser for the upcoming blog posts you will find an smartwatch business overview presentation on our website. You will find it on our mobile page: http://www.btexx.de/mobile.    

    Download the presentation via this tile:

    Smartwatch_channels.PNG

    Currently the presentation is only available in German, sorry for that. But nevertheless it’s worth downloading it for the screens of our Apple Watch and Android Wear prototypes alone 🙂

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