Wearable computers: The future is now (2001)

Here's an old article from 2001. I was in Canada shortly before this time with Nortel... I am not surprised that Bell Canada was trialing equipment by Xybernaut for employee productivity. I first wrote of Xybernaut at about this time in my PhD. Here is the field trial in summation @ Bell Canada:

"The newest wearable devices are small, rugged, lightweight units with the computing power of a desktop PC. The headset projects an easily viewable image the size of a TV screen, incorporates an eyepiece video camera and accepts voice input through a microphone. The devices also feature a tiny keyboard users can carry on their forearms and a clip-on, pager-sized processor.
One such wearable computer, the Mobile Assistant V by Xybernaut, a leading commercial provider of wearable computers based in Fairfax, Virginia, is in pilot testing with the U.S. military, NASA and some highly mobile businesses, including Federal Express and Bell Canada.
Bell Canada, a telecommunications company searching for ways to improve employee productivity, outfitted 19 field technicians with Xybernaut's MA V, giving them real-time access to the companies enterprise resources, including reference materials, safety guides, and maintenance schedules. The goal was to increase service call completion rates and decrease response times.
Bell's field technicians have relied on laptops as their primary computing devices, but are most often left in service vehicles because they'sre relatively fragile and not adaptable to the variety of work environments encountered by technicians. This means lots of wasted time back and forth to the truck to check customer information and collect required data.
Copyright: Xybernaut

Copyright: Xybernaut

The Mobile Assistant provides workers with reliable, accessible voice and data communications in a brand new way, said Edward Newman, Chairman, President and CEO of Xybernaut. In addition to freeing up technicians's hands to do more work, the device also gives them immediate access to the information they need, wherever they are.
Bell Canada technicians tested the Xybernaut wearable computer for two to four months in various configurations and in all weather and service environments. The technicians were able to take their new computing power up utility poles and into manholes; places their laptops were completely impractical.
Thanks to improved portability and reduced computing time, Bell Canada estimates technicians participating in the pilot saved more than 50 minutes per day per worker. In addition, the employees involved in the testing found the wearable to be an asset in performing even the most complex tasks with ease."