With a buzz at precisely 6.04am, his wristband decides that Charles has slept enough for today and, in accordance with his sleep pattern, gives him a push towards his morning date with the sleepy streets of the big city. He steals a furtive glance at the collar of his chubby cat, who right now looks like a dormouse in the middle of hibernation, and reads the sensor that, among its functions, measures its breathing, cardiac rhythm and calories consumed. This reading reminds him to note down a task on his smartwatch to take it to the vet before the end of the month. Although Charles seems to have made a full recovery from his latest injury to his femoral biceps, he does a few prudent morning stretches while adjusting his new elastic trousers which monitor his muscular efforts. This garment and his new intelligent insoles with pressure sensors will help him to measure the intensity of the session and, better than his own sensations, monitor it in order to help him avoid unwanted strains or injuries.
He is met by a marked cold when he goes out into the street, but mentally going over his daily schedule and jogging the first few minutes to the rhythm of Queen quickly warms him up both physically and mentally. The music started to sound in his earphones as soon as he reached his normal starting point, the moment he loaded the route into his watch’s log and ordered his glasses to send a photo of the moment to his friend Artemio. From the other side of the Atlantic his friend will smile on receiving the snapshot of his partner in sporting challenges.
The road rises up to meet him majestically to the rhythm of his strides, and a newsagent, the occasional early-morning delivery man and a few crazy joggers are the only people he passes, exchanging fleeting waves and complicit glances of approval. Today it is hard for him to believe that just one year ago he wouldn’t have even considered running races in shorts and less still at such an unearthly hour. Fortunately, in addition to investing in a few gadgets, he also decided to buckle down and move his life up a gear or two.
This has been a great year for Charles. As well as looking after himself and enjoying the dawning of each day a little more than the last, he is working on new innovative customer service projects which have allowed him to combine some of his greatest passions: technology, learning new things and tackling challenges creatively and collectively, shoulder to shoulder with people very different from him. 2016 is looking even better. As well as preparing for a marathon in which he will be testing his abilities, Charles is set on putting his entire focus and motivation into that project on wearable technology applied to operations that has been the sound of the future since his boss first spoke to him about it a few weeks earlier.
“10 kilometres at a pace of 5.05” the voice clearly speaks into his headphones, and the soundtrack of the video clip of his dreams takes centre-stage. Daydreaming is one of the exercises that Charles allows himself each morning, equipped with the wearable technology he has been using for some time as an extension of his body and mind. To satisfy his curiosity and hunger for technology, to get the most out of his time and improve his quality of life, this all makes the investment he has been making in himself for the past few months worthwhile.
A new buzz from his wristband warns him that the area he is going through will be cordoned off tomorrow. The new town council app is one of the novelties that Charles was keen to try out to get the most out of the new services of interaction with his home town.
Thursday 24th, the last day before the Christmas break is already defiantly waiting for him when he gets back home; quick shower, energetic breakfast almost on the move and lots to get finished and left in good order for when he gets back from the holidays. You know, the typical end-of-the-world scenario of every year.
Charles has been working in Ferrovial’s Innovation team for the past six years, where he explores, develops and evaluates varying technologies to facilitate the company’s working processes. Every year he takes the underground to work, making a big line change at Núñez de Balboa station, and finding himself surrounding by the same faces every morning. He greets Matilde at reception and takes the stairs up to the third floor. Today he is meeting with his team to go over the progress of a project which fascinates him, and which goes under the name Light for GLASS. To optimize machine operators’ maintenance time, they developed an APP which, installed on a wearable Google Glass headset, enables operators to carry out their corrective maintenance, preventive, component inventory and incident reporting tasks more easily and quickly on the Torrejón de Ardoz lighting contract. The project is progressing favourably and is helping to meet the objectives: facilitate the work and take the service to a new dimension.
The meetings come to an end, the working day has sped past at 1500m pace, between calls, mail and agreements to mark out the steps to be taken in the New Year. Amid smiles and good wishes from his colleagues, Charles reaches the finishing line, the end of the working day, and goes straight out to a nearby florists suggested to him by his smartwatch to buy, with a discount, some flowers for his mother. The traditional supper with her and with his brothers and sisters marks the beginning of the end of the season.
Lady Pilar welcomes them as always with that blue gaze, a mix of pride and cheekiness, summoning them to leave their mobile phones and other odds and ends in the entrance hall as the sole condition to earn the right to go on in and enjoy her legendary Christmas soup. Now it’s time to get in touch with the family and swap sensors for sensitivity. Before embarking on new challenges and the New Year we need to take a pit stop break and celebrate the year that is coming to an end with our loved ones, be completely present and let ourselves go. Life goes too quickly to miss the moments that no technology (at least not yet) can give us back.