I'd like to start a new feature of my blog, which will appear every Friday. It's called "the cool technology of the week". Every week I meet with vendors, pilot new devices, and hear from my staff about the latest information technology products. When I find something that has potential, I'll describe it here.
My first cool technology of the week, is the Orb, a "glance-able" user interface available here . The concept is simple. The Orb is a handblown etched glass sphere containing LEDs for every color of the rainbow plus a text pager interface with an XML parser. Just plug the Orb in any geography in the US that's covered by a paging service. Now the creative part begins. Would your senior executives like to be informed about quality metrics, financial metrics, or workflow metrics? Just pick a color, write a simple interface and you're done. For example, when Emergency Department waiting times are under an hour, he Orb could glow green. When times are between 1-2 hours, the Orb glows yellow. Between 2-3 hours, the Orb glows red. Over 3 hours, flashing red. Place orbs at the nursing stations, in waiting rooms, or on the CEO's desk etc. Metrics are turned into a web service call that results in a page to the Orb every 5 minutes, updating the color.
I've ordered one and I'll be placing all my IT uptime metrics on an Orb feed. At the front desk of Beth Israel Deaconess, you'll soon see a "glance-able" dashboard of the current state of all our applications and infrastructure.