Wearables in the Enterprise: It’s All About the Data
Wearables are the new information machine of the enterprise.
While a lot is going on around wearables on the consumer side, some rather substantive activity is taking place in the enterprise with serious growth coming over the next two years, based on one study.
The study, conducted by Salesforce Research, comprised an online survey of 1,500 business professionals, 500 of whom are currently using or planning to implement wearable technology in the enterprise.
The top current enterprise use is for tracking workplace productivity followed by several areas that focus improving the customer experience. These are the areas where companies already are using wearables:
16% — Access to business analytics and alerts
15% — Tracking workplace productivity
14% — Real-time access to customer data
14% — Training for field employees
13% — Augmented reality to guide worker efficiency
13% — Employee biometric vitals
11% — Coaching with live remote tech or trainer
7% — Clinical trial monitoring
However, when adding what companies already are doing with wearable technology and what they are piloting or planning to do within two years, it’s a totally different scope. Here’s what they currently are doing combined with they plan to do, by area:
52% — Tracking workplace productivity
49% — Real-time access to customer data
48% — Access to business analytics and alerts
47% — Coaching with live remote tech or trainer
43% — Training for field employees
42% — Augmented reality to guide worker efficiency
41% — Employee biometric vitals
39% — Clinical trial monitoring
Smartwatches lead the pack, with almost half (49%) of wearable tech adopters saying they expect them to have the biggest impact on the enterprise, according to the Salesforce study.
While Apple Watch is projected to capture 68% of the smartwatch market by the end of this year, according to market intelligence firm Tractica, it still doesn’t have a lock on the enterprise.
One of the issues is looking at a wrist for information or looking elsewhere, such as head-up displays.
For additional perspective, the latest version of Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies has wearables on the list. The hype cycle is an attempt to identify which technologies are emerging and use the concept of digital business transformation to identify business trends.
The hype cycle has five stages: innovation trigger, peak of inflated expectations, the trough of disillusionment, slope of enlightenment and plateau of productivity.
The latest hype cycle puts wearables past the top of stage two, the peak of inflated expectations, and on the way to the trough of disillusionments, if you buy into the idea of the hype cycle concept.
It then would have to pass through the trough of disillusionment, where augmented reality currently resides, according to Gartner. Virtual reality and gesture control already are past that stage and now in the slope of enlightenment part of the curve.
The reality is that despite the hype, which is common in many new technological innovations, the speed of adoption can be faster than projected.
For an organization with a strategic or specific need, such as employee training or improving customer engagement because of better data access, the adoption of wearable technology can drive results directly to the bottom line.
Image by MedGizmo