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Do Wearables Have a Place in Enterprise Technology?

Does wearable technology have a place in enterprise tech? Absolutely.

The rise of wearable technology has generated a lot of media interest over the past several years.  While products such as the Apple Watch have generated a lot of buzz, there is a growing market for other devices that do everything from track fitness and health data to provide location information.  These devices are generally marketed to consumers, but there is growing evidence that there is increasing demand for these devices in many businesses.

What Can Wearables Do in a Workplace?

When most people think about wearable technology, they tend to think of consumer-oriented products such as the failed Google Glass or moderately successful Apple Watch.  Because these products are marketed to a mass audience, however, many people tend to assume that they essentially function as toys.  In actuality, though, there are a number of uses for these devices within the workplace.

Smart glasses, for example, are being used extensively by many manufacturing companies.  Instead of having employees carry clipboards and constantly input data manually into a computer or manually check the status of various orders, smart glasses allow employees to automatically scan and know the contents of boxes in a warehouse.  Oil and gas companies are one of the top buyers of these products.

One of the most talked about uses for wearable technology comes from law enforcement.  While many police departments are now buying and using body cameras, many private security firms have been using wearable technology for years.  Smart glasses with facial recognition software is employed by private security companies who need to quickly identify the participants at mass events such as conventions.

Wearable technology is also becoming popular in the healthcare industry.  While there are a number of consumer products that are marketed as devices to improve health, The healthcare industry is using wearable technology for everything from tracking patients to providing real time data about the health of patients to doctors and other healthcare workers.  

According to a recent survey, 79% of the adopters of wearable technology in the workplace believe that this technology are or will be “strategic to their company’s future success”.  Of employees that are already utilizing wearable technology, 76% say that they have seen improvements in their business as a result.  The most commonly used wearable are smartwatches.  These watches are able to keep wearers in touch with their schedules, computer files, and a host of business apps without the inconvenience of carrying a phone or tablet.

What is the Future for Enterprise Wearable Technology?

Over the next year, 86% of survey respondents claim that they plan to increase their use of wearable technology.  While there is an expectation that companies will continue to increase their use of smartwatches, there is also a growing demand for other products.  

Specifically, companies cite a need for wearables that can improve their customers’ experience.  Products that can help employees access customer data remotely, offer hands free instruction or guidance, and provide real-time alerts are cited as being the most in demand.  

For example, wearable glasses that could help a sales representative access data about a new product’s specifications without leaving the customer would help to augment a company’s sales.  In other cases, wearables could access healthcare or client information for employees who were working off-site.  Training programs could be programed into wearables so that employees could learn a new skill without having to take breaks to consult a reference manual or instruction book.  Technical schematics could be sent to workers already in the field, facilitating repairs to equipment.  

In particular, wearables that can provide users with a holographic overlay are expected to be in demand.  This technology has drawn a great deal of interest from the military and healthcare sectors.  As it improves, however, there are applications for it in everything from remote training to repair work.

Companies are looking for wearables that will improve customer response times and minimize down time. Meeting this technological need, however, will be a challenge.  In fact, 30% of wearable technology adapters cited a lack of business applications as one of their biggest challenges when deploying this technology in their company.

Wearable technology has thousands of applications in the business world, and there is a strong amount of interest.  Creating the technology and software that can meet the needs and demands of business, however, will be a challenge.