Wearables have become a buzz word and were a major attraction in the CES 2014. Wearables in general comprise of devices having miniature sensors embedded in them that could be worn as accessories. They can be worn as glasses, as wristbands, necklace, soles etc.
A major reason for wearables getting so much attention is the fact that the data processing component from wearables has been removed. This has been made possible mainly because all wearables connect to smart devices and thus the processing aspect is taken care by another device like a smartphone, a tablet or even cloud. Next Generation of wearables have been liberated from the processing task and only keep track of the user parameters. A lot of data is generated out of these devices and making sense out of these data has been assigned to smart phones and cloud. In addition, wearables are also poised to make an impact in new sectors such as sports coaching where data would be gathered in real time and can help in improvement of performance by backing up the inputs with information.
A space crowded by Startups
Wearables is rapidly emerging as a new product category and the whole ecosystem is getting crowded with startups. A lot of vendors have made their presence felt using unique offering like Pebble Smart watch, Fitbit Flex, Jawbone, Myo Armband. Major vendors like Samsung, LG, Google have also forayed into this emerging product category with products like Galaxy Gear, G Watch, Glass to name a few.
Enter the Enterprise
Wearable technology is at the peak of expectations and its true potential is yet to be realized. But unlike in the case of any new technology, which is first championed by the consumers and then trickles down to the enterprises, the early adopters for wearables would also include enterprises. One can be skeptical about the above proposition. A main reason could be the past technology adoption trends like Smartphones and Tablets. However, while the above statement might be true, the potential business value that wearables will help businesses generate is huge. Wearables help tackle problems that were earlier difficult to solve.
A lot of developments in wearable movement is still in nascent but the impact of adoption can be felt in industries like Healthcare and can have a major impact in coming years on the workflow in banking vertical as well as CRM tools in retail vertical. Enterprises are undertaking proactive hunt for partners to collaborate and develop vertical specific solutions around banking, retail and healthcare.
Key Trends in Enterprise
There can be three key trends that will lead to large scale adoption of wearables amongst enterprises:
Mobile devices and broadband penetration have resulted in a global shift in business landscape. Enterprises are flooded with data and wearable will only contribute further to data deluge. This is where analytics can make a huge impact. Analytics can help harness meaningful insights from the data available and can lead to enterprises reaping benefits. Patients are reaping benefits of wearable solutions that have analytics built in them. And today, doctors are also able to remotely monitor critical patient parameters, thus enabling patients to be mobile and not just be confined to their hospital beds.
Wearables try to further reduce the barrier between the man machine interfaces. Accessing critical information which helps the user in the pertinent context empowers them. Measuring critical stats on the go can lead to improved productivity. With voice enabled digital assistants round the corner, weaving wearables in to the enterprise solutions is the logical next step. Today, with Google Glass, doctors are able to stream their surgeries to medical students thus ensuring a much more enhanced learning experience.
Wearables would generate data and with that concerns about its fair usage. The current ecosystem is largely fragmented and a platform which can prove its robustness and can address privacy concerns would boost adoption of wearable manifold. Enterprises would also have to expand their BYOD definition to include smart objects and wearables. Wearables would ensure that the security aspect can be addressed in places like banks and airports where a wearable device would continuously authenticate the identity of user.
Many enterprises have already begun experimenting with wearables and are trying to redesign their application workflow to include wearables in scope of design. In this upcoming brewing revolution of wearables, early adopters would certainly gain a competitive edge among their peers.