Are wearables for business too?

April 9, 2014

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It was evident from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show that wearables have taken off in the consumer space, but what about the business world? What, if any, is the value proposition for a business to adopt a wearable technology solution?

Wearables hold big potential for businesses in the digital age. Whoever can push the most useful information at the fastest pace to employees who are making important decisions will gain a competitive edge. Wearables can arm employees with intelligent insights in the moment, which will greatly improve their performance, enhancing the company’s bottom line.

Think sales floor associate, auto-mechanic, neurosurgeon, or telecom equipment field engineer. Each of these business professionals require information to best interact with their situation, be it a customer, an automobile, or a patient. Eyewear fitted with a computing device and visible display, for example, could bring all of the required contextual information to the professional. Wearables can enable employees to better engage with the customer or task at hand, without wasting valuable time or requiring another set of hands to access documents, devices or data.

It’s clear that we are in the early stages of a business trend that is starting at the consumer-level, as they tend to do these days. This is how a number of business trends have originated in the recent past, from web-centric user interfaces to smart phone usage and social technologies, to name a few. The point is there are real business implications for the adoption of wearable technology. We are likely to see a host of business model disruptions to come, as we do with any number of important technological advancements.

So, should your firm be investing in wearable technology solutions? Similar questions were asked as packaged software vendors wondered if they should move to a cloud model earlier this century. Companies that don’t explore how wearable computing devices change their business, risk being disrupted by wearable tech innovators in the near future. Similarly, exploring this trend involves every aspect of your organization from IT to sales, R&D to operations. Wearable technology, like any technology disruption, will reverberate across the spectrum of the organization and require business model changes.

Like any technology adoption however, there are significant risks to early adoption. For example, some businesses such as movie theaters have prohibited the use of wearables at their establishments, given the risk of piracy and copyright infringement. Additionally, other areas of concern remain, including security and privacy concerns, including the potential risk of stolen IP.

Let us know in the comments if you think wearables belong in the enterprise.

Adam Woodyer contributed to this post.

 

 

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