Wearable Technology Makes the Jump to the Workplace

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Consumers can be a bit finicky when it comes to wearable technology. While wellness wearables have made a small impact in the consumer market, not much else has. Consumers face device fatigue, investment justification, fashion judgments, and a profound lack of benefits. Endeavour Partners studied early wearable adopters and found that of the U.S consumers who purchased an activity tracker, more than half no longer use their device. More over, one-third of those surveyed stopped using the device within six months of receiving it.

The real value proposition is in the enterprise, and 2015 is poised to be a year of change for wearables in the workplace. These devices allow for real-time access of data while freeing the hands for more tactile work, in turn giving the enterprise valuable information. “Wearables can help improve employee efficiency, enhance training and ongoing communication, reduce nonproductive time and rework, shrink decision time frames, minimize exposure to hazardous conditions, decrease travel time and more,” according to Accenture Technology. Companies have the opportunity to streamline training and the decision-making process by having real-time access to employees, which might be especially useful in fieldwork and manufacturing.

Wearables have the potential to disrupt every industry, but currently only 3 percent of companies are investing in enterprise wearables. In its Digital IQ study — slated for release in fall 2015 — PwC reported on the top five industries that have adopted wearables thus far: healthcare (10 percent), technology (7 percent), automotive (6 percent), industrial products (5 percent), and business and professional services (4 percent). In order to stay competitive and relevant, companies need to take notice of wearable technology and how it can positively impact their bottom line. Giants like Salesforce have already set the pace with the Salesforce Wear initiative, and the Apple Watch and Microsoft’s HoloLens are hot on their heels.

Unobtrusive Wearables

For wearables to be successfully adopted into the workplace, companies will need to plan for the following considerations: user experience, workflow modifications, analytics, IT infrastructure, privacy and security, and battery life. “To succeed,” according to PwC, “wearables must first and foremost be human-centered—that is, designed to meet the needs of the user without getting in his or her way.”

Workplace wearables might still be in the “clunk” phase, not unlike their technological predecessors — think flip phones, pagers, Bluetooth headsets, etc. While the challenges are there, so is the technological capabilityto refine design, utility and functionality. This technology will continue to evolve as our offices become wire-free, deskless, and remote.  The possibilities are simply endless.

Check out our Make it Wearable campaign for more information on how we’re transforming the wearable market.

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