Wearables growth will require business vigilance

With wearable devices set to see strong uptake in 2015, it's now time for companies to begin considering how they'll affect operations.

This article will explore exactly what defines a wearable and where the market is going as 2014 comes to a close.

Defining a wearable

There have been a number of new IT trends in recent years such as the cloud and Big Data, but innovation in hardware has largely been lacking.

While 2010 saw a massive proliferation of tablets following the iPad launch, there has been a lack of new technology fields in the years since.

This changes with wearable technology – hardware that users actually attach to their bodies.

Wearables can be defined as devices worn anywhere on the body, with current efforts centred on smartwatches and smartbands (fitness trackers). Looking ahead, smart clothing will extend the functionality to pieces of clothing.

Many people will be used to fitness trackers, but the real growth potential lies with smartwatches. These are devices that look similar to standard watches but include a number of sensors that track movement and location, along with a display to relay notifications from a smartphone.

Smartwatches instead of wristbands

There's currently an overlap between the established smartband market and the relatively new smartwatches, especially in terms of functionality.

"Smartwatches having retail prices of $149 or more will typically have the capability to track activity and have accelerometers and gyroscopes similar to their smart wristband cousins," said Angela McIntyre, the research director at Gartner.

"The smartwatches differ from smart wristbands in that smartwatches need to display the time and have a user interface oriented around communication."

She explained that function overlap is showing no sign of slowing down.

The need for business vigilance

Smartwatches represent a step forward for personal computing devices, and a new age where businesses will have to remain open to implementation. These devices offer an opportunity to access useful data; information that a company could use to gain relevant insights.

What's more, businesses will be able to offer new experiences and ways of accessing information for staff.

  1. Customer experiences: Wearables, like smartphones before them, open the door to new customer experiences in the form of applications. Businesses can deliver useful functionality, whether it's easier payment systems or other unique experiences.
  2. Staff information: If a sales representative is meeting with a customer, a smartwatch means information is only a glance away. This means employees can easily give their full attention to a customer.
  3. In the medical field, doctors will be able to monitor heart rate results from smartwatches, along with movement data. They can then use this information to provide better care for patients.

Businesses assessing future technology endeavours need to account for wearable technologies, especially given the growth potential.

To move into this exciting new field, businesses should ensure they're placing their best foot forward by using the ITIL framework.

This has been designed to ensure IT endeavours are handled correctly from the planning stages through to completion, with a lower chance of errors or other setbacks. It lays out a clear framework for the business, one where all possible issues are considered prior to any real implementation.

Given that wearables represent a completely new undertaking, it's important to give due consideration to a capable framework.

Speak to ALC Training today if you'd like to find out more about ITIL and the various locations where courses can be held.