Wearables are a fad; Wearables for Business are the future
I’m passionate about technology — but not tech for its own sake. I’m particularly interested when it helps people get the job done so they can be successful.
One area I’ve got my eye on is mobility — wearables in particular — and how they could help businesses in the future. Like smart phones, wearables are likely to take off in the consumer market first.
We’ve already seen the buzz around things like the Fitbit, the Apple iWatch, the Jawbone UP3 and Google Glass — people have a big appetite for life-enhancing gadgets.
In reality, the first wave of wearables was pricey, with slightly awkward form factors , and a disappointing user experience.
It’s not particularly encouraging for businesses, and most will take a wait and see approach: it’s hard to cost-justify unproven new technology at the best of times.
The Business Case for Wearables in 2025
But fast-forward five or ten years with me, to a time when wearables have matured, much like cloud did.
The first thing you’ll notice is that wearables are now either seamless and invisible, or certainly light and inconspicuous. The technology might be embedded into a bracelet or a piece of jewellery. Eyewear will be light, funky and personalised.
As for the functions, what we’re seeing now is just the start. Firstly, the future of mobility in the enterprise will be driven not by devices themselves, but by the content they can access, the opportunities to streamline procedures and the productivity gains.
In terms of content, we will continue to see greater interconnectedness between more types of data across departments, with developers dreaming up more powerful and varied mobile apps as a result.
Secondly, wearables will offer new opportunities to streamline procedures. Just as enterprise apps are getting more intelligent, accurate and powerful — wearables will let employees do things more quickly and with more automation. For example, wearable devices will make it quicker to sign things off, receive important notifications, make purchases and get authenticated.
The third thing is productivity. Wearables will give employees intelligent tailored apps, instant cloud access, communications, and file and information sharing — wherever they find themselves working.
Right across the verticals, retail, professional services, public sector, education and healthcare, the future is really exciting. But forget five to ten years away: the wearables revolution has already started in a big way in some of leading sectors.
Here and now
In the medical field, Google Glass-style eyewear is being developed for use in telemedicine, for things like live-surgery demonstrations and remote medical training.
In the auto industry, wearables are being used day-to-day by the big car makers to monitor speed, fuel efficiency and even the driver’s fatigue level, via heart-rate sensors; and in their production lines.
These are opportunities for you in wearables whatever your industry. Wearable technology will extend your current mobile estate whilst giving you new ways of innovating, sharing information, collaborating, finding process efficiencies, and raising productivity. But it’s less about the device, and more about what it can do for you.
Information access and collaboration will power all of these incredible innovations; and you can start innovating today, so you’re prepared to embrace enterprise wearables tomorrow. The video here, on our work with Gatwick Airport, demonstrates how Box can provide mobile employees with content wherever they are, in a secure fashion.
Stuart Gammon, Vice President Sales Europe at Box