It is fair to say that wearable technology has yet to truly take off. With Google having recently shelved its Glass projects due to a lack of consumer interest, the notion of a truly commercially successful wearable device is yet to become a business reality.
There are a variety of reasons for this, but above all else is the fact that the wearable niche has yet to be adequately defined by manufacturers. There is an abiding feeling that wearables are gimmicky and offer little real world value. Additionally, manufacturers of the first smartwatches and other wearable devices have struggled to imbue them with a truly original and engaging functionality.
However, with the release of the Apple Watch, the consumer electronics behemoth which is Apple has taken a step into the arena, and this could change the wearables space forever. It has already been reported that the Apple Watch sold 1 million units within a single day, which is around half the number of units that Samsung managed to shift of its Galaxy Gear watch in around 18 months.
Apple is a game changer in so many areas, and it looks like its investment in the wearables sector is about to have the same impact on this niche. Apple Watch is expected by some analysts to sell as many as 20 million units by the end of 2015, and this would unquestionably catapult wearable technology into the public mainstream.
But does wearable technology have any natural business applications? Certainly there is scepticism about this, but already companies are experimenting with wearable applications and software. For example, the travel industry has got on board very early with wearable technology, and is currently in the process of developing and testing such technology as boarding passes which can be utilised via a smart watch.
The notion of a device which can be utilised to buy goods and services and which fits on one’s wrist is obviously ideal for tourism, where people do not want to be carrying bulky devices. But there is also evidence that wearables are beginning to gain traction in every area of industry.
Recent studies carried out by Tech Pro Research explored the use of wearables in the enterprise sector, and found about the overwhelming majority of companies are preparing to include this technology within their everyday operations. According to the Tech Pro research, 92 percent of respondents are familiar with, or seeking more information on, wearable devices, and 42 percent of respondents reported that they had already had moderate to strong exposure to wearables.
Aside from the travel industry, the healthcare sector is also pushing the development of wearables, with software such as health trackers and apps that provide clinical information to physicians considered a natural usage of the technology.
If wearables are to establish themselves in the business sector then there are undoubtedly obstacles to their acceptance. Security and privacy are considered particularly important, and manufacturers of these devices will have to reassure commerce in this regard. But in a business climate in which technology such as Bring Your Own Device is becoming particularly popular, wearables seem a natural part of the modern workplace.