The Future’s Bright for Business Use of Wearable Technology
Robin Duke-Woolley, Beecham Research
There is a tendency to think of Wearable Technology as directed entirely at the consumer market. This is not the case though. Increasingly, Wearable Technology is being used as part of business processes as well. Why? Because it can enable big improvements to knowledge transfer, increase productivity, add new security and a host of other benefits in the work environment. It can be fun too.
Last year, Beecham Research published a new Wearable Technology Application Chart showing 7 key sectors and 28 different application groups where there were current products on the market. Today, we have published our new report on this market which includes a revised chart that now shows 8 sectors and 34 different application groups. Follow this link for a free download of the new chart. The new report is also available at this link.
The new sector is Business Operations and we have now included it as a separate sector partly because of its growth potential and also partly because it can now represent an important stage in the evolution of new product ideas. Take Google Glass for example – Google’s mobile head-up display. Condemned as a fashion faux pas in the high volume consumer market for its geeky appearance, that same device is now being used for customer service applications where it allows staff to offer a more personalised experience. Function matters more than style in business. Virgin Atlantic is one company trialling Glass for this.
Other examples include Motorola’s Laser Ring Scanner, a bar code reader designed to be worn on the index finger, and Walt Disney World’s use of MagicBands throughout its resorts and theme parks providing a room key, park entry and money access.
In the work environment, fashion styling is not such a must have as in the consumer space. The emphasis is on improving business processes. If it looks great that’s a plus, but it’s not such a barrier if it looks a bit clunky. That means early designs that may not be ultra sleek have an opportunity to be tried out and perfected in the business environment first before being subjected to the style pressures of the consumer market – where, if anything, style matters more than function.
The business market for wearables is already large. As detailed in our latest report, we calculate it is about a third the size of the consumer market and growing strongly.