Use of wearables in the enterprise will more than triple in the next two years, with smartwatches emerging as a popular candidate to deliver sales and customer service improvements, Salesforce claims.
The CRM company surveyed over 1,400 working adults, 500 of which are wearable tech adopters, to find out how wearable technology is being used in the enterprise, with smartwatches emerging as the most impactful platform in terms of delivering improved sales or customer service experiences or data that can generate insights to improving those processes (digital lanyards and smart glasses rank second and third, respectively).
While wearable tech is still quite a nascent segment (only a fifth of those surveyed overall use wearable for the most basic use cases) research does suggest employees are sold on the potential of these technologies to have a material impact on their businesses.
Salesforce said 79 per cent of adopters agree wearables will be strategic to their company’s future success; 76 per cent report improvements in business performance since deploying wearables in the enterprise; and 86 per cent of adopters plan to increase their wearables spend over the next 12 months.
Just over half of adopters (54 per cent) claim their company supports Bring Your Own Wearable (BYOW) model, while 40 per cent said they companies plan to support BYOW in the future.
“Wearables are the next phase of the mobile revolution. Like smartphones before them, the key to success for wearables in the enterprise is all about the killer business apps,” said Lindsey Irvine, global director of strategic partnerships, Salesforce. “This research demonstrates the tremendous opportunity for wearable use cases to drive significant business value.”
About 52 per cent of respondents said they use or plan to use wearables for real-time access to customer data; 49 per cent for hands-free instruction or guides to field service; and 48 per cent for access to business analytics and alerts.
But according to the research about 30 per cent of adopters cite the lack of business applications as a primary challenge in deploying wearables, and just 8 per cent of wearable adopters said they’re ready to gain actionable insights from the volume of employee and customer data generated from wearables.
Salesforce said that a rich app ecosystem will be required for enterprises to feel confident in deploying and integrating wearables with their existing IT landscape and business processes. Improvements in wearable tech will also be required – among respondents who indicated they have yet to incorporate wearables into their business plans, 25 per cent said that they’d be motivated by lower cost and 15 per cent by devices that can better multitask.