Technalysis Research
Previous Blogs

October 21, 2014
Size Does Matter...When it Comes to Screens

October 14, 2014
Insider Extra: Does Windows Stand a Chance With Enterprise Mobile Apps?

October 14, 2014
Does Big Data Equal Big Brother?

October 7, 2014
Is Windows Still Relevant?

September 30, 2014
Tablet and Smartphone Futures: Specialization

September 23, 2014
Is the App Ecosystem Sustainable?

September 16, 2014
The Wearable-Identity Connection

September 9, 2014
The Password Dilemma

September 8, 2014
Insider Extra: SanDisk--Driving Flash Forward

September 2, 2014
Smart Connected Devices: A New Forecast

August 26, 2014
Phablets—aka Pocket Computers—Drive New World Order

August 19, 2014
Device Usage Diversity

August 12, 2014
New Life for the PC

August 5, 2014
Hot Items for the Holidays: Large Phones, Notebooks and Smart TVs

July 29, 2014
Smartphones: Life's Remote Control

July 22, 2014
The Joy of Vintage Tech

July 15, 2014
Digital Generation Gap

July 8, 2014
Virtualization Reborn

July 1, 2014
Portable Digital Identities

June 24, 2014
The Future of UI: Contextual Intelligence

June 17, 2014
Moving to Markets of One

June 16, 2014
Insider Extra: Dell and the Battle for Business

June 10, 2014
Screen Overload to Drive Screen-less Devices

June 3, 2014
Apple Drives Vision of Seamless Multi-Device Computing

May 27, 2014
Surface Pro 3: The Future of PCs?

May 22, 2014
Insider Extra: SanDisk: The Many Faces of Flash

May 20, 2014
The Technological Divining Rod

May 13, 2014
Computing in the Cloud

May 6, 2014
Device Usage a Question of Degree

April 29, 2014
The Next Smartphone Battleground: Durability

April 22, 2014
BYOD: A Work in Progress

April 18, 2014
Insider Extra: AMD Back in the Groove

April 15, 2014
The Mobility Myth

April 9, 2014
BYOD Dilemma: Devices vs. Data

April 8, 2014
Insider Extra: Qualcomm's Evolving Story

April 1, 2014
A Wearables Forecast

March 25, 2014
Measuring Success in Wearables? It's Thousands of Thousands

March 24, 2014
Insider Extra: Intel Strategy Moves Forward

March 18, 2014
IOT: Islands of Isolated Things?

March 11, 2014
Wearables Cautionary Tale

March 4, 2014
The New Platform Battle

February 25, 2014
Watch What Happens

February 18, 2014
Talkin' 'bout Touchpads

February 11, 2014
The MultiOS Conundrum

February 4, 2014
Computing Redefined

January 28, 2014
The Apple Problem

January 21, 2014
The 2-in-1s People Might Want

January 14, 2014
The Post Tablet Era

January 7, 2014
The Innovation Asymptote

December 31, 2013
Top 5 2014 Predictions

December 17, 2013
Holiday Shoppers Gifting Themselves

December 10, 2013
Companion Apps

December 3, 2013
Aisle Check

TECHnalysis Research Blog

October 28, 2014
The Next Evolution for Wearables: Business

The wearables market has been dissected and analyzed so much it would be easy to presume that nearly every possible angle on the market or detail about it would have been thoroughly covered. But I believe there is one important area/opportunity for wearables that has been nearly completely overlooked: the use of wearables in business.

Virtually all of the wearable market analysis and coverage has assumed that it was a completely consumer-focused effort. The reasons are relatively obvious: virtually all of the wearable products that have been introduced, unveiled or discussed are completely focused on consumers.

Behind the scenes, however, a number of vendors have actually created, or are actively planning, products that are designed to be purchased by and used in business. I’m not talking about activity monitors for while you’re sitting at your desk—although, as I’ll discuss later, there has been some discussion around that—but devices that help you do your job more efficiently.
For example, imagine a heads-up display integrated into a glasses-type wearable that lets field service technicians overlay important information from a service manual on top of the live image of a device they’re repairing. This would enable these technicians to have hands-free access to critical information and even potentially relay a video signal back to an in-house expert if they run across a particularly difficult problem. In fact, these kinds of head-mounted displays have actually been used by some airplane mechanics for several years now in a more basic form. Newer versions can leverage the technology improvements that have occurred thanks to all the R&D that’s been done for consumer wearables.

These kinds of devices can be extremely beneficial for certain types of workers in certain types of companies, because it can allow them to get their jobs done more effectively. For companies, this can translate into direct dollar savings, because they can reduce the cost of things like additional truck rolls for repairs, allowing them to easily justify the expense of these devices.

Plus, in the case of a business version of a head-worn wearable, virtually none of the privacy concerns or social awkwardness that have sidelined products like Google Glass are an issue. This allows vendors of business-focused wearables to be free of these potentially problematic concerns.

In addition to head-worn wearables, there could be things like finger-worn mouse replacements for giving presentations or navigating through large bodies of data, or 3D models, in a “Minority Report”-like style. Leveraging biometric sensors, business wearables could also be used as digital authentication methods for device log-ins, security card replacements and more. (I wrote about the Wearable Identity Connection a few weeks back.)

Some companies have even talked about offering activity bands to provide ergonomic-based reminders about taking breaks or monitoring people’s health. In some cases, these health monitoring tools could be linked to insurance premiums with companies potentially obtaining lower rates if they have higher percentages of healthy people. (Although, to be honest, the potentially Orwellian-like privacy invasions that could occur when companies are tracking the physical activity, or inactivity, of their workers throughout the day are more than a little bit scary….)

To be clear, most business wearables aren’t designed for a large swath of workers, but rather, are focused on more specific vertical applications. As a result, the market for them is likely to remain relatively small when compared to the wider consumer wearables market.

Nevertheless, there are some very real business cases that can be made about bringing wearables to work, and I suspect we’ll see a lot more innovation in this area in the months and years to come.

Here's a link to the original column:

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