From your palm to your wrist: Preparing for wearables

Technology is advancing at a rapid pace and the cornerstone mobile devices that users know and love may soon be accented by wearable hardware. Although wearables are mostly used for fitness and monitoring purposes, this equipment could become a significant asset in the workplace. Whether using a smartwatch or the up-and-coming Google Glass, the owner's hands remain free, allowing them to maximize their productivity while receiving any essential information that they may have previously viewed in the palm of their hand. While these devices may not be immediately picked up in the consumer market, business interest in wearables will help spur support for this hardware.

Currently, app developers have a significant task ahead of them. As the mobile market continues to splinter, app builders will need to invest in the right component suites to provision users with beneficial programs. Because the technology continues to evolve quickly, having the best tools will be essential to utilizing the devices effectively. According to numbers from Strategy Analytics, 1.2 million smartwatches were sold in 2013, and the transactions in first quarter of 2014 skyrocketed by 250 percent year-over-year, The Washington Post reported. Although there are not currently a lot of options for wearables, this growth is significant given the fact that users are showing interest in new devices like the Samsung Galaxy Gear.

While the Galaxy Gear and Gear 2 serve as a good first effort, it's expected that Apple and Google will up the ante with their own wearable devices. Although the iWatch is still currently a rumor, supporters are showing anticipation for the hardware. Google Glass has gone into beta testing and Apple has partnered with designers to create more fashion-forward frames. This type of adapting is expected to play on consumer preferences, but by seeing how useful wearables are in the business environment, it may inspire people to use the equipment in their other daily activities.

"Google, which has designed an operating system called Android Wear just for these devices, is expected to unveil details this week on how to make wearables appear exciting for consumers," The Washington Post stated. "The promise: Wearing your tech should cut the amount of time you spend as a smartphone zombie staring down at the palm of your hand."

When to adopt wearable hardware
Although some experts may say to wait until the technology is more mature, businesses that stall the incorporation of wearable devices may miss out on benefits and considerable competitive advantages. InformationWeek contributor Mark O'Neill noted that while tablets and smartphones will remain important, the early adopters of wearable devices will reap all of the rewards. With 90 million devices expected to be shipped globally this year, it will be essential for developers and decision-makers to incorporate this equipment into their plans. App builders will need to determine which components will add substance to essential processes and how to best provide features for business use.

The wearable devices are predicted to be a major force in organization operations as the hardware can deliver critical information without occupying the user's hands. This will boost employee productivity and enable them to better meet customer needs without losing a beat. With hardware like Google Glass, workers can easily take inventory and client-facing representatives can have the data on-hand to better address their concerns. As these capabilities become more important in the workplace, decision-makers must consider leveraging the wearable devices for their own advantages.

"[The] next big thing is wearables. Devices like Google Glass, smartwatches, fitness trackers that attach to clothing, health monitors worn on (or even in) the body - these hands-free innovations are the future," O'Neill wrote. "Information goes automatically to those who need it."


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