According to International Data Corporation (IDC) the wearables market is set to expand nearly 80% by 2018. The health market will drive this expansion, but now that Cupertino has released the Apple Watch into the wild, business users will begin to adopt wearables into their companies. As BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has taken hold, WYOD (Wear Your Own Device) will follow. For businesses, wearables are a trend that can't be ignored.
The number of wearable devices is still relatively small (a Gfk survey found that only 11% of respondents owned smartwatches) when compared to smartphone ownership. However, with an upward trajectory, now is the time for all businesses to consider how they would manage an increasing number of employees that will want to use their own wearable devices.
"Wearable devices represent the next phase of this mobile revolution," wrote J.P Gownder in the January 2014 Forrester Research report, 'The Enterprise Wearables Journey.' "Perpetually connected wearables will enable workers, partners, and customers to experience new levels of immediacy, simplicity, and context in their mobile computing experiences. Wearables aren't just a consumer phenomenon; they have the potential to change the way organisations and workers conduct business."
And Fujitsu's report 'Digital Inside Out' concluded: "More than three-quarters (77%) of employees believe that the future success of their organisation hinges on the effective use of digital technology. Confidence in digital technology within the workplace appears to be at high levels, with it regarded as potentially highly impactful, versatile and personally liberating. But the enthusiasm for digital tech that we see reflected in this study will only thrive and grow if it is matched by a continued focus on quality and, ultimately, effectiveness."
Business will have to pay attention to WYOD, as employees will demand this. But business owners shouldn't see this as yet another cost and security issue to be dealt with, but an opportunity to integrate their use of digital systems and services to enable their workforces to gain efficiency. Wearable devices, when coupled with today's smartphones and tablets, are a powerful combination.