Despite the swarm of negative media attention accorded the Google Glass when it was first introduced to the public – bans on its use by various businesses, concerns raised about privacy issues, and even bills drafted by legislators worried about road safety – the market for smart wearable devices seems to be growing.
According to a study done by Juniper Research, over the next four years, more than 130 million wearables will be shipped globally. And in fact, the research firm also predicts that shipments of smart glasses alone will reach 10 million per year by 2018, compared to the only 87,000 that shipped in 2013.
Confronted with numbers like these, it just makes sense to put some thought into the development of enterprise mobile apps for wearables. If smart watches, glasses, and other similar devices become as commonplace as smart phones and tablets, enterprises will soon be faced with the question of whether to allow them in their BYOD programs or not, and whether mobile app development for wearables would be a good fit within their overall business strategy.
But what would enterprise mobile apps for wearables look like? How would they function? In what ways would they differ from enterprise mobile apps for smart phones and tablets? And perhaps most importantly, how could they benefit businesses?
Parameters For New Apps
The best apps for wearables will not simply make them into extensions of a user’s smart phone. Watches and glasses whose sole purpose is to notify the wearer of a new message have no future.
Instead, app developers should take advantage of the unique capabilities of wearables, such as their voice-command features, or their embedded GPS, gyroscope, and compass. Head movements can come into play, rather than touch screen taps, and even sound can be transmitted differently, through vibrations in the skull behind the ear rather than through ear buds.
The most popular apps, however, will be the ones designed to fit people’s behavior, rather than those simply designed to take advantage of all the bells and whistles without a solid strategy in place. They should be relevant to what a person is doing or where they are located at any given time, and should provide something of value, whether convenience, an increase in efficiency, savings, or even fun.
Existing Apps For Wearables
There are already several good examples of apps for wearables that make perfect use of these new features. For example, there is an app for Google Glass that tracks the user’s location, and automatically gives them traffic and route updates as they drive. There is another that displays a recipe in the field of vision so a cook can create hands-free. Yet another can recognize the proximity of the user’s favorite grocery store and automatically display the shopping list he or she made previously.
How Could Apps for Wearables Benefit Your Business?
Both operational efficiency and workplace safety could be improved with hands-free enterprise mobile apps such as those mentioned above, while new and innovative uses of the features unique to wearables could revolutionize customer service. Imagine, as just one possible example, glasses providing data or even a sales script to salespeople as they speak with customers – eye contact could be maintained while reading the data or even hearing it through vibrations.
As Shawn Hardin, CEO of Mind Pirate, a maker of game apps which has just created a game for Google Glass, said, “A whole new app ecosystem is going to be born. Those who are going to make that happen in a big way are going to be valuable companies because of it, and those who wait too late won’t be a part of it.”
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When Kishore isn’t cultivating his teams of passionate thought leaders within the IT scene, as a licensed private pilot he enjoys playing in the clouds, community service, and being active in Dallas based Health Wildcatters. Furthermore, he is a devoted family man who places great value in spending time with his wife and two children.
Mr. Khandavalli earned a Master's degree from the University of Akron in Ohio.
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