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How wearable devices are benefiting enterprises

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Thanks primarily to smartwatches — as opposed to, say, Google Glass — wearables slowly are becoming a part of the everyday lives of people. Which means they’ll soon show up in the enterprise in enough quantity to catch IT’s attention.

In some work places that’s already happening, and there’s even an acronym to communicate this phenomenon: BYOWD (Bring Your Own Wearable Device). Citing various recent studies and market forecasts, Mobile Enterprise contributor Jeff Goldman writes that “wearables are gaining credibility as a viable business tool.”

An analysis by the Institute of Management Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, concludes that enterprises which allow the use of wearables on the job are seeing productivity increase by an average of 8.5% and job satisfaction rise by an average of 3.5%.

A Salesforce Research report from last April pinpoints a number of ways wearables are enabling enterprise business. While nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) listed workplace security access as their top current use for wearables, the rest of the list features productivity-related uses: employee time management and real-time communication (20% each); access to business analytics and alerts (16%); tracking workplace productivity (15%); real-time access to customer data and hands-free guides for field service workers (14% each); and augmented reality to guide workers (13%).

No wonder 76% of enterprise survey respondents “report already seeing improvement in their business performance since implementing wearable device technology” (as the Salesforce Research report says): All of the uses mentioned above are about increasing employee efficiency.

Enterprises constantly must gauge the benefits of emerging technologies against security risks, implementation and integration hassles, and total costs. When the potential benefits clearly outweigh the potential downside, the decision is pretty easy. Then it’s merely up to IT to “figure it out.”

Is your enterprise using wearables to improve productivity? What are the results so far?

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