Wearables are a recent trend in technology that consumers can physically wear (hence the name); they are often used to track health and fitness. Recently, they have become all the buzz in the business world, but are they right for your business?
With the technology still in its early phases of development, now may not be the moment to get your business on board, in fact, wearables could be an expensive investment mistake.
Here are five reasons wearables may not benefit your business.
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1. We’re Still Catching Up With Apps and BYOD
Businesses are excited about wearables, but there are still older tech trends that need to be managed. Slow adoption of apps, as well as a lagging transition to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) workplaces, mean that most companies are still sorting out how to integrate tech solutions that have been around for years. This includes handling security concerns, optimizing and streamlining activities for the app format, and overcoming operating system obstacles.
Image via Filecluster
Companies should acknowledge the slow rate at which most have adopted these technologies before diving in and investing in wearables. It could be several years before most companies arrive at a place where smart watches and the like are truly the tech solution of the moment.
2. We Still Don’t Know What Wearables are Good For
What do you even do with a smart watch? This is the question most consumers are asking and businesses should be asking it too. It’s not just that we don’t know what wearables excel at doing, but rather that we hardly know what they can do at all. This is, in part, because wearables have hit the market on a number of platforms, preventing developers from focusing in on one and making it work well. Until we can pair outstanding functionality with a specific business-centered purpose, there’s no point in bringing wearables into the office.
Right now, the biggest “problem solving” trait of wearables is that they allow you to perform some task without taking your phone out of your pocket, and as business analyst Jonathan Gaw points out, that’s not a big enough role to gain much market share.
3. Mainstream Wearables are for the Mainstream
One of the biggest problems with buying up mainstream wearables, like the Apple Watch, for business is that these items weren’t designed for business purposes. If you’re trying to use wearables to collect specific data related to employee activities, there’s a strong chance it won’t be possible.
Wearables were designed for casual use in personal settings.
If you’re invested in using data tracking to amp up business productivity, you may need specialized sensors. These sensors can also be installed on wearable devices, but you can’t buy them at your local mall or big box store, and they definitely won’t be part of a BYOD paradigm.
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4. Privacy Concerns
New technologies almost always come with new privacy conundrums, and it’s vital that businesses resolve these issues before bringing new tech into the office. Business security is of the utmost importance and wearables currently compromise that security. Indeed, according to Arjun Kharpal with CNBC, wearables may be the biggest hacking threat to businesses today.
This is particularly the case when it comes to BYOD wearables. Even though wearables may not be part of a company initiative yet, fitness trackers, smart watches and other similar devices make their way into the office on the arms of unsuspecting employees.
Much like phones, wearables can then connect to office networks, creating a space for hackers to work their way in. Because businesses have less of an understanding of these new devices, company networks are not yet set up with the appropriate safeguards.
Even companies working outside of the BYOD paradigm would be smart to develop a workplace-wide policy for wearable devices to prevent these potential openings from being exploited.
5. Your Employees Might not Want to Wear Them
This is a hurdle to adoption if we’ve ever seen one: people just aren’t very into wearables. Research into product adoption—even of the most voluntary variety—has revealed that wearables don’t stay popular for very long. Within six months, a solid third of wearable users will have left the device behind and more than half are done using them within two years. With current price points still riding high, wearables are a big investment with low return.
Image via Mashable
We may come to a point when wearables will revolutionize the workplace, but that time hasn’t yet arrived. Businesses should seriously reflect on their goals before investing in this kind of technology and assess whether or not the current limited functionality of wearables will allow them to achieve these goals.
For now, the best that most companies can do is to work on adoption of older technologies with greater utility. And, as for wearables, keep watching the market to see where they’re headed. Invest when the time is right, but that time isn’t now.