Earlier this month, I [Fredric Paul] wrote that “even as smartwatch shipments continue to grow, significant industrial and business use cases for these internet-connected devices have yet to appear.”
And then a few days later, as if on cue, International Data Corporation (IDC) put out a press release about the latest edition of the Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. The release quoted Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC’s Wearables team, saying, “Two major drivers for the wearables market are healthcare and enterprise adoption.”
According to Llamas, “Within the enterprise, wearables can help to accelerate companies’ digital transformation by transmitting information back and forth while allowing workers to complete their tasks faster. This is where both vendors and companies can streamline processes to achieve faster results.”
That’s not all. The release also connected smart assistants running on wearables with business use cases.
“The rise of smart assistants on wearables, both wrist-worn and ear-worn, is a trend worth watching,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers, in a statement. “Though still in its infancy, the integration of these assistants with wearables opens up new use cases, from allowing these devices to tie into the smart home to making the devices more proactive at urging users to live healthier or more productivelives.” [Italics mine.]
You can bet these statements grabbed my attention, so I reached out via email to learn more and quickly heard back from Llamas.
“You’re right,” he wrote, “enterprise deployment is slow. Most of it is driven by digital health/corporate wellness initiatives.”
3 companies developing wearable technology for business
But Llamas provided three examples of companies “getting attention” for their work on wearable technology for the enterprise:
- Theatro: Hands-free communication for retail workers
- Hipaax: Software solution for wearable workflows
- Notable: Hands-free patient record note-taking
Let’s take a quick look at each one:
Theatro uses a voice-controlled “intelligent assistant” to operate a SaaS-based mobile Internet of Things (IoT) devices that let even hourly workers use the existing enterprise apps, as well as the company’s own collaboration apps. Theatro’s website claims retailing customers such as The Container Store, Niemen Marcus and Cabelas, for applications like enabling a Niemen’s fitting room associate to easily call a floor associate to bring a different size item and letting Cabelas managers reassign labor in real-time to optimize floor coverage.
The Hipaax TaskWatch solution, meanwhile, is designed to “transform information into actionable and measurable tasks.” TaskWatch applications are developed on a “cloud-based wearable backend” and are delivered as a service called WearableWorkflow, with “interactive top-down statistical analysis for ongoing workflow optimization” handled by TaskAnalytics.
The platform promises enterprise productivity benefits by keeping employees “connected to enterprise systems through customizable notifications and task-specific data entry forms,” while gamification features help engage and motivate employees. The website doesn’t mention customers, but it cites partner logos such as Verizon, Red Hat, SAP, and Samsung.
Finally, uniting Llamas’ points about healthcare and productivity, Notable sells a wearable, voice-powered assistant for doctors that uses voice-driven, HIPAA-compliant “AI to automate and structure every physician-patient interaction.” The company site doesn’t mention customers, but last year the company scored a $13.5 million Series A financing round.
I’m not sure these three examples are enough to make me a believer in enterprise wearable tech, but they’re certainly a start.