Salesforce has rolled out a software development pack for wearable devices. Backed by a number of industry heavyweights such as ARM, the dev kit is expected to accelerate adoption of wearables in the enterprise.
“Wearables are the next phase of the mobile revolution,” said Salesforce exec Daniel Debow.
“With Salesforce Wear, companies can now capture the massive opportunity these devices offer to connect with customers in new ways.”
According to a recent IHS white paper titled “Wearable Technology – Market Assessment,” roughly 50 million wearable units will be sold in 2014, while more than 180 million are predicted to sell in 2018.
“With the massive number of devices coming into market, it is imperative that companies understand how consumers will operate in a hands-free world. Wearables are the future of mobile, and companies can now discover new ways to market, sell, service and more,” added Debow.
As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, wearable device technologies will become an integral part of enterprise mobile enablement strategies – increasing at an impressive CAGR value of 56.1% over the next five years.
As senior ABI Research enterprise analyst Jason McNicol notes, the North American region is expected to be the largest, growing at a CAGR value of 39% over the next five years. Meanwhile, the Asia-Pacific region is slated to become the second largest market, outpacing Europe by 2019 with a CAGR of 90%.
“There are cases being made for wearables in the enterprise despite the relative newness of the technology. However, which wearables are primed for enterprise usage and adoption is a more important question,” McNicol explained.
“Wearable technology such as smart glasses and those used for healthcare are better suited for the enterprise as corporate-liable devices. Smartwatches, on the other hand, will most likely follow the trend of BYOD into the enterprise.”
More specifically, ABI Research recently identified six types of wearable devices: smart glasses, cameras, smart watches, healthcare, sports/activity trackers and 3D motion trackers. Healthcare wearables, smart glasses and smart watches will be the dominant form-factors purchased by the enterprise and used by employees.
All told, the research firm expects a total of 90 million wearable devices to ship in 2014 across multiple markets. As senior analyst Joshua Flood points out, wearable tech will be characterized by a diversity of products, although only those with clear use-cases and target audiences are likely to succeed.
“ will be a critical period for the acceptance and adoption of wearable devices. Healthcare and sports and activity trackers are rapidly becoming mass-market products,” the analyst confirmed.
“On the flipside, wearable devices like smart watches need to overcome some critical obstacles. Aesthetic design, more compelling use cases, battery life and lower price points are the main inhibitors. How vendors approach these challenges and their respective solutions will affect the wearable market far in the future.”
According to Flood, chipset vendors are beginning to pave the way with interesting wearable reference designs that will allow non-technology OEMs and brands to quickly jump upon the wearable device bandwagon and offer diverse, innovative, unique and stylish solutions.
“While smart glasses could be the starting point moving away from today’s touchscreen smartphones to eyewear devices using a voice interface, pricing, battery life and style will all play crucial roles for market traction,” he continued.
“Due to these limitations, the enterprise sector will be the early target for smart glasses before they are ready for mass-market adoption. [We] expect more than two million smart glasses [to] ship in 2014, [with] the category forecast to grow rapidly from 2015 onwards. Mobile enabling technologies like augmented reality will play a vital part in enhancing smart glass capabilities.”
Indeed, smart glasses and smartwatches will account for a relatively small segment of the wearable device market in 2014, with medical, wellness and sports and activity wearable devices expected to provide the bulk of wearable device shipments this year.
“Activity trackers will continue to be the most popular wearable device as people carefully monitor their activity levels and energy output. Concerns around weight management and even obesity are the prime drivers behind this wearable device type,” Flood concluded.
“The collection and analysis of the captured personal performance data through associated websites and their communities is also a crucial element in building out the use-case.”