While I wasn’t one of the many who rushed to pre-order it on April 10th, those that did led Apple to sell out of the most coveted device to hit the market in quite some time in a single day — the Apple Watch. In fact, it was reported that in that one day, Apple had managed to sell more watches (to the tune of an estimated 957,000) than the number of Android Wear smart watches sold in an entire year.
According to an article Wearables Gaining Popularity In Business, there will be 75 million wearable devices deployed in work settings by 2020, according to a report from Tractica, a market intelligence firm that focuses on human interaction with technology.
The BYOW Trend
Thanks to the consumerization of IT and the influx of personal tablets and smartphones into the enterprise, the way has now been paved for a new device technology to move in. As I own a smart watch (though not an Apple) where I receive alerts for e-mails, messages and social media (and even take phone calls), I can imagine the effectiveness that a “Bring Your Own Wearable” or BYOW strategy can bring — although like a BYOD program it doesn’t come without security risk, however that’s for another blog.
The major driver of this trend in the global wearables market that has been projected to rise sharply at a compound annual growth rate of 54.11 percent (through 2018) is the “convergence” of such services as telecommunications, media, IT and more onto a single device that’s easily accessible on a mobile platform.
In an article from September 2014 Apple Watch: The Internet of things’ new frontier the writer states that the Apple Watch “is the new orbit around that center [of liquid computing], bringing computing to an even more personal device than a phone. Watches are passé for many of us, something that the smartphone obviated. With the Apple Watch, Apple rejuvenates the watch as both a watch and a new kind of personal computing device.”
Run your sales business at “arm’s length”
Where corporate sales departments are concerned, a strategic and powerful customer relationship management (CRM) tool is imperative to running a successful business. Salesforce, the number one enterprise SaaS-based CRM solution, has gone where no others have to this point – to the Apple Watch.
In early March, Salesforce released the Analytics Cloud for Apple Watch with (left to right above): Analytics Dashboard, Analytics Lens, Analytics at a Glance and Analytics Voice Dictation. Known as Salesforce Wave prior to the official release, it provides an at-a-glance view of important information one wants to be notified about. One can access relevant and timely data in seconds, swipe to see dashboards, explore with lenses or use Handoff to work seamlessly between Apple Watch and iPhone. One can use a Voice Search tool as well to bring up a report, view a dashboard, or find other vital information.
With the Salesforce 1 for Apple Watch app one can get real-time alerts to know, for example, when key deals close or major goals have been reached. One can receive sales, service, marketing and their established business community’s notifications through the watch. The company also offers the Salesforce Wear Developer Pack for Apple Watch which lets Salesforce1 developers build enterprise apps for Apple Watch that connect directly to the Salesforce1 Platform.
“I think clearly Apple Watch is going to be a transformational moment in the industry,” stated Michael Peachey, VP of solutions and product marketing at Salesforce. He added that “Other vendors have tried it, but Apple is really cracking the code.”
Meeting time… on your watch
On April 23rd, cloud-based video collaboration service company Blue Jeans Network announced the availability of an app that adds support for Apple Watch, in their words ‘ensuring you never miss another meeting and providing essential information about upcoming meetings at a glance.’ While we may not be ready to videoconference on watches just yet (although as mentioned we can communicate on them), this now provides business users the opportunity to manage meetings, essentially, at a glance.
As a companion to the Blue Jeans App for iPhone, Blue Jeans for Apple Watch adapts to the platform with new capabilities including the “Countdown Glance” feature as well as an accelerated access feature which offers one-touch access to the current meeting running on the iPhone. The key features of the app are:
- Meeting Notifications: Discreet reminders for your next Blue Jeans meeting
- Upcoming Meetings: A concise view of your Blue Jeans meeting schedule
- Countdown Glance: Displays the time remaining to your next Blue Jeans meeting
- Accelerated Access: Provides one-touch access to the current meeting on a paired iPhone
Stu Aaron, chief commercial officer at Blue Jeans Network exclaimed, “All eyes are on Apple Watch and we’re thrilled to offer an app that will soon become a business necessity. As the workplace has become increasingly more mobile, Blue Jeans has been there, every step of the way.” He went on to say “Our Apple Watch app brings the Blue Jeans experience full circle. Now professionals can manage meetings on-the-go and at a glance to effortlessly integrate the full Blue Jeans experience across platforms.”
True mobility on your wrist
On the next day after Blue Jeans’ announcement, ShoreTel announced that ShoreTel Mobility would be among the first UC applications available for the Apple Watch. With the app, Apple Watch owners can stay connected with ShoreTel Mobility on the go, without taking their iPhone from their pocket.
The ShoreTel Mobility home screen on the watch allows users to access commonly used UC functions, such as viewing any unread instant messages, accessing favorites, and joining a meeting. For instance, when weaving through a crowded airport, the app will deliver a notification on the user’s wrist for when a conference call is about to begin, and with one simple tap, the user is automatically dialed-in, authenticated and ready to participate on the call or video. ShoreTel Mobility on the Apple Watch allows users to:
- Easily access their corporate favorite contacts with initiation of an enterprise call across WiFi, cellular or cellular data
- Re-dial a missed enterprise call
- View and respond to secure corporate instant messaging by selecting from a predefined set of responses or by speaking into the Apple Watch
- Answer or reject an incoming enterprise call
- View and update enterprise presence
- One tap join a ShoreTel collaboration session
“Wearable technology is a fascinating frontier for the mobile professional. ShoreTel is leading the way by delivering the extensive UC capabilities of ShoreTel Mobility via its new app for the Apple Watch,” said Pejman Roshan, vice president of product management at ShoreTel. “By extending ShoreTel Mobility to the wrist, accessing your enterprise UC system is literally as simple as checking the time. This is emblematic of our commitment to providing an unrivaled experience to our users.”
Do these as well as other productivity tools available for the Apple Watch signify the need for adoption of a structured BYOW program with associated corporate policy to go along with BYOD implementation for the enterprise? In my estimation, the answer is absolutely. As BYOD has already done, when BYOW fully hits the workplace with the Apple Watch and other such devices it’s most likely going to take off, and fast. With this in mind, enterprises that fully leverage experience with BYOD smartphones and tablets can successfully drive implementation of wearable devices in the workplace.
The security factor? That’s next…
Here’s an excellent video Enterprises are also eyeing the Apple Watch.