Wearables: The Next Employee Accessory? - eMarketer

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Wearables: The Next Employee Accessory?

Enterprises view wearable devices as huge data source

May 12, 2015

There’s been plenty of chatter about what consumers want from wearables and what they’ll use them for, such as mobile payments and health and fitness tracking. Based on recent research, wearable devices are also set to change the business world.

Current and Planned Employee-Facing Uses of Wearable Technology Among US Enterprise Wearable Adopters*, March 2015 (% of respondents)

In a March 2015 study by Salesforce.com, nearly eight in 10 US enterprise wearable adopters agreed that wearables would reshape their companies’ future success. More than three-quarters of users had already seen improvement in their business performance due to wearables, and 86% of adopters intended to increase spending over the next 12 months.

Enterprises were most interested in using wearables to track workplace productivity, but beyond that, improving the customer experience thanks to real-time access to customer data, business analytics and alerts, and customer instruction and coaching were all top use cases.

Salesforce noted that professionals viewed wearables devices as a huge opportunity for data collection—but they’re a long way off from reaping the benefits. About one-quarter of companies using or intending to use wearables said data collection and aggregation was one of the biggest challenges to deploying wearables in the enterprise. Even more, just 8% of adopters were completely ready to act on data gathered. Promising, though, was the fact that nearly six in 10 were very or moderately ready to take action. Still, that leaves more than a third of respondents with lots of room for growth.

Level of Readiness to Gain Actionable Insights from Data* Generated by Wearable Devices Among US Enterprise Wearable Adopters**, March 2015 (% of respondents)

While businesses see wearables as a fountain of data, other research indicates that customers may not be so keen on sharing their information. December 2014 polling by TRUSTe found that 87% of US internet users were worried about smart devices, which include wearables, collecting and using their information in ways they were unaware of. About eight in 10 were concerned simply about personal information collection, and just under seven in 10 believed they should own any personal data collected via smart device.

Chances are that consumers will grow more comfortable with data collection as wearables become the norm. However, businesses may also need to prove to them the perks of sharing data by enhancing the customer experience with information they can collect in these early days.

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