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Wearables for business: Is there an enterprise play coming?

Gartner floats the idea that companies may want to ponder making their own wearable devices to reach business objectives. Here's why the idea could work.

Enterprises need to think through what wearable devices will mean for their businesses, security and mobile policies, but one opportunity may be to roll their own devices.

Gartner's presentation on wearable devices on Thursday at the Symposium ITxpo is worth noting on multiple levels. Gartner's take, which rhymes with what Salesforce has been preaching about customer engagement, noted the following:

  • CIOs need to create teams that will brainstorm about wearables in the enterprise. They also need to experiment.
  • Companies need to involve security and compliance teams on wearable pilots for privacy, use of personal data and vulnerabilities.
  • Enterprises need to extend bring your own device policies to wearables.
  • And build analytics on the back end to handle the data spun out by wearables.

Gartner analyst Nick Jones said wearables will be tricky for enterprise involvement because the market is immature. Jones said 35 percent of the population in mature economies will have at least one wearable by 2020. The catch is that the next five years will bring a few spectacular wearable failures.

For now, Jones said companies need to focus on micro interactions and engagement with customers in small chunks.

Perhaps the best idea Gartner floated was that companies could produce their own wearables for various use cases. These wearables would be largely disposable, good for marketing and could ease everything from marketing to authentication.

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I'd argue that the idea of companies manufacturing their own wearables for business use makes sense. Disney's Magic Band is the best example. The problem with the wearable market today is that there are too many devices trying to do too much. This scattershot approach doesn't result in real business returns.

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