The Apple Watch: overhyped or worth it? Some are regretting their purchase while others are loving it. There are definitely many perks, but also some downsides to the technology. As a consumer product, there are many functionalities such as checking your heart rate with a sensor, receiving notifications of new messages, emails, and other things happening in apps, paying for things, and creating drawings. It basically feels like a tiny computer on your wrist. Unfortunately, in this first generation of the watch, everything still runs a bit slow. As the functionalities improve, I’m sure the watch will run at a better pace.
Even though the Apple Watch is currently focused toward the everyday consumer, you shouldn’t count out the enterprise. The Apple Watch has the potential to work in the enterprise and enhance business processes. Just like mobile devices, smartwatches like the Apple Watch can use the power of apps to improve its functionality and become the next enterprise technology.
An obvious benefit of the Apple Watch is the fact that it frees up a user’s hands. This can be very helpful to mobile workers and anyone working in the field. Instead of having to carry around a laptop or some other clunky device, a field worker could just glance down at his or her smartwatch to get instructions and receive alerts when wells need to be checked. In addition to this, users can easily capture ideas by recording voice memos wherever they are even if their hands are full. This can be very helpful to those field workers that need to note down several things to remember, but don’t have a pen and paper with them or their hands are too full.
Once Apple is able to work out all the issues, users will be able to receive more relevant information quickly. Currently, users can only turn on and off notifications. You would essentially get the same notifications that you'd already receive on your phone, but just on your wrist now. The way notifications work currently, messages aren't relevant or timely, but there is room for Apple to improve on this. Since the Apple Watch’s screen has limited space, it forces app designers to focus on displaying relevant information. Designers will have to work on creating a great user experience within the apps so that extraneous information is left out. Think about the possibilities though. Important alerts and information like instructions on how to operate something can be made readily available on your wrist. New employees can learn how to do tasks quicker and the learning curve can be reduced.
One feature that enterprises can utilize through the Apple Watch is haptic feedback. With haptic feedback, users can get important information via a vibration on their wrists. For example, a warehouse manager can receive a small vibration on his wrist when a truck is about to arrive. This scenario could be replicated and applied to other industries as well. Healthcare professionals can receive alerts via haptic feedback when it is time to check up on a patient. In either scenario, haptic feedback will help employees keep their focus on tasks while still making sure that they receive important information.
Context will make the Apple Watch a game changer. What do I mean when I say context? Well, context is bringing information to you in the moment that you need it based on sensory data and the environment around you. Instead of having to dig through a whole bunch of useless information, users can get relevant content in a timely manner when they need it. This helps them make better decisions and saves time. For example, you could set up a geofence around a certain area to make sure that relevant information will pop up on the Apple Watch once a worker enters the geofence. For instance, a maintenance worker is sent out to check an issue with a utility meter. When he arrives at the meter that is inside the geofence, he immediately receives a notification on his Apple Watch that gives him an overview of the meter. From there, he is able to fix the issue with the meter by quickly checking a few stats such as the amount of kilowatt-hours, the current, the voltage, the length of time, and the power factor that is used to measure the distortion of the electric current. By adding context to an app on the Apple Watch, workers can save time and quickly solve problems while out in the field.
Beyond that, context integrated into the Apple Watch can also help with security and credentials. For instance, an employee for an aviation parts company needs access to a certain area of the building and has the proper security clearance and credentials. The company could save all of the employee’s information and security credentials in an app on the Apple Watch. The employee could get access to a room in that part of the building by just waving his or her Apple Watch in front of a sensor.
It will be interesting to see what developers come up with in terms of enterprise applications for the Apple Watch and other smartwatches. It will definitely change how people work and interact with technology now and in the future. How do you see the Apple Watch working in the enterprise?
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