"Now is the time to start planning for enterprise wearables," says J. P. Gownder, vice president and principal analyst for infrastructure and operations at Forrester.
Gownder notes the adoption of wearables will happen over a decade, but forward looking companies will start planning how to leverage the power of these devices to benefit the business.
In a report entitled The Enterprise Wearables Journey, Gownder provides a timeline for enterprises moving into this space.
The next two years will be the "nascent stages", and will see piloting and early adoption, he writes. Vendors are still working on the offerings, he notes. "Even the much-heralded Google Glass remains in beta." Enterprise wearables will find uses in healthcare, public safety, and industries with numerous field workers during this period.
Mainstream use is predicted to happen in 2017 to 2019. Developer ecosystems will mature by 2017, creating apps, back-end software, and services to support enterprise-class wearables implementations on a wider scale, he says. Industries with highly mobile employees will welcome wearables as these ecosystems grow, he states.
"2020 to 2024 will see the move to business-centrality," he writes. Wearables will be common at many enterprises and will be specialised for certain industries and roles.
He says it is imperative for infrastructure and operations professionals to work with business stakeholders to re-engineer the business processes surrounding the devices.
He lists three steps to take:
Rewrite the script: The first step, as for any employee with any wearable device, is "creating a coherent purpose and a standard usage model". Design processes for how, when, and why they will be used.
Retrain staff: The next step is to help employees internalise the use of the devices. Unlike tablets or smartphones, they won't be using the devices in their personal lives, he notes. Training on the processes and the devices is critical. It should include developing and measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure that employees are succeeding with the devices.
Engage with customers: Fine-tune the processes and training following repeated use of the devices by customers, he advises.
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