Wearable technology is here, but we’re still early in the lifecycle. If you’re like me and already wearing an Android smartwatch, Apple Watch, Pebble or Fitbit, you’re still comfortably in the realm of “early adopter.”
Wearables haven’t yet achieved their iPhone moment, when this new category of device reaches mass adoption and begins to invade the workplace. However, the ability to more easily receive alerts and notifications – a streamlined, personal way to filter information and prioritize actions – is already catching the attention of developers, and has certainly streamlined my workdays quite a bit.
For example, let’s say I’m sitting in an impossibly long meeting where I can’t be using my phone. An email comes in, and my smartwatch unobtrusively alerts me. At a glance, my watch allows me to quickly make judgment calls about whether an email is urgent enough to warrant a response or, in critical situations, whether I should even duck out of my meeting. And it’s all done in a seamless way that helps me stay “in the moment” more than being glued to my phone screen.
These may seem like relatively insignificant improvements over glancing at a smartphone (although we’re doing that upwards of 110 times a day), but in an interconnected workplace where speed is everything, every little improvement positively affects collaboration, productivity and efficiency.
Designing for the Wrist
Creating apps for wearables, while seemingly a novelty today, will eventually mark a key growth point with consumers and businesses. The wearable interaction paradigm means a shift in design philosophy from full-on functionality to brevity. The goal is near-instant access to information in a relatively sparse platform.
For example, PGi’s iMeet® Agenday, our award-winning smart calendar app, is pretty basic when you get right down to it: aggregated calendars and notifications. But with additional, contextually relevant information like LinkedIn profiles and voice-activated access to common meeting features (for instance, sending “I’m running late!” messages), it brings together information that helps you work more productively and efficiently and packages it up into a user experience designed for your wrist.
As the Internet of Things gives way to the Workplace of Things, the influence of wearables will begin to expand. This is just the opening chapter of new technology that will likely have a long story arc. The hardware, features and APIs will continue to evolve, allowing us to craft experiences we can’t even picture yet.
Gird your wrists. With Business Insider predicting the wearable computing market will reach 148 million units by 2019, the wearables are most definitely coming.
For more insights on wearables’ potential impact in the workplace, download our free eBook “The Future of Business Collaboration: 2015 Edition” today.