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Potential Benefits And Challenges Of 'Wearables'

Friday 27 November, 2020

‘Wearables’ is a term that refers to multiple different devices and device-types and has often been touted as the next big thing, but many might argue that it has not yet fully delivered on that promise, at least in an enterprise context.


Potential Benefits

The speed of development of both devices and use-cases has increased considerably in recent years due to the increased ability of manufacturers to put considerable processing power and sensor numbers in increasingly small and light containers. This initially found a home in consumer devices such as smart-watches, activity monitors and gaming VR headsets.

However, this capability is now finding many use cases in the enterprise market, such as:

  • Monitoring devices to continuously assess patient status
  • Virtual reality devices to provide hyper-realistic training
  • Mixed reality headsets to guide fault-fix and maintenance work

These use cases, as well as the many hundreds of others now being either investigated, implemented or in full use, have multiple benefits, particularly in the pandemic situation. These include:

  • Cost savings through reduced down time of critical equipment
  • Improved efficiency through better logistics and stock management
  • Reduced risk through better informed maintenance and repair work


Potential Challenges 

The challenges that many organisations face around wearables is identifying the right technology and the most beneficial use case to use wearables. Coupled with the many different approaches that organisations have to pilot projects, this often makes it hard for organisations to look at the opportunities as investment can be hard to get.

As and when investment has been agreed, the next challenge that we have seen is accurately agreeing and documenting success factors for a pilot and then effectively measuring the results to prove or disprove the opportunity. Given that wearables are a relatively new technology in the enterprise space it is often hard to account for the different variables and issues that can arise and so many test projects are thrown off when unexpected issues arise and stakeholders start to lose confidence in either the technology or the case being tested.

There could also be additional challenges around sourcing and procurement of the devices and other technology components needed to support an initial test phase and then (if warranted) a full rollout. Organisations may not be used to contracting directly with device vendors and may also have problems agreeing how to set up an appropriate environment for the data needed to support any successful rollout of wearables.Coeus has experience in working with clients to identify, pilot and implement wearables, and has a set of use cases which have delivered clear benefits across multiple industries and organisation sizes.

Through our Coeus ‘Insights’ we provide advice to technology, business and procurement leaders who need to evaluate technology innovations against the needs of their business.