While most might associate wearable technology with their fitness tracker or smart-watch and can be seen as a gimmick, but these wearable technologies have applications in the business environment as well.
The market for wearables is growing. According to IDTechEX, wearables will grow to $20 billion in 2015 and scale to nearly $70 billion by 2025.
Austin, Texas headquartered iTexico, which has a software development and delivery center in Guadalajara, Mexico and a regional office in Silicon Valley, is targeting two main markets. The first is the consumer market that most associate with wearable technology. The second is the less well-known enterprise market, where iTexico believes it can really differentiate its offerings.
The company’s recent enterprise project for a midmarket client focused on bring time-tracking functionality to workforce wearables.
“The focus is on trying to optimize all the processes internally for the workforce. Wearables have become, especially among the younger generation, a big deal,” said Creative Delivery Manager David Sandoval.
The project focused on creating an app that interfaces with an existing time-tracking function within the organization. “So they know when to clock in and clock out, look into accounts and it is easier for them to track how much time they have spent on a project or task,” he said.
This is an extension of a larger tool, but the focus for the wearable app is the time-tracking piece. The app offers management level visibility to allow managers to track progress and time spent on specific tasks.
On a bigger scale the challenge of developing for enterprise market wearables is to identify what the needed features are, the minimum set of features for a test to be done well. “Making it simple, but not too simple is the challenge. It is about drawing that line,” he said.
Sandoval said that wearables have yet to take off in the enterprise market, but they are seeing increasing interest. In the vein of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), those companies that are looking to wearable offerings are adopting a BYOW (Bring Your Own Wearable) approach.
Prototyping and user testing are vital in such a context as a wearable is a very personal, intimate piece of technology. “The time for prototyping is two to three weeks, depending on how much access we have to the user base,” Sandoval said. With the enterprise app, it was clear that the time-tracking feature was the core functionality needed.
The important aspects of the development are less about the technical aspects and more about user interface and design. It is important to make sure that the feature being implemented is feasible and is not a forced experience. “It has to be fast, it has to be quick, it has to be intuitive,” Sandoval said.
The prototyping process for the enterprise time-tracking app has already yielded valuable feedback and iTexico has identified another part to be added to the feature list.
Other wearable projects have aligned with the consumer market and iTexico is working with a large client in the restaurant industry on a wearable iteration of its loyalty programme and a security and health client that serves the university market on a lockdown app.
While iTexico is increasingly developing in this space, it is not yet clear when there will be widespread adoption of wearables across the enterprise market. “Over the next couple of years, we are really going to find out if this is going to be the next revolution. The jury is still out on that, but interest is such that we are having a conversation regularly,” Sandoval said.