What was primarily a consumer technology just got a ticket in the enterprise fast lane.
Enter Salesforce Wear, a developer pack that enables developers to start developing apps for wearables. An app development platform that not only contains open source code, but also comes packed with sample apps for six wearable devices – Google Glass, Android Wear, Samsung Gear 2, Myo, Nymi and Pebble Watch.
Though wearables have been lauded as the next phase of the mobile revolution, very less has been spoken about enterprises leveraging the explosive growth of wearables. Which is what makes the Salesforce Wear announcement so timely and significant.
Enterprises have taken progressively lesser time to adopt each new technology and with wearables poised to adorn the arm / wrist / eyes of more and more people, it is no surprise Salesforce.com has started this initiative.
What wearables do is allow businesses connect to and engage with customers, partners and employees alike in new ways. For instance, take the sample app for Samsung Gear 2. This allows a salesperson to get a quick recap of all his meetings right on his smartwatch right down to attendees and their pictures. Perfect for those awkward times when the salesperson needs to discreetly associate the right person and name. But, lets move on to more practical uses like the ability to let attendees know you will be late, send out quotes for approvals, make calls, receive texts all captured right on the wrist. Pretty nifty!
With “Wear”, developers now have the freedom to design apps for scenarios like the above. And when coupled with the data generated, can lead to a deeper, more meaningful engagement with customers and employees alike.
What the next few months will witness as coders get their hands dirty is the realization that wearables, while exciting pose significant challenges. A few of them include:
User identity and authentication:
Take the case of Nymi that Wear supports. A wristband that recognizes the user based on their heart’s unique cardiac rhythm, or electrocardiogram (ECG). Now imagine real life scenarios where similar authentication measures can replace traditional PIN numbers and passwords and the complexity that can ensue.
Remember, this is the enterprise we are talking about. While a wearable replacing a wallet sounds uber cool, the security and data safety implications are huge. While mobile security in businesses is coming of age, the same cannot be said of wearables.
User Experience and Interface Design:
If designing for a mobile screen posed real estate challenges, imagine designing for a watch with keyboard constraints. Designing innovative voice inputs and non-fussy navigations will put even the best UX skills under some pressure.
But, then, these were similar challenges at the dawn of the mobile age too. With the Salesforce Wear Developer Pack now generally available and included with all user licenses of Salesforce CRM and the Salesforce Platform, the future of custom apps for wearables looks to be exciting.
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