The ‘wearable-first’ approach that CIOs may never embrace

If they can wear IT, will they come? That’s the question the technology industry faces in 2015, and the answer may not be easy to figure out.

When I think about wearable computing and Gartner’s famous Hype Cycle, I see things like the Apple Watch and Google Glass arriving next year somewhere between the “peak of inflated expectations” and the “trough of disillusionment.”

As I explain in my all-too-brief 2015 predictions video clip, there’s almost bound to be a “now what?” effect as these devices make their way into the mainstream market. Although some forward-thinking organizations are trying to get ahead of this, such as Salesforce with its Salesforce Wear offering, I think a lot more education and brainstorming will be required before most CIOs decide where, if at all, these devices could bring value to their business.

I’m not trying to be a naysayer here. Just realistic. Although adoption has accelerated considerably, there probably aren’t a lot of CIOs in Canada who would say they’re “cloud-first” in their approach to business problems. Even “mobile-first,” which has been a huge push this year from all kinds of experts, is taking a while to happen outside of fields like marketing and the like.

I actually think “wearable-first” may never happen for most firms, but it’s kind of like the old negotiating strategy of asking for more than you want in order to get what you need: By touting the merits of wearables to CIOs, vendors hope at least a fraction of the market will take up the challenge and deploy them somehow.

The other prediction I’ll make is that, much like the use of smartphones and tablets in general, what will likely propel wearables in the enterprise is not a push from CIOs or IT departments but a cadre of “power wearable” users who find something so useful about their smart watch or smart eyewear that they insist it be connected to the corporate network.

If, on the other hand, there aren’t a lot of people who enjoy adding a wearable device to the smartphone and tablet they already carry around, wearables might be like that Christmas sweater you got a few years ago — left in the closet until one day you decide to try it on after all.

For more 2015 predictions from me and the rest of the ITWC team, watch the entire playlist.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Shane Schick
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