Are smartwatches the future of enterprise mobility or playthings? Execs and analysts weigh in.

smartwatches

Smartwatches and other wearables are A) The future of enterprise mobility or B) Not much much more than a plaything. The truth? It depends on who you talk to.

Let’s start off with the skeptics, or at least the partial skeptics. One of them is Malcolm Ross, vice president of product marketing for Appian. Appian has already built an app for the Apple Watch for managers and executives. So you might think that makes him a true believer. But he’s not, according to FierceMobileIT. The site says, “He questioned the likelihood that smartwatches would ever become more than a consumer device for executives flirting with enterprise capacity.”

Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, said that it’s inevitable that smartwatches will get into  enterprises, but it’s not clear how much they’ll be used. She’s not sure there’s a business case for them yet, and warned that wearables “are partial devices,” because they need to be paired with another device.

The Watch-Believers Weigh In

There are plenty of people, though, who believe that smartwatches are the future in enterprises. Salesforce, for example, has built a Salesforce Wear Developer Pack for the Apple Watch. Lindsey Irvine, global director of business development and strategic partnerships at Salesforce, believes “Today it’s ‘run your business from your phone,’ I don’t doubt that in the next five years we’re going to make it very possible for you to run your business from your wearable device.”

Forrester Research analyst JP Gownder is particulary gung-ho about the future of wearables in the enterprise. In his report, “Five Urgent Truths About The Future Of Wearables That Every Leader Should Know,” he notes that “While consumers’ interest in wearables has grown strong, businesses’ demand for wearables is even greater. Today, 68% of global technology and business decision-makers say that wearables are a priority for their firm, with 51% calling it a moderate, high, or critical priority. This is comparable with the mobile landscape in 2010, when 43% of enterprises identified employees using mobile devices as a critical or high priority.”

The upshot? There’s no doubt wearables are headed to the enterprise. The only question is how much of an impact they’ll have. So it’s a good idea to start testing them out now.

Alpha has developed WatchBench to let you prototype Apple Watch apps right from your iPhone if you want to tinker around with Smartwatch apps yourself!