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Should mobile strategy include wearable apps?

Wearable devices offer new possibilities for interacting with cloud and Web content, but most applications remain firmly linked to parent devices.

Wearable devices -- such as the Apple Watch -- are making inroads with consumers, but it remains unclear whether these emerging technologies will find a niche in the enterprise or become a standard component of mobile strategy.

Wearable devices are part of the Internet of Things, a broad field that encompasses basically any device with embedded systems that are capable of transmitting data over a wireless network. While wearable apps offer the prospect of additional convenience for users, significant challenges remain for developers in terms of screen size and designing meaningful tasks that fit the wearable format.

Real Story Group analyst Apoorv Durga said that one answer, at least in the short term, is having wearable apps linked to counterparts on larger devices, such as a smartphone.

When does it make sense to incorporate wearable devices into mobile strategy?

Apoorv Durga: Wearable devices are part of the Internet of Things (IoT). Broadly, there are two types of IoT devices. Some have nothing to do with mobile devices, such as monitors used by the energy industry to track environmental conditions. Others, such as the Apple Watch, center on interacting with another mobile device. Those are relevant to Web content management (WCM) strategy and it makes sense to include them in your mobile strategy.

Apps on the Apple Watch are actually controlled by an equivalent app on your IPhone. You use that mobile device to configure the wearable app and to display information. For example, a wearable health app could provide information on the number of steps you took during a walk.

You can technically use an Apple Watch without an iPhone, but its utility would be minimal.

Which industries are poised to benefit most from incorporating wearable devices with mobile strategy?

Durga: I would say consumer-focused businesses, not necessarily B2B, but mostly B2C, for online shopping or retail.

Healthcare is at the forefront of the wearable revolution. A lot of health sensors are typically built into wearable devices, so information about vital [health] statistics can be integrated with content stored in a WCM -- information about doctors, hospitals and trainers, for example. I think it would make a lot of sense for those applications to have wearable devices as part of their WCM strategy.

Will wearable devices find applications within the enterprise?

Durga: Let's say you have a knowledge management system and somebody uploads a new version of a document you were collaborating on. An update notification could be sent to your watch.

It could also help with approving changes to document, if it's just matter of clicking to approve or reject changes.

To what extent are wearable devices affecting enterprise Web content management strategy for businesses?

Durga: It's not reached a critical level, but a lot of the customers we talk with are experimenting and doing prototypes. All of them want to know what else they can do with it.

I've seen one customer demo for an automobile showroom, where if you visit the showroom and approach a particular model of car, some key information about that vehicle would be sent to your Apple Watch. That information was stored in a Web content management system. It's still in the prototype stage, but a lot of customers are doing experiments like this.

One thing we can say for sure is that wearable devices are here. They are popular with consumers, but we don't yet know whether they will become big within the enterprise scenario.

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