The new demand for wearables: Lopez Research survey

  • Interest in wearable technology is growing, especially regarding glasses.

  • Adoption demands a strong use case due to expense and other limitations.

  • As wearables evolve and B2E gains increase, adoption may increase quickly.

The September 2014 Lopez Research survey asked 300 enterprise IT leaders for their options on wearable use within their companies. In our survey, we defined wearables as smart watches, wristbands, and glasses. Nine months ago, only three percent of the organizations that we interviewed were interested in wearable technology in the enterprise. Today, over a third (34%) of the companies we interviewed are interested in using wearables which is a significant increase, while only five percent were evaluating wearables. None of the companies in our survey had currently deployed wearables. 

Pros and cons of wearables

Glasses were the most popular wearable in company trials.  Over 54% were interested in glass-style wearables and a third were interested in wrist wearables like smart watches which let  you call, text, and email or fitness and health wearables that monitor your activity and progress.  Badges were the only other significant category at five percent.  While companies liked the idea of hands-free work and easy viewing of information, common complaints included device heaviness, poor battery life, and proprietary solutions. Others complained that the software was “buggy.” Google Glass was popular for trials, but companies appeared more interested in enterprise products like Vuzix. A majority of the respondents expect it to be 18 months or more before they would deploy wearables within their firms based on the issues listed above. Other survey findings conclude that hands-free data access was the largest wearable business-to-employee (B2E) use case, while enhancing customer care was the largest business-to-consumer use case.

Wearable considerations

Like all mobile technologies, you’ll be asked to justify the expense. If you can provide the same use case just as easily with a smartphone, it probably doesn’t warrant the effort of working with wearable technology. Second, the technologies and adoption curves are evolving rapidly. Today, businesses like Bosch and Virgin Atlantic are piloting use cases, but actual deployments are stalled. However, we expect wearables to provide compelling B2E productivity gains within 12to 18 months’ time and device management will be a crucial consideration

Learn more about AT&T mobile device management services.


Maribel Lopez is the CEO and mobile market strategist for Lopez Research, a market research and strategy consulting firm that specializes in communications technologies with a heavy emphasis on the disruptive nature of mobile technologies. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

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