by Alex Palmer | May 05, 2015
In the wake of the release of the Apple Watch on April 24, a new study finds that organizations expect use of wearables in the workplace to grow nearly threefold in the next two years. The Salesforce report, titled "Putting Wearables to Work," paints a rosy picture for the adoption of wearables in the coming years.

The online survey drew on the responses of 1,455 business professionals, 500 of whom are using or plan to use wearable technology in the workplace. Large majorities of respondents expressed enthusiasm about the value of smart watches, badges, and wristbands. Seventy-nine percent of adopters agreeing that wearables are or will be of strategic value to the organization, 76 percent of users maintain that the devices improve worker performance, and 86 percent of adopters say they plan to increase investment in the technology in the coming 12 months.

"As the industry and devices mature, companies are planning heavy growth in the next two years, with a focus on customer-centric use cases, from accessing customer data and business analytics in real time to remote coaching and service help," writes the report's author.

The most popular use of wearable technology in the workplace is to provide real-time access to customer data, which 52 percent of respondents say they are currently using or planning to use in the next two years. This is followed by hands-free instruction guides (49 percent), access to business analytics (48 percent), and "see-what-I-see" coaching with a remote trainer (47 percent).

Looking at current use and the amount of additional adoption expected by respondents, Salesforce expects to see use of wearables in these various ways triple in the next 24 months. While 15 percent of respondents are using wearables in their loyalty and rewards programs, an additional 27 percent expect to do so in the next two years. As Incentive discussed in its recent cover story, wearables have been growing in popularity in the workplace as wellness devices to encourage worker fitness. 

Salesforce expects that the growing "app ecosystem" will help fuel adoption of wearables, as new, more engaging, and accurate ways to use them are developed and offered for enterprise use.

"The infancy of wearables presents a significant opportunity for adopters to shape the industry's impact on business," the report concludes.

The complete report can be downloaded here.