By Jennifer LeClaire / CIO Today. Updated June 10, 2014.
Jumping on the wearables bandwagon, Salesforce.com has launched Salesforce Wear. The CRM company is billing it as the first initiative for wearable computing in the enterprise.
The company also rolled out the Salesforce Wear Developer Pack, which works to help developers connect companies with their customers via apps for wearables. Salesforce is getting a warm reception as ARM, Fitbit, Pebble, Philips, Samsung and others have signed on to the Salesforce Wear initiative with a mind to accelerate adoption of wearables in the enterprise.
Salesforce Wear is building in support for devices that can be worn on the face, wrist and body for a variety of use cases, including: Android Wear, ARM, Fitbit, Google Glass, Myo from Thalmic, Nymi from Bionym, OMsignal, Pebble, Philips and Samsung Gear 2.
“Wearables are the next phase of the mobile revolution," said Daniel Debow, senior vice president of emerging technologies at Salesforce.com. "With Salesforce Wear, companies can now capture the massive opportunity these devices offer to connect with customers in new ways."
A Wearable Push
Debow is not just blowing smoke. Mobile device makers and analysts alike agree that the wearables explosion is creating opportunities for businesses to connect with customers, partners and employees in new ways. According to an IHS report, about 50 million wearable units will be sold in 2014 -- and more than 180 million are predicted to sell in 2018.
"Salesforce Wear will create new mobile solutions that leverage the technology of Samsung Gear devices to help business customers adopt wearables in a meaningful way,” said Nick Rea, Director of Technical Solutions in Samsung Mobile’s Business Innovations Group. And Jeroen Tas, CEO of Philips Healthcare Information Services & Solutions, said he sees “great promise” for the company’s cloud-connected wearable device technologies in the healthcare industry. Market research firm Forrester is also on board.
"Wearable devices represent the next phase of this mobile revolution. Perpetually connected wearables will enable workers, partners, and customers to experience new levels of immediacy, simplicity, and context in their mobile computing experiences,” said J.P Gownder in the January 2014 Forrester Research Inc. report, The Enterprise Wearables Journey. “Wearables aren't just a consumer phenomenon; they have the potential to change the way organizations and workers conduct business.”
We caught up with Brad Shimmin, a principal analyst at Current Analysis, to get his take on the new Salesforce Wear. He told us this move makes it clear that Salesfore CEO Marc Benioff is working to build Force.com as a platform that can accommodate a wide array of enterprise solutions, not just CRM apps. He called Salesforce Wear a good step forward because it addresses an emerging difficulty in the market.
“If you think the mobile device market is fragmented and difficult for the enterprise market to write to now, wait until the market comes to the foreground and you have not only different platforms by different vendors, but also more varied devices,” Shimmin said. “Unlike a mobile phone that just tries to be a blank slate, wearable devices are often built to provide a very specific set of services -- not to be all things but to be one thing or a couple of things.”
Shimmin predicted the mobile device landscape will quickly become incredibly complex and a burden for software developers. There will be classes of applications tailored to specific use cases, not just wearable device manufacturers.
“For a company like Salesforce to come out and say they are going to simplify this by building a set of SDKs for as many of these as they can handle is pretty special,” Shimmin said. “It’s also an interesting way to take the platform forward and to prove to the marketplace that Force.com is much more than just a great place to host CRM apps by small ISVs.”
Salesforce Wear Developer Pack is available now and is included with all user licenses of Salesforce CRM and the Salesforce Platform.