Dec 04 2013

Wearable Technology Has America’s Interest, but Will It Enhance Productivity?

A new survey from Citrix takes a look at the attitudes and hype shaping wearables.

The wearable technology future has been a long time coming for many a science fiction fan.

According to data from a Citrix-commissioned survey of 1,000 adults in the U.S., the fictional wearable technology most Americans would like to own is the Starfleet Wrist Communicator from Star Trek.

The device was cited as a must-have by 34 percent of the survey respondents. The runners-up were James Bond’s X-ray glasses (28 percent), Tony Stark’s armor suit from Iron Man (21 percent), the shoe phone from Get Smart (10 percent) and Inspector Gadget’s Gadget Hat (7 percent). Among the millennial set, though, Iron Man’s armor suit comes out on top.

Too bad the VISOR (Visual Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement) that Star Trek’s Geordi La Forge used to sport didn’t make the list. That thing is like Google Glass on steroids.

While fitness-related wearable devices like the Jawbone UP and Fitbit have taken off, the smartwatch market, with the Pebble and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, is also generating plenty of buzz. But at this stage, most Americans view wearables as fun devices rather than work tools. According to the Citrix survey, 60 percent of Americans believe wearables will be used for fun, while 41 percent believe they will be used for productivity.

This viewpoint doesn’t mean companies shouldn’t explore wearables. After all, when the iPad debuted many dismissed it as an oversized iPhone or a device that wasn’t enterprise-ready. It’s safe to say that the general consensus on that front has sharply shifted, with tablet adoption in the enterprise steadily growing each year according to analyst estimates.

The rise of the tablet even caught Google Chairman Eric Schmidt by surprise.

Despite the largely held view of wearables as toys and not tools, the majority of Americans (60 percent) do believe that they’ll be as prevalent as smartphones in six years.

And as the wearables market matures, it’s likely that productive uses will be identified once innovators in business get their hands on them.

Has your business started exploring the use of wearables in the workplace?