As digital technology continues to develop at an incredible rate, businesses have had to adapt to disruptions in the market that are changing everything from the way they are managed, marketed and even the very core of how they function.

 

Desktops, laptops, mobiles and tablets are all, if not already a firm staple, well on their way to being embraced in business culture. However, it’s a different story when it comes to wearable technology.

 

Wearable technology, also known as wearables, is clothing and accessories that incorporate computer and advanced electronic technologies. This includes devices such as smartwatches, fitness trackers, smart eyewear, smart clothing and medical devices. These products typically focus on combining practicality and ‘wearability’ with technological function and features.  

 

IDTechEx’s “Wearable Technology 2016 – 2026” report suggests that the wearable technology market will be worth over $30bn in 2016, hitting $40bn by 2018. It is predicted to climb to $100bn by 2023 and the market will only begin to slow in 2026, after reaching a massive $150bn.

 

They are pretty impressive figures. But what do they mean for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)?

 

It is easy for wearable technology to be written off as a fad or novelty in the digital landscape. However, SMEs should consider how they can exploit this new technology to stay ahead of their competition and at the forefront of digital developments

 

Wearable gadgets could help encourage growth – and that’s a trend all businesses can get on board with!

Here are 5 ways that SMEs could benefit from wearable technology:

Payments on the go

 

As mobile payments move into the mainstream, SMEs can take advantage of the ease and efficiency that wearable devices bring to managing secure transactions on the spot. A payment service or platform, such as Apple Pay or PayPal’s app, can enable direct payments rather than waiting for staff or clients to return to the office or relying on cash or cards. Wearable technology not only provides another payment method for SMEs but also allows businesses to operate in real-time.

 

Measure and boost productivity

 

Wearable devices provide limitless opportunities for businesses to improve their productivity. You could monitor business processes and adapt accordingly to improve efficiency. For example, retailers and warehouses have started using arm-mounted terminals (AMT) to track performance and set related benchmarks. Wearable devices can also assist professional trade businesses (such as plumbers and electricians) whilst they work, enabling staff to continue working as they access information hands-free, rather than stopping to search on a smartphone or tablet.

 

Experiment and grow

 

As businesses of all sizes are just starting to test and understand how wearable technology could benefit their business, now is the perfect time for SMEs to experiment with new technologies. Smaller businesses are in an advantageous position to test innovative platforms and technologies as they come to market, compared to large companies which may need months or even years to adopt and exploit devices and technologies to their full potential. Take the opportunity to get hands-on and see how wearable technology could help your business become more digitally competitive and boost growth.

 

Better serve your customers

 

Wearable devices could prove a valuable asset to the sales or customer service team who are out on the floor or travelling to meet clients or leads. Instead of leaving a conversation to access important information, the team member will be able to use their wearable device to immediately help the customer or potential client. By keeping the lead or customer engaged, you could see greater conversions and overall customer satisfaction.

 

Greater employee satisfaction

 

Wearable devices can not only benefit potential or existing customers, but employees too. According to Salesforce, wearables in the workplace can increase productivity by as much as 8.5% and boost employee satisfaction by 3.5%. The research also found that approximately one third of U.S. and U.K adults surveyed stated that wearable technology had helped their career development.

Whether you supply wearable technology in the workplace, or encourage staff to bring their own devices (BYOD), it could prove beneficial to businesses, employees and customers for SMEs to test the ‘wearable’ water.

 

Are you interested in learning more about using digital technology in the workplace to boost productivity and business growth?

 

Join Superfast Business Wales at a free two hour workshop or a specialised masterclass now!

 

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