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He who wears, wins

Paul Trueman, digital copywriter at Bray Leino, takes a look at why the warehouse, not the Apple store, is the place to be for wearables right now

The Apple Watch, that shiny, glowing arbiter of the future is going to be massive. That much we all know. That much is already nailed-on, simply from pre-orders and the firepower of the lucrative Apple ecosystem. With more than 2.5million pre-orders it’s already a booming business in its own right.

But for every high-fiving Apple fanboy there’s plenty of us who aren’t (yet) convinced by the need for another wallet-busting gadget that not only won’t do as much as our smartphones: it will do it on a smaller screen and more slowly. A sizeable proportion of us remain to be convinced what it’s actually for.

It’s business time
Maybe that doesn’t matter. After all no-one knew what the iPad was for and you know what? Turns out that didn’t matter. If the hype’s to be believed the Apple Watch will certainly make its owners happier, fitter, more productive. But fundamentally disrupt and improve the pattern of daily life? No. Not yet, at least.

In the B2B space however, it’s a different story. A study by Forrester at the end of 2014 showed that while only 45 per cent of adult consumers showed interest in wearable tech, 68 per cent of businesses said that wearables were a priority for their workplace.

A brave new world
One report from Research and Markets sees the sector growing from $20 billon now to $70bn over the next ten years. It’s easy to see the lion’s share of that growth coming from the B2B market.

And no wonder. The possibilities in the B2B are huge. ‘[Businesses]…want to use wearables to reshape their business models’ said the report. You can see why. The technology - whether it’s worn on you or in your clothes - could make a massive difference to both ends of a business.

Firstly in reshaping the operational efficiency of a business – think warehouse and distribution centre employees for example. For example, imagine giving them wearable tech (on their head or wrist) that frees both their hands to do the job, rather than just one? What could they do with 100 per cent more digits? ‘Wearhouses’? You heard it here first.

Secondly, in reshaping the brand experience at the front-end. Imagine you’re the cabin crew of a plane that can receive real-time data on individual passengers, flight times and route timings straight to your wrist. I’d like to fly that airline.

It’s an exciting opportunity for agencies and their clients to pioneer in this new market and we’ll be looking at which industry sectors are best placed to take advantage – and why – in a follow-up piece.

Would you spend your own money on this?

It’s a question we always ask ourselves before we advise clients. We find that it’s a great BDF (Bad Decision Filter).

Because despite the hype, for our B2B clients the answer isn’t so much about how we get their brand onto the wrists of first-gen Apple Watch owners. It’s more about helping them understand the potential ways wearable tech could transform their business.