Salesforce Monday announced the upcoming release of the Salesforce for Apple Watch, establishing itself as the first CRM vendor with a clear set of plans for the new wearable device. The watch is due out in April.
The inaugural version will come out the day the watch is released, and will be equipped with the recently updated Analytics Cloud App and Salesforce1 Mobile App support. The Analytics Cloud App, offered to existing Salesforce customers free of charge, will provide access to dashboards comparable to those offered on the iPhone, and a "Voice Search" feature that will enable users to look up reports and other pertinent information via voice. Users will be able to easily transition between their phones and watches with the "Handoff" component, which allows users to pick up on one device where they left off on another. The Salesforce1 Mobile App support function will alert a user to the types of updates and notifications that normally aren't brought to one's immediate attention. If, for example, a sales manager is waiting for an approval on a discount for a customer, he doesn't have to fiddle with his mobile phone, but will be alerted on the watch in real time.
Following the release of Salesforce Wear last June, the move comes as another response to the rising demand for wearable devices in the workplace. In an email to CRM, Salesforce representatives highlighted a recent Forrester Research report in which 68 percent of executives surveyed indicated that wearable devices were a "priority."
"We know the impact that the mobile phone has had on CRM and on our customers in terms of allowing them to connect with their customers," Daniel Debow, senior vice president of emerging technologies at Salesforce, says. "This is the next mobile revolution."
Though Salesforce has already been offering such services on other wearable devices, expanding its reach to Apple users will earn the company wider exposure. "It's great to be tied to Apple," Ray Wang, CEO and principal analyst of Constellation Research, says. "The sensors, the Apple ecosystem, and fashion statement are a great foray [for Salesforce] into the enterprise. For Salesforce, this is another part of delivering continuity in the customer experience, and a key one at that."
In addition to the above features, Salesforce has already made its Wear Developer Pack available, giving Salesforce1 software developers an opportunity to put together apps for wearable devices. "We have been deeply engaged in exploring, designing, experimenting, prototyping, piloting, and engaging with thousands of developers on how they can use wearable technology to improve customer success, whether it's in sales, service, marketing, or other scenarios," Debow says.
"Salesforce Wear Developer Pack is a slick set of template applications that further empower new users to get apps into the market quickly," Denis Pombriant, president of Beagle Research Group, says. "This is important because we are at an iterative phase of app development for this platform."
While Pombriant has hope for the watch, he anticipates that there are still many questions to be answered concerning how it's going to play out. It will take a while, for instance, to figure out what types of apps function best on the watch. Likewise, people will likely have to get used to the idea of having yet another device to keep track of.