Wearable technology has long been on Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff's mind, but his vision is "on its way to becoming a reality," Dan Debow, senior vice president of emerging technologies at Salesforce.com, says. The company took its first major step into the space by launching Salesforce Wear, a developer pack of customizable applications for the enterprise, and positioning the tool as a "springboard for innovation in wearable technology," according to Debow.
Though the wearables market is still "new and fresh," Debow says that wearables will drive the "next wave of mobile revolution." He says that wearables have grown at five times the rate of smartphones during their first three years of adoption, and are poised to become mainstream sooner than some may expect. "Wearables represent an entirely new class of devices. They enable unique one-to-one experiences, are context-aware, and always on. They have the potential to deliver really seamless experiences," he says.
Despite the growth, however, app and software development for wearable devices has been slow due to a variety of challenges. There are limited development resources allocated to wearable innovation, and because devices are so different, unique connectivity, security, and user experience questions arise, Debow explains. Salesforce Wear allows developers to avoid these challenges by providing a ready-made framework that bypasses the initial roadblocks and "jumpstarting" development and innovation, according to Debow. "We decided to build a set of open-source tools for our customers because we don't want them to have to start from scratch. We're giving them a chance to create their own app using our foundation," he says.
Though Debow promises that there are more to come, the six applications in the first Salesforce Wear release include a reporting app for the Pebble Smartwatch that allows data scientists to track information and connect it to any report inside Salesforce.com; a sales productivity app for the Samsung Gear that can be used to view scheduled meetings and get information on attendees; a Google Glass app for field employees; an app for request authorization and approval designed for Android Wear; an app for the Myo armband that lets surgeons manipulate images, files, and other patient records while performing surgery; and an app for the Nymi device that can validate user identity. All six fully integrate with the Salesforce Sales, Service, and ExactTarget Marketing Clouds, and are "highly customizable," Debow explains.
Several organizations have already begun using the technology. Oil rig employees, for example, are using the app built for Google Glass to capture an augmented image of the repair site, gain full access to the repair history through the Service Cloud, and get completely hands-free access to solutions and support features. A casino, on the other hand, is using Salesforce.com's SmartBand app to live-track the customer journey, augment customers' guest profiles through the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, and trigger actions to improve the experience.
"We're introducing six options with really vast capabilities," Debow says, "but this is really just the beginning. We're only scratching the surface."