Businesses Use Cases for the Apple Watch

–Can the Apple Watch prove to be beneficial for businesses?

Ever since Apple showcased its plan to step into the wearable technology market using its Watch, thought leaders have been speculating on its potential applications in driving business growth.

There is no question that the Watch will be embraced with open arms by customers as technology enthusiasts are sure to adopt the latest and fashionable wearable technologies. According to BI Intelligence, Apple’s Watch is anticipated to capture almost half of the smartwatch market by 2017.

The question though, is that how excited are businesses by the Watch? Is there a soft spot for wearable technology in the hearts of CIOs and CEOs? Can the Watch offer new ways of driving business value to corporations?

After all, Google Glass received its fair share of praise for helping the airlines industry improve customer service by infusing data with everyday tasks. The rising emphasis of the Internet of things (IoT) is quickly materializing into a network of physical components and technologies, and the pressure on I&O leaders to extend their department’s BYOD policy could involve the large-scale adoption of wearable technologies such as the Watch.

Proliferation of Business Apps

What really made the iPhone stand out were the diverse applications covering a range of categories, from productivity apps to entertainment, business to health and fitness. The Watch will not be missing out on these as companies race to develop apps for the wearable technology platform.

There are various apps which consumers are anxiously waiting to download on their Apple Watch; but notable among those which can potentially catch the attention of the business folk include: Salesforce, which lets you have access to your company analytical tools via the cloud, Slack, that allows you to chat with your co-workers, and BetterWatch, that can allow HR and department managers to track and assess the goals of their employees.

More importantly, Windows’ launch of its own PowerPoint and OneDrive apps for the Watch signal the importance and relevance of the gadget for businesses.

How can the Watch help businesses

There are a number of ways that the Watch can be of relevance to corporations with regard to growth. Aside from apps that could be argued to provide only a limited use for businesses, the Watch could be eyed as an important business opportunity in the following ways:

Secure mobile payments

Corporations have enough to worry about what with the escalating rise of cyber security threats in the form of phishing and DDoS attacks, and cloud computing, despite being widely adopted, being subject to serious security risks. SMBs which are keen to attain the benefits of cost-effective, large data storage face high threats.

This is why the Watch’s Apple Pay system, a recent development by Apple that lets users have safe and secure transactions can provide better ways to protect corporate identity. Employees of an organization can safely manage its banking operations via Apple Pay, for example.

Increased employee productivity

As mentioned earlier, the requirement to extend the BYOD policy in an effort to further workforce productivity can be realized using the Apple Watch. Wearable technology, after all, is one of the foremost trends affecting workforce enablement. Worker autonomy is usually limited in corporations that inhibit productivity and growth.

Corporations can instead utilize innovative ways of letting employees use their Watch to have access to data and communication in a far more convenient way. Apps such as Slack can be used to foster greater departmental cohesion in order to drive productivity and growth.

Bottom line

Corporations need innovative ways of using wearable technology to further their ends and achieve a competitive edge over rivals. The extent to which Apple’s Watch can benefit businesses depends on how creatively CIO and I&O leaders craft strategies that make effective use of such technologies.


Mobile Payments Are the Future: How Your Business Should Prepare


The announcement of Apple’s new mobile payment service echoes consumer demand for a way to pay using the same device they use to do everything else. Apple Pay will let owners of iPhones and Apple Watches leave home without their wallets, paying by simply holding the device near a contactless reader in stores and other retail locations. Credit card information will be securely stored in the user’s phone, identified to the reader by a secure code.

This new feature will likely drive demand from owners of Android, BlackBerry, and Windows-based mobile devices for the ability to pay via electronic device, as well. As such, it’s important that retailers in all industries be prepared to make the necessary changes. Here are a couple of things your business will need to do to prepare.

Upgrade Point-of-Sale

Initially, consumers will understand that the service is only available in a limited number of locations. But Apple already lists more than 220,000 locations where Apple Pay is accepted, including McDonald’s, Subway, and Whole Foods. To remain competitive, smaller, local businesses will eventually be expected to adopt the new payment method or risk losing business to nearby national franchises.

Apple Pay uses something called Near Field Communication, which has already been available on competing mobile devices. However, unlike the other devices, Apple has the potential to attract big businesses to accept its payment method. To accept Apple Pay, businesses will first be required to upgrade their point-of-sale systems to EMV, which is a more secure way of accepting payments. Credit card providers are already requiring merchants to upgrade to EMV by 2015, so this part of the process may have already been completed by many businesses.

Near-Field Communication

The second step involves upgrading to Near-Field Communication, which is often by many payment processors. VeriFone and VIVOtech offer both EMV and NFC for systems, with VIVOtech offering an option that adds on to an existing setup. Even if you don’t plan to begin accepting NFC payments right away, having an upgraded system in place will give you the luxury of making the change when you’re ready.

Apple Pay is an exciting, promising addition to the consumer smartphone market. It’s important that businesses realize how quickly the payment landscape will change due to this new offering and make preparations to accommodate both plastic-paying customers and those who wish to pay using a mobile app. For businesses that want a true competitive edge, they should consider making the switch early, since they’ll be able to win customers who are eager to try out life without a wallet.