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Can the Apple Watch benefit enterprises the way the company says it can consumers?
On April 24, Apple will release a new smart watch called the Apple Watch that will be widely available for consumers to purchase. Besides being on the wrist of consumers, there is another group that will benefit from the watch—enterprises.
This may sound surprising with Apple’s messaging focus around people using their new wearable device for fitness, notifications, email and more, but we’re already seeing interest internally from these groups. In this article, I’ll walk you through several ways that I foresee Apple Watch making a splash in the enterprise.
While most of us arrive at work every day, log onto our computers and begin interacting with internal web sites and applications, a lot of work is happening behind the scenes. Our IT staff is monitoring those systems constantly to make sure the database is up and running and internal and external sites are functioning properly. This is an ongoing process happening day and night.
Instead of sending emails or text messages with issues or performance stats, developers could write application that put this information on your IT staff’s wrist. With a simple glance, they could see server and database notifications as well as charts or other visual widgets that display real-time server information. The possibilities are endless.
Think of the water and electrical utilities for a campus. Whenever they have an outage, the usual way of dealing with it is to have someone call the field service worker and have them come in to investigate the problem. Just this investigation process itself can add cause the outages that last hours.
With the current wave of IoT (Internet of Things) devices, more and more utility problems could be pinpointed before stepping foot on-site. The data could be logged into a backend server to store exactly the time when the outage occurred as well as the error code. Some of these systems are currently available, but require either a VPN connection or an application to investigate the issue.
By using the Apple Watch, developers could write apps that utilize the built-in map as well as the other information logged in the backend server when it detected an abnormality. This could save companies many billable hours as it would prevent workers from coming in to investigate simple computer malfunctions that could be reset or repaired on the backend, as well as the time it usually takes to get connected to see what is going on. It would also help workers determine the severity of the error codes before going in at 2 am in the morning.
Most employees have a laptop for a number of reasons—sales for sales trips to on the road presentations and meetings. We’ve become accustomed to using and securing our laptop’s data using disk encryption, but what happens when you walk away from your computer and forget to lock it? Corporate systems and data are vulnerable to whoever is around.
With the Apple Watch, developers could lock device screens whenever you are too far away from your computer. Since the watch is on your wrist, it would be very unlikely that you would take it off. The Apple Watch also could be used for two-factor authentication. Think of how banks use this, for example, when they require a debit card and a pin number before allowing account access. Before logging onto your corporate network, you could use your Apple Watch as part of that process to make your network even more secure.
While some people may think of the Apple Watch as a toy, Progress is already looking at ways the Apple Watch can help our enterprise customers. We’ve released a blog post that shows how you can display data using our charts onto the watch. The same thing could be done with Google Wear, as I introduce you in this post on how to create a Google Wear app. This is an exciting time for all of us and you can bet that Progress will be innovating in this space for some time to come.
The use of enterprise applications is changing rapidly. Be prepared to change with it. Progress helps businesses create amazing web, mobile and cloud applications driven by data and deployable anywhere. To learn more, visit progress.com/appdev
Michael Crump is a Microsoft MVP, Pluralsight and MSDN author as well as an international speaker. He works at Progress on everything from web, desktop to mobile. You can reach him on Twitter @mbcrump or keep up with his blog by visiting michaelcrump.net.
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